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Keep Organic True to Its Roots, Support the National Organic Standards Board

The Senate version of the 2018 Farm Bill contains historic advances for organic farmers and food, including unprecedented levels of funding for programs that will help to grow organic agriculture in the United States. At the same time, we’re keeping an eye on a part of the bill that could potentially weaken the role of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), which is a public advisory board that plays an important part in the uniquely democratic and transparent process that ensures a meaningful USDA Certified Organic label.

The NOSB is responsible for reviewing the list of substances and methods that are prohibited in organic, and USDA is legally required to give its recommendations considerable weight. What makes this arrangement unique is that the board is made up of volunteer citizens from the organic community – farmers, eaters, scientists, food makers and environmentalists all coming together to determine how organic standards can be strengthened and improved over time. Anyone who wants to follow organic closely (like many farmers and food co-ops do) can attend a public NOSB meeting or contact the board to share their perspective.

For decades, NOSB volunteers have helped to ensure that the USDA Certified Organic seal represents public input, in recognition that the label is only as strong as public trust in what it represents. It is not necessary to make changes to the NOSB in the Farm Bill, and reforms could result in weakening the NOSB’s important role, an action that could erode trust in the USDA organic seal.

Please join us in asking Congress to avoid making changes to the NOSB that would weaken its authority. Help us keep organic true to its roots! Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard, (202) 224-3121 and your call will be directed to your elected officials.