Renewals Are Coming! Critical Deadlines for Maintaining Your Certification
To remain certified with CCOF every operation must submit an annual certification contract and pay their certification fees. In early November CCOF will mail renewals and annual invoices to all operations. To complete the renewal process and remain certified with CCOF, you MUST:
Please complete your renewal in a timely manner. Help CCOF serve you and other operations efficiently and avoid unnecessary costs by completing your contract and submitting payment by January 1, 2011. If you would like to establish a payment plan, please contact CCOF accounting using the contact information listed on the invoice. Completing your renewal on time allows CCOF to ensure timely inspections and to group inspections so they are as cost effective as possible. If you have questions, please contact CCOF.
COMPLETE YOUR RENEWAL ONLINE. Renewals may be submitted online by visiting www.ccof.org/renewal.php. All CCOF bills may be paid online by visiting www.ccof.org/payment.php.
Critical upcoming renewal deadlines:
November 1, 2010: Renewals mailed
January 1, 2011: All renewals and annual payments due.
February 15, 2011: A Notice of Noncompliance and a $75 late fee will be issued to all operations that have failed to complete the renewal process. This is also the last day to withdraw from CCOF certification without accruing certification fees in 2011.
March 15, 2011: A Notice of Proposed Suspension and an additional $75 late fee will be issued to all operations that have failed to complete the renewal process.
April 15, 2011: All operations that have failed to complete the renewal process will have their certification suspended. If your certification is suspended and you wish to be certified organic in the future, your certification must be reinstated by the NOP after a costly and lengthy process.
FAQ: What if I pay my bill but don't complete the renewal contract or vice versa? Many CCOF operations assume that if they pay their fees, they are not required to complete a renewal contract. Under the NOP standards a renewal contract is mandatory and failure to complete it will result in Suspension of Certification. Operations that only pay their fees or only complete their contract will force CCOF to issue a Notice of Noncompliance.
NOP Publishes Organic Program Handbook
The National Organic Program (NOP) published the first edition of the U.S. National Organic Program Handbook, a compilation of documents intended to guide organic operations and certifiers and aid in the consistent implementation of the NOP standards. Written as a set of best practices, the guide provides resources and attempts to answer important questions and compile past NOP policies, creating a clear system for program guidance in the future.
The first edition does not contain many new requirements that directly affect CCOF operations, but it does provide information about recordkeeping requirements, accreditation processes, and how the NOP addresses suspension reinstatement and appeals. The handbook clarifies that organic certificates may not contain an expiration date, but CCOF operations may see changes to CCOF certificates, such as an anniversary date indicating when the operation must update their organic system plan. The handbook also directs certifiers to report the results of complaint investigations to the NOP; the NOP will handle any compliance issues that result from the investigations.
We applaud the NOP's clear effort to improve communication and consolidate past guidance into a single accessible location. In the future, CCOF expects the NOP to add new sections and to address specific issues regarding a wide range of subjects.
The guide can be viewed by visiting: www.ams.usda.gov/NOPProgramHandbook. Printed copies can be made available upon request to Standards Division, National Organic Program, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., Room 2646-S, Ag Stop 0268, Washington, D.C. 20250-0268; telephone: (202) 720-3252; fax: (202) 205-7808.
Methionine Use in Poultry Extended to October 1, 2012
The National Organic Program recently announced an amendment to the National List regarding feeding the synthetic amino acid methionine to organic poultry. This interim rule extends the current allowance until October 1, 2012 with the following maximum allowable limits of methionine per ton of feed: 4 pounds for layers, 5 pounds for broilers, and 6 pounds for turkeys and all other poultry. This interim rule is based upon a recommendation by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) on April 12, 2010.
Methionine is an essential amino acid necessary in poultry diets for proper cell growth and feather development. While methionine is naturally present in organic poultry feed, the amount is not sufficient to maintain the optimal health of the birds. The NOSB determined that the loss of the use of synthetic methionine would disrupt the organic poultry market and cause substantial economic hardship to organic poultry operations.
The interim rule became effective October 1, 2010, and was available for comment until October 25, 2010. CCOF has provided this information to poultry producers and encourages all organic poultry operations to remain engaged on this issue as a final rule is published and the 2012 deadline approaches. The interim rule and public comments may be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov, filed as document AMS-NOP-10-0051.
New CCOF LLC Management Committee Members
The CCOF Certification Services LLC Management Committee is appointed by the CCOF Inc Board of Directors to oversee CCOF's certification operations. This group, composed of non-CCOF certified individuals represents the CCOF membership and ensures oversight of certification. On August 20, 2010 the CCOF Inc Board of Directors reappointed the existing three members of the committee, Sean Swezey, Peggy Miars, and Karen Klonsky to one year terms. The board also appointed Brenda Book and Tom Chapman to three year terms. These staggered terms will ensure continuity on the committee while providing an opportunity for the existing committee members to seek reappointment at the conclusion of their term.
The two new members have extensive organic certification experience and will provide important perspectives on behalf of the board. Brenda Book has worked for many years in the Washington State Department of Agriculture's (WSDA) organic program. She is well-versed in organic certification processes and management. Tom Chapman is employed by Numi Tea and also has organic certification and compliance management experience. These two new additions will fill a key role vacated by the recent resignation of Emily Brown Rosen upon her acceptance of a position with the National Organic Program.