USDA extends comment period for organic check-off proposal
BY OTA | Mar 01, 2017
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Agricultural Marketing Service has extended the comment period for the Organic Research, Promotion, and Information Order proposed rule from March 20 until April 19. The Organic Trade Association (OTA) urges USDA to move forward its proposal for a nationwide research and promotion check-off program for the organic industry following the 30-day extension required to comply with the Administration’s earlier-announced review of all proposed new regulations. Over 20 agricultural products have similar research and promotion orders, which allow pooling of private-sector dollars to support industry-wide research and consumer education campaigns. This proposal would afford the organic industry the same opportunity as other industry groups. Public comments received by USDA since its publication of the proposal have been overwhelmingly, 10 to 1, in support of an organic check-off. In a separate Federal Register notice published Monday, USDA extended the comment period on how to conduct a referendum on the proposed organic check-off. Comments are also now due by April 19. Following a timely review of the public comments, the Organic Trade Association encourages USDA to move towards a final proposal to facilitate an industry referendum.
You now have until April 19 to submit a comment on the proposed GRO Organic Check-off proposal published by USDA in the Federal Register earlier this year. USDA needs to hear from stakeholders about the merits of the proposal and the desire of the sector to move expediently towards a final rule and industry-wide vote. OTA staff is ready to work with you to write a detailed comment to the Federal Register on any number of the many components of the organic research and promotion proposal. Whatever it is that you want to say, it is critical that you weigh in. Let us work together to get it done. OTA has a comment toolkit, which includes tips for submitting a comment, detailed information on the proposal, and comment templates to help get you started. To submit a custom comment, go online to Regulations.gov (docket AMS-SC-16-0112). Please contact OTA for the toolkit and if you would like assistance in writing your comment.