Riddle elected chair of National Organic Standards Board

Editor’s Note: We at New Farm would like to congratulate Jim on his appointment to the NOSB chair. Jim has helped us and New Farm readers many times over the past two years explaining complicated policy or certification issues and he continues to share his expertise in his columns “Organics in the News” and “Inspector’s Notebook” We are honored to consider Jim among New Farm’s collaborators and we applaud his continued devotion to the organic vision.

October 23, 2004: Jim Riddle of rural Winona, MN, was elected chair of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) at the Board’s recent meeting in Washington, DC. The NOSB was established by the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 to advise the Secretary of Agriculture on the establishment and implementation of the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP).

Over the past 24 years, Mr. Riddle has been an organic farmer, inspector, educator, policy analyst, author, and consumer. He was founding chair of the Independent Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA) and co-author of the IFOAM/IOIA International Organic Inspection Manual. He has trained hundreds of organic inspectors throughout the world.

Mr. Riddle chairs the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Organic Advisory Task Force, and was instrumental in passage of Minnesota’s landmark organic certification cost-share program. He holds degrees in biology and political science from Grinnell College, and works as an organic policy specialist for the Rodale Institute’s newfarm.org. In 2003, Mr. Riddle received a one-year appointment as Endowed Chair of Agricultural Systems at the University of Minnesota.

Kevin O’Rell of Horizon Organic Dairy, Boulder, CO, was elected vice-chair. Goldie Caughlin of Puget Consumers Cooperative, Seattle, WA, was elected secretary.

Riddle, who has served on the NOSB since January 2001, stated that the recent meeting of the NOSB was the most productive session he has attended during his time on the Board. “I appreciate the hard work of NOSB members and NOP staff in preparing for the meeting, and the spirit of collaboration expressed by the USDA. The organic sector is expanding rapidly, and I look forward to a productive and rewarding year ahead.”

In the coming year, the NOSB will work with the NOP staff to further refine the materials review process and develop proposed changes to the organic regulation to address pet foods, aquatic animals, apiculture, greenhouses, and mushrooms.

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