Dog Henry, Jason Schnauber, Monica Walldroff-Schnauber, Eliana Walldroff, Anne and Ed Walldroff, Oliver Van Pelt, Maria Walldroff-Van Pelt, David Van Pelt
Featured Farm: Homestead Fields, LaFargeville, NY
Homestead Fields has been in the Walldroff family for more than 100 years. Ed is the fifth generation to work the land located in LaFargeville, New York, about 100 miles north of Syracuse. LaFargeville is ten miles from the St. Lawrence River and the historic 1,000 Islands recreational area.
USDA Terminates the Organic Checkoff Proposal, Citing "Lack of Support"
On May 15th, the USDA announced that it was terminating the “rulemaking proceeding that proposed to establish a national research and promotion program for certified organic products under authority of the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996 (1996 Act).” The Organic Trade Association proposal for an organic check off was denied by the USDA because there was “uncertain industry support for and outstanding substantive issues with the proposed program.” In plain English, the USDA agreed with the 1,895 organic producers, businesses and consumers that signed a petition against the organic checkoff, created by the No Organic Checkoff Coalition, representing 31 organizations and more than 6,000 organic farmers from the Western, Midwestern, and Eastern United States, and the comments that unequivocally said the checkoff would never work. For once, the process worked and a grassroots movement of producers made their voice heard over a barrage of promotion of the proposal financed by hundreds of thousands of industry dollars.
What’s Wrong with Organic Certification, and What Should Be Done About It?
By Adam Diamond
In the March issue of NODPA News, Arden Landis briefly comments on a major structural flaw in the entire organic certification regime, the apparent conflict of interest between certifiers and businesses seeking organic certification. This article elaborates on the nature of this problem, its consequences, and possible solutions. Landis reflects on his experience working as an independent certifier for four certifying agencies. He feels that these agencies are working hard to conduct certifications in accordance with the National Organic Standards. However, “if I see one real problem in the whole process, it is that the agencies make their money off the farms they certify….If a certifier is too tough, farmers find out and they will move from one agency to another. I don’t know how you’re going to get around this.”