News

Document suggests organic board may boot hydroponics

The future doesn’t appear bright for organic hydroponic fresh produce growers.
Â
The National Organic Standards Board last fall tabled a decision on whether to let growers who don’t use soil to remain certified as organic. The board released a statement showing a consensus on prohibiting hydroponic systems with entirely water based substrate, but sent the issue to its crops subcommittee for more research.
Â
A document including proposals and discussion topics from the subcommittee seems to suggest it supports banning produce from organic certification if grown using hydroponics, aeroponics or aquaponics.
Â
The board, an advisory committee that makes recommendations to the U.S. Department of Agriculture on organic regulations, meets April 19-21 in Denver.
Â
The discussion document was originally written as a proposal, with recommendations for a vote by the full board at the meeting. However, the proposal was changed to a discussion document to give new board members more time to study the issues.
Â
The crops subcommittee also is expected to recommend later this year on container-based systems that deal with plants grown in soil or soil and substrate mixes.
Â
“The Coalition for Sustainable Organics believes that everyone deserves organic and this proposal will make it harder for consumers to access organic produce,” Lee Frankel, executive director for the coalition, said in a news release. “The discussion document will diminish the relevancy of organic produce as a meaningful solution to the environmental challenges faced by growers.”
Â
Frankel said members of the coalition will attend the April meeting to their support hydroponic operations.
Â
Several hundred operations could be affected by any USDA regulation to ban organic certification of hydroponic, aeroponic or aquaponic certification, he said.
Â
No formal recommendation on hydroponics is expected at the April meeting.
The General Accounting Office (GAO) released its review of the 22 agricultural commodity checkoff programs today, finding no major problems but calling for more consistent auditing procedures and over

USDA inspectors have the authority to override any inaccuracies they find in beef packing plants utilizing the new camera grading system. That message was delivered to industry stakeholders last week

Ron Davidson has a special vantage point of the new Trans Pacific Partnership. As the senior vice-president of international trade and public affairs for the Canadian Meat Council, he’s witnessed fi

Two farm state senators have expressed their “vehement disagreement” with USDA’s withdrawal of proposed GIPSA rule changes.In a letter to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering a searchable database of companies conforming to Good Agricultural Practice audits performed by the agency’s Agricultural Marketing Service.Found at ht

Pasture rent is an expense most cattle producers negotiate on a yearly basis and it can fluctuate based on competition from other grazers. This year cash rent pasture rates averaged $12.50/acre nation

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited World Best Tropical LLC, Doral, Fla., for failure to pay for produce. The company failed to pay $341,917 to eight sellers for 45 lots of produce from Febru

The future doesn’t appear bright for organic hydroponic fresh produce growers.  The National Organic Standards Board last fall tabled a decision on whether to let growers who don’t use

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee meets May 9-10.  The committee will meet at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City Hotel in Arlington, Va.. The

The dollar and convenience store trend may be a downer for fresh produce consumption. That is at least one takeaway from a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service