NOSB Announces Fall Meeting—Agenda Includes Organic Research Priorities

Brise Tencer's picture

Written Comments Accepted through October 7

A set of organic research priorities issued by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) demonstrates that many issues in organic production still have not been studied adequately to provide useful guidance to organic farmers, ranchers, and handlers.

The NOSB  is composed of representatives from the organic industry--including producers, processors, and consumers--and meets twice a year to advise the National Organic Program (NOP) on what should be added to and removed from the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances as well as a range of organic production and processing issues.

In preparation for its fall meeting, the NOSB has released the meeting agenda along with supporting documents including the proposed list of research priorities. At the meeting, the NOSB will vote on whether or not to forward their suggested research topics to the NOP.

Newly identified research priorities include identifying alternatives to the packaging material Bisphenol A; developing biological control and biopesticide regimes to manage plant diseases including citrus greening; and identifying effective treatments for pneumonia in organic livestock.

Some of the research priorities have long been on the list of issues important to organic farmers and have been the topic of studies funded by OFRF, including no-till organic farming, control of mastitis in organic dairy cows, and managing parasites in organic livestock.

The NOSB proposal also calls for research into the degree to which publicly held seed collections and foundation seed is contaminated with transgenic sequences from genetically modified varieties.

The increasingly long list of high priority research topics, many of which have gone unanswered for years, reflects the pressing need for greater public investment in organic research.

Complementary to the NOSB’s list of research priorities, OFRF is preparing to create a completely updated version of its influential publication, the National Organic Research Agenda. The National Organic Research Agenda presented research priorities identified during meetings between organic farmers and agricultural researchers in the categories of soils, pests, livestock and poultry, and breeding. As before, OFRF will hold regional listening sessions around the country to gather input from organic farmers and ranchers on their most pressing issues so that the new research agenda reflects contemporary issues in organic production.

The NOSB’s proposals for the fall meeting are open for public comment through October 7.  Members of the public can also sign up to make an oral comment at the meeting, which will be held in Louisville, Kentucky, Oct. 28-30. We encourage you to review the NOSB fall 2014 meeting materials to learn about issues that may affect you, your family, and your business. Click here and select October 28-30, 2014 from the drop-down menu to see the meeting agenda, supporting documents, and for information on submitting written and oral comments.

The ability to participate in organic rulemaking makes the organic standards a uniquely democratic set of rules that are responsive both to consumer demand and practical considerations in farming and processing. We invite you to make use of this opportunity.

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