To All USDA-Accredited Certifying Agents:
The National Organic Program (NOP) needs your experience and help! We are in the planning phase for building a modernized database of certified operations provided for by the 2014 Farm Bill. Certifier data will be the foundation of any system we build, so we need to build a system that certifiers will want to use.
We are asking for help in two ways.
1: Volunteer for a Certifier User Group
We seek volunteers for a certifier user group that will actively participate in defining the requirements and design for the modernized database, and that will help us test it as we complete different software versions. We need volunteers from across certifiers: large and small, U.S. and international, and with a range of current certification management tools - from large systems to Excel spreadsheets. A diverse certifier user group will help us build a system that will benefit everyone.
The user group will meet approximately once a month by phone/webinar, for 1-2 hours. Smaller subgroups may be formed to provide input on specific elements of the system, but all participation will be voluntary.
Have questions or interested in volunteering? Write to Jennifer.Tucker@ams.usda.gov. We will plan to have our first meeting in late October, so please express your interest by Friday, October 17.
2: Refer Us to Experienced Information Technology Firms
Do you have an organic certification Information Technology system that you use and like? We want to talk with the developer! Part of our planning efforts includes a market survey to learn about what organic certification technology solutions are already out there, and who has successfully built them.
If you know of an organization that we should talk to, please send the following to Jennifer.Tucker@ams.usda.gov: name of organization, contact information (name, email, phone), and what they developed (why you are referring them). In this phase of planning, we will speak with any interested vendor, and welcome your suggestions!