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AnnouncementDecember 11, 2013

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has sent two memos to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) related to substances in organic production and handling.

Additionally, USDA is currently requesting feedback on ways to foster communication and collaboration among those involved in diverse agricultural production systems in order to further agricultural coexistence.

AMS is also recruiting applicants for a position within the National Organic Program (NOP) and highlighting the availability of two conservation programs!

Memos to NOSB

AMS published memos to the NOSB on the following topics:

  1. Substances in personal care products
  2. Due to the absence of Federal standards for organic personal care products, AMS will no longer accept petitions to add substances to the National List when the requested use is limited to personal care products. Personal care products include cosmetics and body care products that are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

    Organic personal care products that are comprised of agricultural ingredients and meet the USDA organic regulations remain eligible for certification. Personal care product manufacturers can use substances on the processed product sections of the National List (such as non-organic colors when organic colors aren't commercially available).

  3. Phosphoric acid in aquatic plants
  4. AMS requested that the NOSB review a petition from 2002 regarding the use of phosphoric acid for pH adjustment of aquatic plants. NOSB action is needed to resolve ongoing differences in interpretation on this issue among material evaluation programs and accredited certifying agents.

Enhancing Agricultural Coexistence

Agricultural coexistence refers to the concurrent cultivation of crops produced through diverse agricultural systems, including traditionally produced, organic, identity preserved, and genetically engineered crops.

As the complexity and diversity of U.S. agriculture increases, so does the importance of managing issues that affect agricultural coexistence, such as seed purity, gene flow, post-harvest mixing, identity testing, and market requirements.

How can USDA better foster communication and collaboration among those involved in all sectors of agriculture production?

On November 19, 2012, USDA's Advisory Committee on Biotechnology & 21st Century Agriculture (AC21) presented a report to Secretary Vilsack entitled, "Enhancing Coexistence: A Report of the AC21 to the Secretary of Agriculture."

USDA is looking for your help to identify how agricultural coexistence in the United States can be strengthened.

View USDA's Specific Request for Comments

Comment deadline: January 3, 2014

Recruiting Announcement

AMS is currently recruiting for a "Program Specialist: National List and Regulatory Review Assistant" to work in the NOP Standards Division.

The successful applicant will provide technical and administrative support for the National List petition process and the clearance of regulations and other policies through USDA. This position is based in Washington D.C.

Applications can only be accepted through, and NOP is not able to answer questions about the posting.

Application deadline: December 20, 2013

USDA Conservation Program Deadlines

USDA is currently accepting applications for two conservation programs:

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
Application deadline: December 20, 2013

EQIP helps certified organic growers and producers working to achieve organic certification install conservation practices to address resource concerns on organic operations.

Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)
Application deadline: January 17, 2014

CSP rewards farmers and ranchers for current conservation practices and for implementing additional enhancements over a 5-year contract period. It provides funding to help operations improve the condition of their soil, water, and wildlife habitat.

About the Agricultural Marketing Service

USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) facilitates the competitive and efficient marketing of agricultural products. Through its National Organic Program, AMS facilitates trade and ensures the integrity of organic agricultural products by consistently implementing organic standards and enforcing compliance with the regulations throughout the world. Learn more.

About the USDA Organic Insider

The USDA Organic Insider informs the organic community on a wide range of functions, including regulatory updates, requests for public comments, and USDA programs and services.

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