NOFA-VT sends action alerts during key votes or comment periods on issues at the State and Federal level in an effort to encourage members and concerned citizens to make your voices heard. To ensure you receive our action alerts, sign up to receive our newsletter on the bottom of this page, and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Our blog is also an excellent source for background on policy issues.
Take Action to Protect Organic in the Farm Bill
Posted: May 4, 2018
The Senate Agriculture Committee is under intense pressure from lobbyists to weaken the organic standards! Pending Senate Farm Bill legislation could gut the authority of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and put corporate interests above the needs of family farmers.
We are deeply alarmed by this threat. The NOSB determines which materials can be used in organic farming and is the heart of the transparent, democratic process that upholds the integrity of organic seal. Gutting the authority of the board could end organic as we know it.
KEEP THE ORGANIC STANDARDS STRONG!
Consumer trust in the organic seal and the future of American organic family farms is at stake. We need more support for organic in the Farm Bill, not a sneak attack aimed at opening up the organic standards to special interests.
TAKE ACTION NOW - CALL SENATOR LEAHY
As the "father" of the National Organic Program, we know that Senator Leahy understands how critical the National Organic Standards Board is to the integrity of the organic label. When you call, thank him for his leadership on organic food and farming, and ask him to continue to defend the NOSB from underhanded attacks in the Farm Bill.
Ask to speak with the staffer who works on agriculture or leave a message with whoever answers the phone. Use these talking points:
- I’m calling as a constituent and an organic farmer/consumer.
- I urge Senator Leahy to oppose any attempts to weaken the organic standards in the Farm Bill. First and foremost, I urge Senator Leahy to oppose any changes to the National Organic Standards Board.
- I urge Senator Leahy to protect organic programs like certification cost-share and organic research.
- I want Senator Leahy to create a level playing field for U.S. organic family farms and stop organic import fraud.
For additional background information, visit the Advocacy home page.
Save the Dates! Rallies to “Keep the Soil in Organic” Oct. 8th and Oct 15th
Save the date to join fellow organic farmers, eaters, and movement leaders at the Intervale Center in Burlington on Sunday, October 8th. A second rally is being planned for Sunday, October 15th on the green at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. These are just two of dozens of rallies happening around the country this fall in solidarity with organic producers growing in, and caring for the soil.
Tractor parades at each rally will start rolling at noon, followed by brief speeches, local food, live music, and lively celebrations!
Speakers at the Intervalle rally include: Senator Bernie Sanders, Eliot Coleman, David Zuckerman, Maddie Monty, Christa Alexander, and Pete Johnson. Speakers at the Hanover rally include farmers Jesse LaFlamme, Roger Noonan, Will Allen, Jake Guest, and Dave Chapman.
Please join us as we rally together to take back the National Organic Program (NOP) from corporate influence and reclaim the lost meaning of organic. Organic integrity has suffered in recent years as a flood of hydroponic vegetables and berries and products from animal confinement operations have forced their way into the Program. Join us in sending a strong message to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) that animal confinement and hydroponic production have no place in organic. Real organic is based on healthy soil and working with natural systems, not imitating and replacing them. We are preparing for a historic NOSB vote in November on fertile soil as the foundation of organic farming.
Please join Vermont and New Hampshire organic farmers in demanding that the NOP honor its commitment to real organic!
- Intervale: Davey Miskell 802-318-0576
- Hanover: Dave Chapman 802-299-7737
Please consider donating to support sending farmers to testify at the NOSB meeting in Jacksonville!
Tell USDA: We Want REAL GMO Labels! Comments due july 17th
We’ve fought for years for labeling of genetically engineered (GE or GMO) food. Now’s our chance to finally get it.
As you may remember, a “compromise” bill on GMO labeling was passed last year, but a lot of the decisions about what foods would be labeled, and how they would be labeled, were left up to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The law includes labeling options other than on-package labeling, such as QR codes and websites, which would only serve to hide the information this law was passed to provide.
Big Ag and food companies have made it clear which option they support for labeling: QR codes. They know consumers don’t use these codes and that “labeling” via QR codes is really no labeling all. The agency has heard from big corporations – now they need to hear from you!
Join us in telling them to label ALL GE foods, clearly on the package, as quickly as possible! Americans have waited long enough. There is no docket for these comments, so they should be sent or delivered directly to USDA at [email protected]
The USDA is accepting comments through July 17th. Tell USDA to label GMOs, not hide them behind high-tech codes!
Act Now to Save Vital Farmers Market Programs!
Two critical programs that support farmers and farmers markets in Vermont are under threat. The recently released presidential budget proposes the complete elimination of both the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) and the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP).
The Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) has provided and is currently providing funds to support NOFA-VT's Direct Marketing programs. With our current grant we are support direct market farmers and farmers market with data collection and usage, developing a statewide marketing campaign to promote direct markets that will happen in 2018 and 2019, and more.
The WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program (WIC FMNP) is funding that goes to support Farm to Family Coupons for WIC customers at farmers markets all around the state. These funds are an important way to encourage eligible families to try out farmers markets and to purchase fruits and vegetables directly from local farmers.
Please take a few minutes to call or email your Congresspeople today!
- Senator Patrick Leahy:
VT Office (802) 863-2525 | DC Office (202) 224-4242 | Email
- Senator Bernie Sanders:
VT Office (802) 862-0697 | DC Office (202) 224-5141 | Email
- Congressman Peter Welch:
VT Office (802) 652-2450 | DC Office (202) 225-4115 | Email
Oppose Any Further Delay of the Organic Animal Welfare Rule! Comment by June 9th.
After gathering input from organic farmers, researchers,the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), and the public over the past ten years, the National Organic Program (NOP) rolled out its Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule (OLPP) in January. The OLPP or "animal welfare" rule would allow the NOP to consistently enforce stronger animal welfare standards on organic farms and remove loopholes being taken advantage of by some large operations.
Rather than allowing the OLPP or "animal welfare" rule to take effect this month, the USDA has delayed the rule until November 14th and is now asking whether it should even be implemented.
Send USDA a clear message: the organic animal welfare rule—also known as the OLPP rule—should become effective on November 14th without further delay. Here's how to comment:
- Visit regulations.gov and enter docket # AMS-NOP-17-0031; NOP-15-06A to submit your comment online.
- Use these talking points and/or share your own thoughts as to why the USDA should let the OLPP rule take effect in November.
- You can also mail your comments to: Paul Lewis, Director, Standards Division, National Organic Program, USDA-AMS-NOP, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Room 2642-So., Ag Stop 0268, Washington, DC. 20250-0268.
With your help, we can level the playing field for organic livestock producers and send a clear message that there should be no further delay in implementing the OLPP!
Questions? Email Maddie Monty
Action Alert! USDA Requests Public Input on Revision of Biotechnology Regulations. Comment by June 19th.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is announcing proposed revisions to its biotechnology regulations.
APHIS is proposing a regulatory program in which it first assesses GE organisms to determine if they pose plant pest or noxious weed risks. If APHIS concludes that a GE organism does not pose a plant pest or noxious weed risk, then APHIS would not require a permit for the importation, interstate movement, and environmental release (outdoor use) of the GE organism. On the other hand, if APHIS determines, based on risk analysis that controls on movement are needed, APHIS will work with the requestor to establish appropriate permit conditions to manage identified risks to allow safe movement.
NOFA Vermont has long advocated for USDA to implement stronger regulations under authority provided by the Plant Protection Act to protect farmers, the environment, and our communities from the impacts of genetically engineered (GE) organisms.
Remember to comment by June 19th! NOFA-VT plans to submit comments calling for a more robust and coordinated framework for regulating biotechnology.