revokes organic certifier license
For the first time since the federal Organic Rule
went into effect in October 2002, the USDA is moving to revoke the
license of a certifier. American Food Safety Institute International
in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin alledgedly allowed an organic farm
to use banned chemicals and broke several other federal regulations.
Organic certifiers are responsible for ensuring
that organic farmers and food producers follow a host of rules,
which include not using chemical bug and weed killers. Certifiers
are supposed to forward records about organic rule breakers to the
chain features regionally purchased produce, dairy
Pittsburgh-based Eat 'n Park Hospitality Group Inc. (www.eatnpark.com)
is taking a major step to bring big business to local farms, building
its buying of locally grown products from about 3 percent of its
overall supply purchases to 20 percent.
The commercial food service company is launching its "FarmSource"
program at 100 restaurants this summer, after rolling it out at
its senior living and catering divisions within the past few years.
Eat 'n Park senior vice president for food and beverage, Brooks
Broadhurst, estimated the company will spend $3 million with western
Pennsylvania farms this year. It works with regional produce houses
in metro areas where it has clusters of restaurants to establish
direct accounts with local farmers ready to meet quality and logistical
grass-based standard disappoints advocates; revision urged
After waiting four years for their recommendations to be shaped
by the USDA into a marketable standard, grazing proponents were
shocked to see that animals could be fed harvested forage, antibiotics
and hormones in a feedlot and still fit the proposed description.
“We are pretty close to our customers, and their perception
of grass-fed means animals that go from birth to harvest on pasture,
not in a feedlot,’’ said Dr. Patricia Whisnant, president
of the American Grassfed Association, at an association meeting
in late July.
“This is not what we perceive of as pasture grazing,’’
said the official, Harvey Sprock, a range management specialist
in the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Colorado.
Local marketing tip sheets available
The “Marketing to Enhance Farm Viability” series of
bulletins is designed to assist growers and agricultural businesses.
Information comes from the persistent work of Community Involved
in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) in promoting local agricultural
viability and the expertise of experienced farmers, including members
of the Women in Agriculture Network. Topics include developing a
marketing plan, using paid advertising, working with media and using
on-farm workshops and classes.
Minnesota maps organic farms county
Connecticut shows certified and “pledged” locations
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has released maps showing
the locations of the state’s organic farms and processing
facilities. The maps show that there are currently 507 certified-organic
farms and 137 certified organic processing facilities in the state.
An organic farming group in Connecticut produces a map showing
the state’s certified-organic farms as well as those where
owners have an affirmed “Farmer’s Pledge.” These
producers agree to production management standards separate and
distinct from the USDA’s National Organic Program. They reject
synthetic pest controls and fertilizers; GMO materials; and promise
to treat livestock humanely, market locally or regionally, pay a
living wage and support collective bargaining for workers. Unlike
the NOP, the pledge is not third-party certified.
Chico State begins organic dairy,
UNH building on Stonyfield gift
A herd of Jersey and Jersey-crosses is the foundation for the first
organic dairy teaching facility in the West, according to Cindy
Daley, a Chico State animal science professor. The cattle are already
grazing on 45 acres of certified-organic pasture that will provide
grazing for about 10 months of the year in this north-central California
Earlier, the University of New Hampshire (UNH) announced it has
established an organic dairy program on a 200-acre farm that may
begin producing milk as early as December. Eight dairy farmers serve
on the university’s 20-member advisory board for the initiative.
Prototype on-farm manure analyzer
gives farmers instant N, P readings
A new tool using a near-infrared light device sampling two tablespoons
of manure for levels of nitrogen and phosphorus will help farmers
know how to manage their livestock nutrient. The developer of the
tool is James Reeves of the Agricultural Research Service’s
Environmental Management and Byproduct Utilization Laboratory at
The prototype machine—a 15-inch cube linked to a laptop—weighs
about 20 pounds. Reeves says he plans to make it smaller—about
the size of a shoebox weighing 5 pounds or less. He hopes to eventually
develop a hand-held, stand-alone unit.
Martens lobbies ag committee
members for organic research, data, crop insurance
At the recent Senate Ag Committee field hearing in Harrisburg,
Pennsylvania, New York organic farmer Klaas Martens testified on
behalf of the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF), a member
of the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. Martens described how
and his wife, Mary-Howell, has used the Value-Added Producer Program
to join in a cooperative with other organic farmers in the area
to establish the Lakeview Organic Grain feedmill.
Klaas emphasized the need for increased organic research funding,
the establishment of a National Program Leader for Organic Agriculture
at CSREES, better organic data collection, more attention to organic
producers in Farm Bill Conservation programs, continuation of federal
funding for organic certification cost share, whole-farm revenue
insurance for all producers, and the removal of barriers and additional
charges to organic producers in the crop-insurance programs.