USDA Reaffirms Organic Certification for Container Production Systems

USDA Reaffirms Organic Certification for Container Production Systems

USDA Reaffirms Organic Certification for Container Production Systems

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) clearly reaffirmed its position this week on the inclusion of hydroponic, aquaponic, and aeroponic within the organic program.  In the most recent edition of the Organic Insider newsletter, USDA states, “Certification of hydroponic, aquaponic, and aeroponic operations is allowed under the USDA organic regulations, and has been since the National Organic Program began.”
 
This is a significant victory for farmers and producers across the country to provide more certainty over certification standards.  The Coalition for Sustainable Organics, a group of environmentally and socially responsible growers committed to maintaining USDA’s current high standards, thanks USDA for its thoughtful approach on this issue.  In addition, CSO thanks all the growers, consumers, farm workers, marketers, input suppliers, auditors, and others who took the time to participate in the debate by submitting comments, providing testimony, speaking with your customers and consumers, and reaching out to government officials to help educate members of the NOSB as well as the broader organic community regarding the benefits and legitimacy of organic container production methods.
 
The Organic Insider is a routine publication of the USDA to inform the organic community and industry on a range of topics related to organic agriculture at USDA, including regulatory updates, requests for public comments, and notices about upcoming activities. This edition also includes links to the materials from the Fall 2017 National Organic Standards Board meeting such as transcripts,presentations made by the USDAvotesformal recommendations and USDA’s initial responses to the recommendations.
 
While this publication is important, growers are still reporting wide differences in how individual auditors are evaluating their organic operations with frequent changes to their reviews despite USDA’s consistent policy. In addition, the National Organic Standards Board’s (NOSB) Crops Subcommittee continues to discuss additional regulations for container production systems.  It remains unclear how these efforts may unfold moving forward.  In addition, USDA acknowledged it received NOSB’s recommendation to prohibit aeroponics from certification.
 
CSO continues to work with its members to ensure the organic community remains open to a wide diversity of participants in order to provide organics to all and ensure regulatory certainty.

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