FDA receives thousands of comments on FSMA
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received 17,926 comments about the proposed produce rule under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The processing rule had 7,056 comments. MOSES submitted multi-page documents expressing concerns about the
impact the rules would have on organic and sustainable farming, along
with recommendations to improve the regulations. You can access these
documents and see a summary of highlights on the Policy section of the MOSES website
The comment periods for both proposed rules closed last month. The FDA is now reviewing these comments before crafting final rules.
"While some concerns may be addressed through more precise language, others may need more changes, and a few may require substantial changes in what we’ve proposed," said Michael Taylor, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine in the FDAVoice blog
. "Rest assured that we will carefully consider these concerns and do whatever is possible to get these rules right."
Conservation program opens enrollment
The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has opened the Conservation Stewardship Program
(CSP) for new enrollments. This program rewards farmers and ranchers for current conservation practices and for putting in place additional new conservation practices and enhancements over a 5-year contract period. It provides funding for the environmentally beneficial
activities typical on organic farms to improve soil, water and wildlife habitat. Deadline to apply is Jan 17, 2014.
USDA seeks comments to enhance agricultural coexistence
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting public comment
on how how various forms of agriculture can coexist in the U.S. The USDA supports all forms of agriculture, including conventional, organic, and genetically engineered, to meet the country’s needs for food security and energy, and to sustain rural communities. The deadline for comments is Jan. 3, 2014.
So far, the coexistence suggestions have very few safeguards for organic producers. The USDA needs to know that stronger controls on GMO crops are imperative to promote a landscape where organic agriculture can thrive. Public comments should focus on solutions that address the realities of crop production and the marketplace, as well as suggestions on how the USDA could facilitate collaboration and coexistence. The National Organic Coalition
will have suggestions for talking points on their website after the holidays.
Farmers connect online through forum
ATTRA, the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, offers a new forum on the ATTRA website: “Farmer Knows Best.”
The forum allows farmers, researchers, educators, and anyone else interested in sustainable agriculture to start or contribute to an online conversation about sustainable farming issues. There are currently 21 conversations on the forum.
December webinars cover variety of topics
Several webinars of interest to organic and sustainable farmers take place this month. See full descriptions and links on our Community Calendar
Dec. 12 Economics of Organic Dairy Farming
Dec. 17 CSA Legal Issues
Dec. 17 Connecting Sustainable Farmers to Health Care Markets
Online 'college' geared to market farmers
The University of Minnesota Extension’s 2014 Local Foods College
is a free, online program for market farmers to learn about food safety, production, marketing, and food processing. The 8-session webinars begin Jan. 21, 2014 and run Tuesday evenings through mid-March.
Seed conference occurs next month
The biennial Organic Seed Growers Conference
takes place Jan. 30 - Feb. 1, 2014 in Corvallis, Ore. Registration deadline is Jan. 19, 2014. The agenda includes 24 workshops with experts in the fields of organic plant breeding, seed research, enterprise development, seed economics, policy, and more.