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Organic farms have a positive effect on biodiversity

Organic farms have a positive effect on biodiversity

A new European study published in the Journal of Applied Ecology found that organic farms are able to support more species than conventional farms. They found that on average, organic farms support 34 percent more plant, insect, and animal species.

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U.S. Organic Cotton Survey reveals potential opportunities for future growth

U.S. Organic Cotton Survey reveals potential opportunities for future growth

Looking at the status of U.S. organic cotton production, the 2012 and Preliminary 2013 U.S. Organic Cotton Production & Marketing Trends report prepared by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) identifies three building blocks for the long-term success and viability of domestic organic cotton production.

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Organic Topic of Interest: Hydroponics

Organic Topic of Interest: Hydroponics

The NOP has posted a new topic page to clarify the status of hydroponics under the USDA organic regulations. Visit the Organic Topics of Interest page and choose "Organic Hydroponic Crop Production" from the drop-down menu.

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Organic 101: Ensuring Organic Integrity through Inspections.

Organic 101: Ensuring Organic Integrity through Inspections.

A new article posted to the USDA Organic 101 blog series discusses the importance of inspections in the certification process.

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The Use of Kelp in Organic Livestock Feed

The Use of Kelp in Organic Livestock Feed

By March 4, 2014, all kelp used in organic livestock feed is required to be certified organic. Oregon Tilth will not allow the use or organic sale of feed inventory containing non-organic kelp after March 4. Our inspectors will audit purchased feed and supplements to confirm only certified organic kelp is used after this date.

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NOSB Memo: Ancillary Substances

NOSB Memo: Ancillary Substances

USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is pleased to share a memo to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) regarding its ongoing work on ancillary substances.

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USDA Webinar Series from the Fruit and Vegetable Program

USDA Webinar Series from the  Fruit and Vegetable Program

The AMS Fruit and Vegetable Program invites you to attend a series of free, interactive webinars on our many programs and services. These informative webinars are designed for fruit and vegetable growers, packers, shippers, processors, wholesalers and retailers of all sizes.

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Drought Relief: Organic Ruminant Producers in California

Drought Relief: Organic Ruminant Producers in California

Secretary Vilsack had designated 54 of 58 California counties as primary natural disaster areas due to drought conditions. As a result, organic ruminant livestock operations may not be able to meet the organic pasture requirements in the USDA organic regulations. On February 12, Agricultural Marketing Service Associate Administrator Rex A. Barnes granted a temporary variance to provide relief for impacted livestock producers.

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Who Needs to be Certified Organic?

Who Needs to be Certified Organic?

Most farms and businesses that grow, handle, or process organic products must be certified. Through this certifier instruction, the National Organic Program (NOP) is reminding certifiers that organic agricultural products must be produced and handled exclusively at certified organic farms and handling operations to ensure organic integrity throughout the product's lifecycle.

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President Signs New 5-Year Farm Bill

President Signs New 5-Year Farm Bill

Today on the campus of Michigan State University, President Obama signed the new five-year farm bill into law. He was joined at the signing ceremony by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman (and MSU alumnus) Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

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Organic Alcohol Beverage Labeling Guides

Organic Alcohol Beverage Labeling Guides

All organic alcohol beverages must meet both Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and USDA organic regulations. To help domestic and international organic operations understand and meet these requirements, AMS has developed the following labeling guides in partnership with TTB.

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Publication offers Guidance for Nutrient Management on Organic Farms

Publication offers Guidance for Nutrient Management on Organic Farms

In collaboration with regional nonprofit organizations and public agencies, Oregon Tilth produced a series of documents that provide technical guidance to conservation planners working with organic producers. Nutrient Management Plan (590) for Organic Systems: Western State Implementation Guide describes the steps to develop a nutrient management plan for organic operations.

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Organic Trade Association applauds Senate passage of Farm Bill

Organic Trade Association applauds Senate passage of Farm Bill

The Senate’s passage of the Agricultural Act of 2014 clears the way for the bill to proceed to President Obama for final sign-off into law. The legislation, adopted by the House of Representatives on Jan. 29, includes numerous priorities the Organic Trade Association (OTA) has been seeking for more than two years.

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Apply for Improved Crop Insurance by 3/15

Apply for Improved Crop Insurance by 3/15

Federal crop insurance provides the risk management tools necessary for American farmers to protect themselves against unexpected difficult years. To better support the growing organic agriculture sector, USDA's Risk Management Agency has taken steps to offer more options for organic producers under the Federal crop insurance program for the 2014 crop year:

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USDA Organic Market News Survey

USDA Organic Market News Survey

On February 1st, USDA sent a survey and welcome letter from Administrator Alonzo to the approximately 12,000 self-identified organic producers in 3 categories: certified organic, farmers and ranchers exempt from certification, and transitioning farmers. Deadline for submission: March 15.

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Unpackaged Products + Reinstatements + Conservation Resources

Unpackaged Products + Reinstatements + Conservation Resources

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is pleased to announce final guidance for handling unpackaged organic products. This guidance implements a recommendation from the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and responds to findings from the Office of Inspector General. We also updated an instruction for certifiers on reinstating suspended organic operations. Additionally, you can now access a variety of conservation guides and webinars tailored for organic operations.

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Sunset Info + NOSB Review Timeline

Sunset Info + NOSB Review Timeline

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) published additional information on the streamlined sunset review and renewal process and sent the NOSB a memo regarding the sunset review timeline.

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Think you want to be a farmer? Join Rogue Farm Corps

Think you want to be a farmer? Join Rogue Farm Corps

FarmsNext is a full season of hands-on training and skill-based education in sustainable agriculture for aspiring farmers and ranchers. Through an innovative and cooperative model, FarmsNext combines up to 1500 hours of field training with a mentor farmer, 75 hours of classroom learning with agricultural professionals and expert farmers, 15 tours of local farms, and opportunities for farm-based independent study on a diverse network of commercial family farms in Oregon’s scenic Rogue and South Willamette Valleys.

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Handling Unpackaged Organic Products

Handling Unpackaged Organic Products

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is pleased to announce final guidance for handling unpackaged organic products. This guidance implements a recommendation from the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and responds to findings from the Office of Inspector General.

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Sunset Review Timeline

Sunset Review Timeline

AMS has asked the NOSB to review substances currently on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances per the timeline linked below.

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