USDA extends organic checkoff public comment periods |

USDA extends organic checkoff public comment periods

The Agriculture Department’s Agricultural Market Service announced Friday that it is extending the comment periods on whether USDA should establish an organic research and promotion checkoff and how a referendum on that checkoff should be conducted.

The announcements were in the form of Federal Register notices.

The deadline for each is now April 19. The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on January 18, just before the Obama administration left office, and had a March 20 deadline for comments.

The Organic Trade Association on Friday noted that the 30-day extension was part of the Trump administration’s earlier-announced review of all proposed new regulations and urged USDA to move forward with its proposal as soon as the comment period is over.

“The public comments received by USDA since its publication of the proposal on January 18 have been overwhelmingly, 10 to 1, in support of an organic checkoff. To date, nearly 1,400 organic stakeholders publicly support the GRO Organic checkoff, with 75 percent of those organic certificate holders being farmers and ranchers,” OTA said in a statement.

But conventional farm groups and some organic producers have been unenthusiastic about the organic checkoff.

–The Hagstrom Report

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