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Driftless Area Selected for Federal Conservation Funding

Driftless Area Selected for Federal Conservation Funding

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced Wisconsin will receive $1.5 million this year to address conservation needs in the Driftless Area through a special Landscape Conservation Initiative. The focus will be to reduce soil erosion and improve fish and wildlife habitat on the working lands, woodlands, prairies, and cold water streams in the Driftless Area. This is the second year of funding for this initiative.

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Proposed National List Amendments: Crops + Processing

Proposed National List Amendments: Crops + Processing

The National Organic Program (NOP) is pleased to announce proposed amendments to the crops and processing sections of the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. The NOP is requesting public comments on the following proposed changes to the National List: Potassium hydroxide, Silicon dioxide, Beta-carotene extract color, Annatto extract color, Peracetic acid

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Cell Fusion in Seed Production

Cell Fusion in Seed Production

The National Organic Program (NOP) is pleased to announce a new resource to its program handbook addressing cell fusion in seed production. In the scientific literature, cell fusion is defined as the fusing of two cells to form a single cell. In response to inquiries, the NOP developed a policy addressing when cell fusion is considered an excluded method.

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USDA Finalizes New Microloan Program

USDA Finalizes New Microloan Program

Microloans up to $35,000 aim to assist small farmers, veterans, and disadvantaged producers. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a new microloan program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) designed to help small and family operations, beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers secure loans under $35,000. The new microloan program is aimed at bolstering the progress of producers through their start-up years by providing needed resources and helping to increase equity so that farmers may eventually graduate to commercial credit and expand their operations.

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Organic Certification Cost Share for Farmers in 16 States

Organic Certification Cost Share for Farmers in 16 States

Organic crop and livestock producers in 16 states can be reimbursed as much as 75 percent of their certification costs from October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013, up to a maximum of $750. This program is not competitive; $1.425 million are available for farmers and ranchers in the States listed above.

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Oregon Tilth Town Hall Meeting

Oregon Tilth Town Hall Meeting

All Oregon Tilth members and potential members are invited to the Oregon Tilth Members Town Hall Meeting at Organicology - Saturday, Feb 9, 2013 from 2 to 4PM in Parlor Rooms B & C at the Hilton Portland. Participation is free, Organicology registration is not required.

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Agent Orange Corn Deregulation Delayed

Agent Orange Corn Deregulation Delayed

Agent Orange corn won’t be coming to a field near you. This year. But its maker, Dow AgriSciences, has its sights set on the 2014 planting season. Studies link 2,4-D exposure to cancer, lowered sperm counts, liver toxicity and Parkinson's disease. Lab studies show that 2,4-D causes endocrine disruption, reproductive problems, neurotoxicity and immunosuppression.

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January 2013 Organic Integrity Quarterly

January 2013 Organic Integrity Quarterly

The National Organic Program (NOP) is pleased to announce the January issue of its Organic Integrity Quarterly newsletter. The January issue of the Organic Integrity Quarterly summarizes the NOP's recent activities and status updates.

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Comment Opportunity: FDA Produce Safety Proposed Rules

Comment Opportunity: FDA Produce Safety Proposed Rules

On January 16, 2013, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published in the Federal Register for public comment two proposed rules: 1) Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption & 2) Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food

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Secretary Vilsack Appoints New Member to NOSB

Secretary Vilsack Appoints New Member to NOSB

Please join us in welcoming environmentalist and farmer Francis Thicke, Ph.D. to the NOSB today, adding valuable perspective to this 15-member advisory Board. An organic farmer for over 30 years, Dr. Thicke currently operates an 80-cow, certified organic dairy in Fairfield, Iowa, producing milk, cream, yogurt, and cheese.

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Culture Beat New Documentary - "In Organic We Trust"

A documentary that follows director Kip Pastor on a personal journey to answer commonly asked questions about organic food: What exactly is organic? Is it really better, or just a marketing scam?

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North Willamette Horticulture Society - Speaker Presentations

North Willamette Horticulture Society - Speaker Presentations

The NWHS 2013 Speaker presentations are posted online. Presentations include Organic Crops, Taste Tests, Pest Management, Vegetables, Weed Control, Pesticides, Berries, and more.

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NOP: Certified Organic By *** Statement + Organic 101: Organic Wine

NOP: Certified Organic By *** Statement + Organic 101: Organic Wine

The National Organic Program (NOP) has updated its policy memo addressing the placement of the "certified organic by ***" statement. The NOP would also like to highlight its most recent "Organic 101" blog article on organic wine.

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FDA releases two proposed rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act

FDA releases two proposed rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released for public comment a proposed rule to establish science-based standards for growing, harvesting, packing and holding produce on domestic and foreign farms. The proposed rule for preventive controls for human food is being published at the same time. These are two of the proposed rules that are key to the preventive food safety approach established by FDA’s 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). FDA will soon issue its proposed rule on foreign supplier verification. Future proposed rules will address preventive controls for animal food, and accreditation of third-party auditors for imported food.

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NOP: Welcome 2013 + Organic Seed Finder

NOP: Welcome 2013 + Organic Seed Finder

Happy New Year! As it reflects on its 2012 accomplishments, the National Organic Program (NOP) is looking ahead to a productive 2013. The NOP would also like to highlight the Organic Seed Finder, a database launched by the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA).

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Tell the FDA: NO Frankenfish!

Tell the FDA: NO Frankenfish!

The first genetically engineered salmon - dubbed "frankenfish" - could be in grocery stores and restaurants as early as 2014. The FDA is expected to approve AquaBounty Technologies' GE salmon after a 60-day public comment period. If approved, it will be the first approved food from a transgenic animal application to enter the U.S. food supply. Consumer and environmental activists oppose genetically engineered "frankenfish" for many reasons, including the potential danger it poses to human health, to the environment and to the U.S. fishing economy. Michael Hansen, PhD, senior scientist with the Consumers Union, the advocacy and policy arm of Consumer Reports, called the FDA's Environmental Assessment (EA) of GE salmon "flawed and inadequate." Please sign the petition (at the bottom of the page) if you agree that the FDA should reject should AquaBounty's genetically engineered salmon, at least until it completes further, more reliable safety testing.

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Certifications Guide

Certifications Guide

According to the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), over 400 registered green logos exist worldwide. Most consumers say they are more likely to buy products with green seals, says NMI, and there are good reasons why. Certifications help a product standout in saturated markets. Seals that consumers trust show the product maker is responsible and cares about the same issues that are important to shoppers, be it kosher, fair trade or humanely raised animals. Organizations that offer reputable seals have staff available to walk you through gaining their specific certification, which may include label review, traceability, facility visits and more. Often, the process isn’t as intimidating or as costly as one may think.

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President’s Council Report on Agriculture – What About Ecology?

President’s Council Report on Agriculture – What About Ecology?

The new report from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) addresses the state of U.S. agriculture research. The report notes that public funding for agricultural research has stagnated, while industry sources have increased greatly to 61 percent of the total—three times the amount from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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Notice of Changes to OTCO Fee Schedule

Notice of Changes to OTCO Fee Schedule

Oregon Tilth is pleased to announce that there are no increases in general certification fees for 2013. We have made adjustments to certain parts of the Fee Schedule in order to solidify some new services we are building. These changes will be effective Feb 1, 2013.

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Stories from the Field: Show Me the Numbers – The Importance of Data

Stories from the Field: Show Me the Numbers – The Importance of Data

Due to Congressional inaction, the 2008 Farm Bill has expired without a new bill or extension to take its place. In the absence of a farm bill, numerous innovative programs that invest in sustainable agriculture systems are shut down and left without funding. This post is the final post in our 10-week blog series that has featured both program facts and stories from the field of those farmers and communities impacted by expired farm bill programs.

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