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DC Update, May 1, 2008

Has anyone seen the “Access to pasture Rule”?
Last we heard it was still at the USDA being reviewed by the Civil Rights division before moving to the OMB.

Congress passes two-week farm bill extension

The House and Senate both passed an additional two-week extension of the 2008 farm bill Thursday, May 1st. The short-term extension, the sixth of its kind, would put a new farm bill on President Bush's desk by May 16th. The President is expected to sign the short-term extension even though he has previously called on Congress to pass a one or two year extension of the 2008 farm bill. President Bush met with House Minority Leader John Boehner and ranking House Ag Committee Republican Bob Goodlatte and, in a separate meeting with the ranking Senate Ag Committee Republican Saxby Chambliss to find out the details of the proposed Bill. It remains unclear if those meetings eased the President's opposition to the farm bill in its current form, though Chambliss has said President Bush remains open to discussion.

NATIONAL ORGANIC COALITION and NATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE PRE-NOSB MEETING
Monday, May 19, 2008, 9-5; Holiday Inn Inner Harbor, Baltimore, MD (This is the same Hotel where NOSB will be meeting)
JOIN US IN OUR TENTH YEAR OF HOLDING DAY-LONG ORGANIC COMMUNITY MEETINGS PRIOR TO THE NOSB. That’s right, we’re all getting a little older.  It was late 1997 when we first began to have meetings to bring the organic NGO community together to discuss the First Proposed Rule (Remember the “Big 3” and the “60 Points of Darkness”?) – prior to each NOSB meeting. As always, these meetings are open to farmers, farm advocates, non-governmental organizations and others working towards integrity in organic and towards the long-term viability of organic farmers and business. We will continue these meetings with the same general format:

  • Roundtable -- where you tell us who you are and what organic issue you are working on
  • Update from the Hill – Farm Bill, Appropriations, and a New Administration
  • Detail about several burning organic issues – not necessarily related to NOSB/NOP (send us your suggestions)
  • Reviewing and Discussing what’s on deck at NOSB
  • Including a roundtable of what you’ll be saying during Public Comment, and what you’d like allies to say

Hot Topics:

Pasture/origin of Livestock
Cloning
Grower Groups/ICS
Materials (always)
Aquaculture
Food Safety:  Leafy Greens and HAACP
NOP:  transparency, oversight, access
GMO contamination
NanoTech

Please RSVP to Liana so we can have enough chairs:  Liana@hvc.rr.com;  845-744-2304

National Organic Standards Board to Meet May 20-22
The USDAs National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will meet May 20-22 at The Holiday Inn Inner Harbor Hotel, 301 W. Lombard Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. Sessions will run from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 20; 8 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 21; and 8 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Thursday, May 22, 2008. All sessions are open to the public. NOSB committees will present recommendations to the full board for a vote concerning the use or prohibition of 32 petitioned substances and 13 sunsetting substances due to expire in November 2008 under review for the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances; revisions to the NOSB policy and procedures manual and the Guide for New NOSB Members; guidance for accredited certifying agents regarding annual commercial availability determinations for organic seed sourcing by farmers under § 205.204; and recommendations on standards for organic aquaculture, including the use of fish meal and oil as feed, open cage net pens and the management of aquatic plants. The NOSB will also receive an update from the National Organic Program and will hear committee progress reports regarding work plans and discussion items.

Times for public input are Tuesday, May 20, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 21, from 3:45 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Thursday, May 22, from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. The deadline for requesting an oral presentation at the meeting has passed but contact Valerie Frances by email to valerie.frances@usda.gov, by fax to (202) 205-7808, or by phone to (202) 720-3252, as, if time is available, attendees may sign up for additional public input at the meeting. For more information, contact Valerie Frances, or visit www.ams.usda.gov/nop.