Organic Corner

Photo by DivvyPixel from Pixabay.

By Michelle Menken, Organic Services Manager

All crop and livestock applications are now due. Applications that we receive in June are late and a $100 late fee will be charged. The late fee will increase to $200 on July 1, so please get your applications in now. If we do not receive your application by July 1, we will start suspension proceedings. If you do not plan to apply, please contact the office and let us know. You will have to surrender your certification or we will have to suspend you for not reapplying.

We have been busy this past month reviewing files and getting them out to inspectors. Inspection season for crops and livestock has started. If you have an inspection date scheduled, please try to keep it. However, Covid is still around, so if you are sick, please contact the inspector to reschedule. We usually send at least two files to the inspector so they can do more than one inspection in a day and save on travel and mileage costs. If you cancel, the inspector will have to reschedule, and you may have to bear the entire cost of the trip.

We send out Initial Review Letters when we get your applications. Please review your letter to check if we need additional information. Some of the information may be needed before we can send your file to an inspector.

Organic Certification Specialist/Inspector Karen Gjelhaug is leaving us at the end of June to attend business school. We wish her well! We have hired Maddie Barkholtz, a graduate of the University of Minnesota’s animal science program, to fill the position. Maddie is also pursuing a master’s degree in public health with a focus on regenerative agriculture. She will be working in MCIA’s St. Paul office. In addition, MCIA’s new District 3 field supervisor, Keith Marti, will be taking the basic organic crop inspector training. Maddie and Keith may be visiting your farms with a trained inspector.

HEADS UP: The Origin of Livestock rule will be effective April 5, 2023. This means organic dairy animals that were transitioned will not be able to be sold as organic animals for slaughter or to another dairy farm after that date.

Keith Marti and Maddie Barkholtz Join MCIA Staff

New Hires: Field Supervisor Keith Marti and Organic Certification Specialist/Inspector Maddie Barkholtz.

MCIA welcomes Keith Marti, who was recently hired by Field Services as field supervisor for District 3, southeastern Minnesota. Keith is a graduate of St. John’s University, where he earned a B.A. in accounting. Most recently, Keith served as operations manager for feed sales at Central Region Cooperative. He was also their point person for matters related to MDA. His work experience also includes over ten years at Del Monte Foods, where his responsibilities as field supervisor included helping growers with harvest, inventory, and sweet corn and pea seed production logistics. Keith enjoys working with growers and field crop production. In his spare time, he enjoys outdoor recreational activities.

MCIA also welcomes Maddie Barkholtz, recently hired as an organic certification specialist/inspector for Organic Services. Maddie holds a B.S. in animal science from the University of Minnesota, College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences, where she was on the Dean’s list. Maddie has an interest in agricultural sustainability and environmental health and is knowledgeable about USDA National Organic Program certification standards. She has hands-on experience working with dairy and beef cattle, swine, sheep, and poultry. Prior to joining MCIA, Maddie was a manager at Core Pet Zone’s Legends Rescue, where she developed procedures, educated staff members, and worked directly with customers.