Coalition for Sustainable Organics Testifies at Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry

Theo Crisantes, VP Wholesum Harvest, Recommends Improvements to Organic Policy

Washington, DC, July 13, 2017 – Theo Crisantes Vice President of Operations for Wholesum Harvest and Board member of the Coalition for Sustainable Organics (CSO) was invited to testify at the Senate Agriculture Committee Hearing on “Opportunities in Global and Local Markets, Specialty Crops, and Organics: Perspectives for the 2018 Farm Bill” to share his concerns about recent attempts to limit the availability of organic produce.  Mr. Crisantes explained to the Committee how the uncertainty created by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) has limited his willingness to expand production.

“The NOSB has drafted and considered proposals to eliminate containerized and hydroponic growing methods from organic certification,” said Mr. Crisantes. “These growing methods, which have been certified by USDA since the inception of the organic program, are crucial to meeting the rising consumer demand for organic produce.”

Mr. Crisantes identified three actions to strengthen and streamline the organic policy making process, (1) allowing for expanded diversity of the NOSB to allow for a greater variety of viewpoints, (2) increased transparency, and (3) a stronger role for the NOP in setting NOSB priorities and regulatory actions.

Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts opened the hearing expressing concern that organic regulations and the operations of the National Organics Standards Board had exposed “uncertainty and dysfunction” in the process to maintain strong and transparent development of organic standards.

“These problems create an unreliable regulatory environment and prevent farmers that choose organics from utilizing advancements in technology and operating their businesses in an efficient and effective manner,” stated Chairman Roberts.  “Simply put, this hurts producers and economies in rural America.”

Comprised of growers from across the country, CSO is committed to maintaining the USDA’s high standards for certifying organic produce and supports the continued allowance of containerized growing methods under the National Organic Program.

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