NOW AVAILABLE: OTA Sunset Feedback Surveys on 200+ Crops, Livestock, and Handling Inputs   
View this email in your browser

Quick Links

  • READ: NOSB releases Spring 2015 meeting agenda and materials
  • PARTICIPATE: Use OTA’s survey system to provide feedback on inputs under sunset review 
  • REGISTER: OTA webinar on navigating the online survey system offered next week
  • BOOK: Plan your travel to La Jolla, CA.
  • CONTACT: OTA staff is your NOSB resource

Upcoming NOSB meeting & agenda

The next National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting will be held April 27-30 in La Jolla, CA, at the San Diego Marriott La Jolla. The primary purpose of NOSB meetings is to provide an opportunity for organic stakeholders to give input on proposed NOSB recommendations and discussion items. The meetings also allow NOSB to receive updates from USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) on issues pertaining to organic agriculture. The meeting will be open to the public.

The final deadline to submit written comments and sign up for oral comments is Tuesday, April 7, at midnight Eastern.

Major topics to be discussed 
(does not include ALL agenda items)

  • 2016 and 2017 Sunset Review Materials
  • Prevention Strategy Guidance for Excluded Methods in Crops
  • Methionine for Poultry (Livestock, Feed Additive) – petition for revised annotation
  • Alternative Livestock Healthcare Treatments – petition for addition to National List
  • Ammonium Hydroxide (Handling, Boiler Chemical) – petition for addition to the National List
  • Ancillary Substances for Microorganisms (Handling) - proposal
  • Glycerin (Handling) – petition for removal from the National List
  • Contamination Issues in Farm Inputs
  • Excluded Methods Terminology

OTA member feedback sought on organic production and handling inputs

Your feedback is needed! Over the course of its next two meetings, NOSB will review the large majority of the fertilizers, pest control products, processing aids, and ingredients currently allowed for use by certified organic operations. These production and handling inputs will be reviewed and voted on by NOSB based on their Sunset timelines (October 2016 or 2017), and may not be renewed if new information indicates these substances are incompatible with organic production.

It’s critical that NOSB hear from certified farmers and handlers 
prior to the April 2015 NOSB meeting on whether these inputs are consistent with and necessary for organic production, or whether there are other effective natural or organic alternatives available. 

OTA is looking for upfront input from interested members by March 23. Draft comments will be posted on OTA’s website by Monday, March 30, for additional member feedback. 

To help facilitate a robust comment process, OTA has created a survey system for collecting feedback from certified farms and processors. The information collected will help NOSB identify the inputs that should be renewed or removed from the National List.  Below you will find links to electronic surveys that can be used to submit feedback on each individual input currently under NOSB review. Each survey is CONFIDENTIAL and contains about 10 short questions that will take an estimated five minutes to complete.


NOSB will be discussing the 2017 Sunset inputs at the spring meeting (April 2015) and voting at the fall meeting (October 2015). Feedback on the necessity of these inputs is critical for inclusion in the upcoming spring discussion and subsequent vote in the fall.


NOSB will be voting on the 2016 sunset inputs at the spring meeting (April 2015). While discussions took place during the fall meeting (October 2014), OTA will share your feedback with NOSB in advance of the vote. 

OTA Webinar: Learn about OTA’s online sunset review surveys

OTA is conducting a webinar that will provide an overview of NOSB’s National List Sunset Review process and instructions on how organic stakeholders can weigh in through an online survey system. The webinar will take place on Friday, March 20, at 10 a.m. PST/1 p.m. EST. Speakers will include Gwendolyn Wyard, OTA’s Senior Director of Regulatory and Technical Affairs, and Nate Lewis, OTA’s Senior Crops and Livestock Specialist. There is no fee to participate in this webinar. Please register here

How to provide direct comment

OTA always encourages its members to provide direct comment regarding NOSB recommendations. Individuals and organizations wishing to comment at the NOSB meeting must sign up in advance by contacting Michelle Arsenault (NOSB Special Assistant) at 202-720-0081, or by reserving an in-person oral comment slot. Speaking slots for walk-in commenters may be available, but are not guaranteed.

Written comments should be submitted via (keyword “AMS-NOP-15-0002”). You can search for the meeting and submit comments by clicking the link below. Deadline to submit written comments: April 7, 11:59 p.m. Eastern.

Book your NOSB hotel now 

The NOSB spring meeting is just around the corner. The meeting will take place April 27-30 in La Jolla, CA, at the San Diego Marriott La Jolla. There is a block of NOSB rooms held at the meeting hotel for a very good price, and there is still availability. However, please book your room reservation TODAY as they are filling up fast, or call 1-858-587-1414. The hotel cutoff date for group reservations is April 6. 

Structure of the NOSB meeting & public comments

As listed in the agenda, public comments are scheduled in two blocks. An open comment period is scheduled on Monday, April 27, in the morning and afternoon and on Tuesday, April 28, in the morning. Each person may sign up for only one speaking slot, followed by time for questions from the Board. The amount of time provided for public comments will be determined by the number of commenters and the time available. The Board hears comments and then discusses Subcommittee proposals and discussion documents. Deferred items and final votes will take place on Thursday, April 30, the last day of the meeting. Agenda items may be withdrawn or votes may be postponed at the discretion of the Board. There will be two 15-minute breaks (mid-morning & mid-afternoon) and an hour and 15-minute lunch break mid-day.

All persons making oral presentations are requested to also provide their comments in writing. Written submissions may contain information other than that presented at the oral presentation. Persons submitting written comments at the meeting are asked to provide 16 copies. Each commenter must state his/her name and affiliation for the record at the beginning of his or her comment.

Mission of NOSB

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) was created through the Organic Foods Production Act, a sub-section of the 1990 Farm Bill. The Board was initially charged with the task of assisting the Secretary of Agriculture in developing standards for substances to be used in organic products and in the implementation of the National Organic Program. As such, NOSB has emerged as a key player in the growth and development of the organic industry.

Structure of NOSB

This 15-person citizen advisory board brings together volunteers from across the organic community and around the United States. It is made up of four farmers/growers, two handlers/processors, one retailer, one scientist, three consumer/public interest advocates, three environmentalists, and one USDA accredited certifying agent. Each of these individuals participates on NOSB committees, with areas of focus ranging from crops and handling to materials and livestock.

Follow the NOSB meeting on Twitter

OTA will once again be providing live coverage of the NOSB meeting via Twitter. If you haven’t done so already, sign up for a Twitter account and follow OTA to receive real-time updates, including public comment and Board discussions and decisions from the meeting.

Contact OTA staff with questions or concerns

Gwendolyn Wyard
Senior Director of Regulatory and Technical Affairs
(503) 798-3294
Nathaniel Lewis
Senior Crops and Livestock Specialist
(360) 388-6422
Copyright © 2015 Organic Trade Association, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences