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USDA Announces $3.8 Million Available to Help Producers Transition to Organic Farming

January 14, 2016

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the availability of $3.8 million to support research, education, and extension projects that will assist current organic producers and those transitioning into organic farming. The funding is available through the Organic Transitions Program, administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

The real risk to organic is lack of production

January 8, 2016
Laura Batcha: I was disappointed to read The Packer editorial board’s “Dump transitional organic program” on Dec. 28, and to see this distinguished publication’s lack of awareness of the pressures the organic sector is currently facing.

Organic Trade Association Wants Transitional Designation

January 4, 2016

The Organic Trade Association intends to ask USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service to establish a transitional organic designation for farmers converting their land to organic production.   This would allow these farmers to utilize the services of the NRCS.  South Dakota organic grower Charlie Johnson says it’s a reasonable request because it takes time to convert to organic production. 

USDA to finalize rule expanding organic checkoff exemption

January 4, 2016

Additional organic farmers and handlers will be exempt from paying into commodity checkoff programs under a rule being finalized by USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service.

OTA hopes to “turn the corner” on organic supply shortages in 2016

December 18, 2015

The Organic Trade Association in 2016 will push forward several initiatives to help industry “turn the corner” on the supply shortages currently holding it back from meeting surging demand for organic products, the group’s CEO Laura Batcha says. 

The Outsize Importance of the Tiny Organic Seed

December 17, 2015

“Parsley could be the new kale. You laugh, but I might make this happen,” says the owner of Wild Garden Seed, who’s spent much of the past 30-odd years living off the grid in Philomath, Oregon, where he breeds new lettuces, quinoas, and other edible plants.

Organic apples claim larger market share, experts say

December 9, 2015
Washington apple marketers are bullish on organic apples given consumers' hunger for healthy foods. Marketers foresee continued increase in sales.

Why Organic Cotton is the Better Option for You and the Planet

December 7, 2015

When it comes to natural clothing, despite whatever excitement there is about bamboo, soy and hemp fibers, cotton is still the leading material. But, within the world of cotton, there are a couple of rather important distinctions to be made. The first of these issues is how the cotton — a widespread, inedible cash crop — is grown. 

OTA statement on FDA guidance on GMO labeling

November 20, 2015

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today published its final guidance for companies who want to voluntarily label whether foods have or have not been produced or processed with genetically modified organisms (GMOs).  

Feds release new produce safety, 3rd-party audit rules

November 16, 2015

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday released three new rules to establish enforceable safety standards for produce farms and verify that imported food meets U.S. safety standards in an effort to prevent foodborne illnesses and outbreaks.