National Organic Standards Board Update

The National Organic Standards Board meets twice a year to make recommendations on organic standards and materials used in organic production. (Learn more about the mission and members of the NOSB here.)

The NOSB was scheduled to meet in Arlington, VA (just outside Washington DC) in late April.  Due to the coronavirus, plans for the meeting have changed and the meeting will no longer be held in person, instead it will be held online. But there are still ways for you to participate.

Keep an eye on the agency’s website for this meeting for updates and ways to watch the NOSB meeting online.


How You Can Participate

Sign up to make a public comment online.  The deadline to sign up for a public comment spot is April 3rd.  To sign up, go here.  Right now, the plan is for public comment webinars to take place on April 21 and April 23 (a week before the actual NOSB meeting.) The National Organic Program may expand the length of the webinars to accommodate more public comments. You need to sign up for a spot to comment by midnight eastern time on Friday April 3rd.

Send in written comments (online or by mail.) Written comments are also due by midnight eastern time on Friday April 3rd. Written comments can be submitted electronically using (Docket # AMS-NOP-19-0095) or by mail to Ms. Michelle Arsenault, Advisory Committee Specialist, National Organic Standards Board, USDA-AMS-NOP, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Room 2642-S, Mail Stop 0268, Washington, DC 20250-0268. Make sure to mention Docket # AMS-NOP-19-0095 in your letter.


What Should You Say?

The NOSB has a list of topics they will discuss at their meeting. You can see the documents they will discuss (and in some cases, vote on) here.  Some of the topics that might be of interest to OFA members are paper pots, biodegradable biobased mulch, research priorities and a list of materials that are up for their 5-year sunset review.

But don’t forget that the NOSB meeting is a place where the larger organic community and the USDA National Organic Program staff gather. So you can comment on bigger picture priorities too – you can talk about why we need the NOP to ramp up enforcement to prevent fraud in organic supply chains, why we need the Strengthening Organic Enforcement and Origin of Livestock rules finished as soon as possible, and other improvements to organic integrity that impact your farm.