[Market-farming] sorta OT - update on our organic certification process (...

KAKerby at aol.com KAKerby at aol.com
Sun May 13 12:54:47 EDT 2012


There was one question which came up for our application, I won't get into  
the gist of it, but it was rather sticky.  It involved transitioning  the 
animals, particularly the hogs, over from conventional to  certified. Dairy 
cows can be transitioned as a herd, but adult animals from any  other species 
can't be transitioned in the same way.  I wasn't sure how we  were going to 
transition the next generation for each species without  buying in all new 
animals and/or going broke.  The solution the  staff came up with met the 
spirit of the law, without actually breaking the  letter of the law, but a 
stickler for detail would have objected.  When I  went through that solution 
with the reviewer, she said their discussion came  down to one colleague's 
point that "if we looked hard enough, we could find a  reason to kill every 
single application that comes through here.  Is that  what we want?"  That's 
when I knew that these folks were working just as  hard as I was to come up 
with ways to make this happen, rather than sink  it.  Of course, warm-n-fuzzy 
notions like that aren't the ones that wake us  up in the middle of the 
night, so I'm still nervous about the inspection.   But not as nervous as I was.
 
As for writing this up for the blog, I'm actually working on a project  in 
that regard.  The day I submitted our paperwork, I wanted to celebrate  so I 
bought the latest issue of Small Farmer's Journal, which has been one of my 
 beacons of "this is what farming should be" over the years.  In that 
issue,  someone wrote about why they felt organic certification was unnecessary 
for  their farm.  That's all fine and good, but the letter was written in a 
way  that told me they really only saw a few of the surface features for what 
the NOP  is trying to accomplish.  Then when I posted to a variety of other 
groups  about our application, again I got some backlash about how the NOP 
is "just a  way to squeeze more money from a stupid consumer", and "just 
switching brands of  feed or fertilizer to make farming more expensive."  I was 
shocked at the  level of ignorance on what the program was all about, 
particularly amongst  folks who freely used the word "organic" in their marketing 
(without being  certified).  At that point I decided to spend some time 
writing up what  participation in the NOP meant for us, and why we thought it 
was important, and  at least touch on some of the less-visible aspects of the 
program.  It  won't suddenly enlighten or convert folks who are dead set 
against  it.  But perhaps it'll shed some light on the depth and breadth of 
the  program for those who are on the fence.  I'll post that to the website, 
and  possibly also send it in as a letter to the SFJ in response to the 
article they  ran.  Not sure how many folks it'll reach.  But wow, I thought most 
 folks knew the basics by now.  If I can reach a few more and shed light on 
 what the NOP really hopes to accomplish, that'll be a nice "pay it  
forward".
Kathryn Kerby
frogchorusfarm.com
Snohomish, WA
Ruminations - essays on the farming life at  frogchorusfarm.com/weblog.html
 
 
In a message dated 5/13/2012 7:57:43 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,  
organic87 at frontiernet.net writes:

I used  to be terrified of inspections. They were never anywhere near as 
bad as I  expected.  


It sounds like you've found an inspection agency and inspector who are  
working well with you. Remember that their interest is in getting you to the  
point at which you can pass inspection, not in trying to flunk you even 
though  you're trying to meet the standards. Yes, you do have to do basically 
what  your plan says you're going to; and yes, there's undoubtedly work that 
needs  to be done; but, given that you're taking it seriously, it'll happen.




 
 
-- Rivka; Finger Lakes NY, Zone 6A now I think
Fresh-market organic produce, small scale (certified since 1988)









On May 12, 2012, at 10:51 PM, _KAKerby at aol.com_ (mailto:KAKerby at aol.com)  
wrote:


So I spent most of the rest of yesterday bouncing  between Cloud 9 and 
"OMIGOD the inspection is coming up!   Augh!" 



=

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