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Organic 101: The National Organic Standards Board - Representing the Organic Community

From Shayla Bailey, USDA:  This is the twentieth installment of the Organic 101 series that explores different aspects of the USDA organic regulations. To mark the 20th milestone, USDA invited Dr. Jean Richardson, Chair of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), to be a guest author. The NOSB provides critical support to the USDA and the organic community.  We thank the NOSB for their commitment to the organic community, and the integrity of the organic label.

Twice a year, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meets to advise the Secretary of Agriculture on what substances should be allowed or prohibited in organic agriculture.  The NOSB recommends standards, policies and guidance that help shape the organic regulations to the National Organic Program (NOP), part of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.

The NOSB was established under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, and in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act. Made up of dedicated volunteers, the 15-member board includes four organic farmers, two handlers, three individuals with expertise in environmental protection or resource conservation, three representatives of public interest or consumer interest groups , a scientist, an organic retailer and an organic certifying agent. Earlier this year, I was honored when my fellow board members elected me as the Chair.

USDA Deputy Under Secretary Promotes Environmental Justice Goals

Late last month, I was privileged to deliver the keynote address at the 2014 National Environmental Justice Conference here in Washington.

Environmental justice is “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. It will be achieved when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.”

USDA was one of the first federal agencies identified in the 1994 Executive Order on Environmental Justice (EJ) from former President Bill Clinton due to the broad sweep of the department’s agencies with respect to the environment.  The department developed an EJ Strategic Plan and promulgated a Departmental EJ Regulation in 1997.

Nanotechnology to be Discussed at Outlook Forum

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

Say it: nanotechnology.

The word alone sounds intriguing, futuristic. But what is nanotechnology?

In simple terms, nanotechnology is understanding and controlling matter on a molecular scale—at dimensions between approximately 1 and 100 nanometers.

USDA's 2013 Agricultural Outlook Forum - Feb. 21-22, 2013

USDA’s 2013 Agricultural Outlook Forum, “Managing Risk in the 21st Century,” will be held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Virginia, on Feb. 21-23.  Speakers will include USDA policymakers and 85 distinguished experts in the fields of international trade, insurance, forestry, conservation, risk management, transportation, energy, nutrition, local foods, and food safety. The Forum continues to feature the traditional USDA commodity supply and demand and food price outlooks.

Secretary Vilsack says American Agriculture is a Safe Bet

“The safest bet in America is American agriculture!” That’s the way Secretary Tom Vilsack led off his remarks to the 2,000 farmers, ranchers, agriculture officials and industry leaders in attendance at today’s Agricultural Outlook Forum in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.

Former President Bill Clinton and Senator Debbie Stabenow to Speak at USDA’s 2011 Agricultural Outlook Forum

We are very proud to announce former President Bill Clinton and U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow will be the 2011 Agricultural Outlook Forum Plenary Session’s distinguished speakers.  Their dedication to public service in the fields of nutrition and agriculture make them a welcome addition to this year’s Forum. The keynote address will be delivered by Secretary Vilsack.