Oregon Tilth participates in Spring 2020 NOSB Meeting
Oregon Tilth represented clients across the U.S. at the April 29-30, 2020 virtual National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) spring meeting.
Transcripts of the meeting will be available on the NOSB website soon. Our staff submitted comments on paper-based crop planting aids (aka, paper pots), biodegradable mulch and ion exchange.
Summary of highlights, hot topics and what’s ahead:
- All items on the agenda were discussed, but no votes were taken to finalize recommendations. Most topics will be brought back in the fall for full board votes or further discussion.
- The Board continues to request that organic operators provide comments on National List materials they use that are up for sunset review. Your comments help them gauge the need for materials, if there are workable alternatives in the marketplace, and the impact of removing materials from the National List.
- The proposal for the use of paper-based crop planting aids was sent back to the Crops Subcommittee for review of public comments. The subcommittee shared that a vote for addition to the National List should happen this fall. Meanwhile, the USDA NOP confirmed temporary allowance of paper pots will continue until a resolution is finalized.
- NOSB held a good discussion on how to ensure the EPA List 4 of inerts in allowed organic pesticides is handled due to EPA discontinuing use of the list. The main concern is for how continued use of the obsolete list may no longer align with organic practices, and how it prevents adoption of an alternative reference, such as the EPA’s current Safer Choice program. The NOP made clear that a good path forward must be identified before removing List 4 Inerts from the National List, to ensure continuity in the types of products available for organic operations.
- The conversation on ion exchange brought up concerns regarding if resins are required to be on the National List, and the impact of such a change on common organic products and inputs currently used. The NOSB will continue to work on this topic and develop a recommendation to the NOP on how to address ion exchange.
Updates provided by the USDA NOP during the meeting:
- As of May 2020, the Agricultural Marketing Service will purchase $100 million per month of fruit and vegetables, meat, and dairy for a total of $300M, for food delivery nonprofits to support families in need. Farmers to Families will provide opportunities to local and regional growers to provide food for their foodsheds.
- The proposed rule on Strengthening Organic Enforcement has been sent to the Office of Management and Budget in its final form and is in the middle of their review process. There is no timeline for when it will be published, but the NOP is hopeful it will occur this year.
- The Origin of Livestock final rule is in legal review and is due to be published this year.