By Michelle Menken, Organic Services Manager
I think that 2022 is a year we are all glad is over. Except that it is not over. We still have about 50 reviews to complete and need to issue the last certificates. At the same time, we are moving forward with 2023 so we do not get behind this year. Files are starting to go out and inspectors have started doing farm and livestock inspections.
I am very happy to report that we have hired two new staff members who started June 15. Sarah Lindblom has about 10 years of experience as a vegetable farm operator and has worked with the Sustainable Farm Association for several years. Tessa Parks comes from a family with a long agricultural tradition, has a chemistry degree, and currently runs a small beef operation. We will introduce both of them more fully in the next issue of the Minnesota Seed Grower. We are also working with several new inspectors this year. So, you may be seeing new faces at your inspection.
The NOP’s Origin of Livestock rule is now in full implementation. We have been updating Livestock Lists to identify any dairy animals that were “transitioned.” Any transitioned animal (dairy cow or goat) can only be used to produce organic milk on your own farm. These animals cannot be sold as organic milk or meat animals to another operation.
The NOP published the new Strengthening Organic Enforcement (SOE) final rule January 18, 2023. The regulations have been updated to include the changes. If you access the regulations online, the eCFR will include the changes. MCIA will be working on printing copies to mail out later in the year.
More parties in the organic supply chain will have to be certified, including more brokers who buy and sell raw commodities. Import Certificates will be required for all organic imports. There will be more requirements for audits of sales or purchases of ingredients for handlers at inspections. There are also more requirements for certifier and inspector training. To read the full rule go to: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/01/19/2023-00702/national-organic-program-nop-strengthening-organic-enforcement. We will probably be updating many of our forms to comply with the SOE requirements.
All renewal applications are now due for crop and livestock operations. If you are not going to re-apply, please contact us to surrender your certification or you may be suspended.