<![CDATA[International Certification Services, Inc. - E-Alerts/News]]>Tue, 21 Nov 2017 20:45:05 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) Web Conference on Hydroponics in Organic, August 14, 2017]]>Tue, 25 Jul 2017 16:22:38 GMThttp://ics-intl.com/e-alertsnews/national-organic-standards-board-nosb-web-conference-on-hydroponics-in-organic-august-14-2017The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will meet via conference on August 14, 2017 from 1:00pm - 3:00pm Eastern to discuss hydroponics in organic food production.
The NOSB will not be voting on a recommendation during this web conference. 
A transcript will be available approximately two weeks after the event.
The NOSB is a federal advisory committee established by the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 and administered through the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). The NOSB recommends whether substances should be allowed or prohibited in organic production, handling, and processing, and advises the Secretary of Agriculture on other aspects of the organic regulations.
Access the web conference at: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/3itgag2r7btt&eom
This is an online event. Please be sure your speakers are on. The audio for the web conference should come through your computer speakers – make sure your volume is on. You will not need to install any extra plug-ins/software. Test your computer before the meeting. If you cannot hear and your volume is on, please try a different web browser.  
If you encounter technical difficulty, please contact ReadyTalk at https://support.readytalk.com/SP/?src=ccemail.
The comment period for the Fall 2017 NOSB meeting is currently open, and the public is welcome to submit either written or oral comments. To access the Federal Register notice announcing this web conference and for other materials related to the Fall 2017 NOSB meeting, please visit the meeting webpage: Fall 2017 NOSB Meeting webpage. 
<![CDATA[Training Webinar for Organic Handlers: June 14]]>Thu, 01 Jun 2017 20:18:26 GMThttp://ics-intl.com/e-alertsnews/training-webinar-for-organic-handlers-june-14On June 14, 2017, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP) is holding a one-hour training webinar for organic handlers. The topic is Organic Integrity in the Supply Chain.
Organic handlers play a vital role in the global organic control system, which includes strict production standards; accreditation of certifiers; certification of farmers, processors and handlers; and enforcement. 
AMS has identified violations of organic regulations involving shipments of soybeans and corn entering the U.S. and enforcement actions are underway.  We are investigating other evidence related to other shipments of soybeans and corn.
To help guard the integrity of organic imports, this training webinar focuses on the role of organic system plans and recordkeeping systems in ensuring organic integrity of imports, and highlights critical control points that will be audited during inspections. 
All organic handlers are encouraged to attend this broadcast webinar.  Because they expect a large number of attendees, this webinar will be “broadcast only.” You will be able to hear, and will be able to chat questions using your keyboard.

Webinar Logistics: 
Date:  Wednesday, June 14, 2017 

Time:  1:00-2:00 PM U.S. Eastern Time
Meeting Website: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/wdqfaqcl01c2&eom 
The audio for the webinar will come through your computer speakers – make sure your volume is on.  
Test your computer before the meeting 
Learn more about maintaining organic integrity in complex supply chains
<![CDATA[Allowed Actions to Respond to Risks from Avian Influenza: Updated Policy Memo 11-12]]>Thu, 20 Apr 2017 07:00:00 GMThttp://ics-intl.com/e-alertsnews/allowed-actions-to-respond-to-risks-from-avian-influenza-updated-policy-memo-11-12The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP) has received questions about the confinement of organic poultry flocks due to recent outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) and low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI).
Certified organic poultry operations must establish and maintain preventative livestock health care practices, which may include temporary confinement to protect the health, safety, or well-being of animals that could be jeopardized by avian influenza or other diseases.
The NOP reminds organic certifiers and producers of allowed actions to protect organic poultry flocks from infectious disease, while also maintaining organic certification: ]]>
<![CDATA[Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices:  Final Rule ]]>Thu, 19 Jan 2017 08:00:00 GMThttp://ics-intl.com/e-alertsnews/organic-livestock-and-poultry-practices-final-rule AMS (Agricultural Marketing Service) has announced the posting of the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Final Rule. 
 Developed in close consultation with other Federal agencies, this final rule sets clear standards for organic animals by adding specificity to the production and handling aspects of organic production, ensuring consistency and consumer transparency. 
 Based on recommendations from the National Organic Standards Board, the final rule:
  • Establishes minimum indoor and outdoor space requirements for poultry;
  • Clarifies how producers and handlers must treat livestock and chickens to ensure their health and well-being throughout life, including transport and slaughter; and
  • Specifies which physical alterations are allowed and prohibited in organic livestock and poultry production.
 The final rule will create economic benefits for organic producers, ensure fairness across organic operations, and ensure that all organic animals live in pasture-based systems that support their well-being and natural behavior.  
  Access the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Final Rule  (click this link to access all information regarding rule)
  A Webinar on the Final Rule was held on Wednesday, January 18, 2017. Slideshow from this webinar is available for viewing at the link above. Due to the high volume of attendees, AMS indicated that a second webinar will be announced the week of January 23, 2017. To receive information regarding this webinar and all future updates issued by AMS, subscribe to the NOP Insider at the following link: 

Please feel free to contact ICS with any further questions regarding the final Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Final Rule.
<![CDATA[NOP Announces Final Guidance in Federal Register]]>Fri, 02 Dec 2016 08:00:00 GMThttp://ics-intl.com/e-alertsnews/nop-announces-final-guidance-in-federal-registerAnnouncement
 The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP) is pleased to inform that that following final guidance was announced today in the Federal Register: Classification of Materials and Materials for Organic Crop Production. 

Final Guidance
As a result of the unique construction of the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List), certifiers and growers sometimes have questions about which non-synthetic or natural substances are allowed and which synthetic substances are prohibited. Therefore, to clarify practices used to classify materials, the NOP published in the Federal Register today the following final guidance: 
Classification of Materials (NOP 5033)
 This guidance clarifies existing practices used to classify materials as synthetic or non-synthetic and as agricultural or nonagricultural.
Materials for Organic Crop Production (NOP 5034)
 This guidance helps organic producers to understand which input materials are allowed in organic crop production, and provides a list of materials that are specifically prohibited in organic crop production.
 The final guidance will be used by certified operations, accredited certifying agents, material evaluation programs, and other stakeholders, including producers interested in transitioning to organic production. The guidance will reduce barriers associated with understanding the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances.
The final guidance are available in the NOP Handbook.
<![CDATA[NOP Handbook Update: Revised Instruction on Organic Certification of Industrial Hemp]]>Fri, 26 Aug 2016 05:00:00 GMThttp://ics-intl.com/e-alertsnews/nop-handbook-update-revised-instruction-on-organic-certification-of-industrial-hempNOP Handbook Update: Revised Instruction on Organic Certification of Industrial Hemp
The National Organic Program (NOP) has published an update to an NOP Handbook Instruction document.  

NOP 2040: Organic Certification of Industrial Hemp Production. This instruction applies to all NOP-accredited certifying agents, and replaces the version of NOP 2040 issued in February 2016. The document clarifies U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) policy regarding the organic certification of industrial hemp production by USDA-accredited certifying agents.
View all NOP guidance, instructions and policies:  
NOP Handbook

AMS Highlights Market Trends in Organic Grains
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Livestock, Poultry, and Grain (LPG) Market News recently published the National Organic Grain and Feedstuffs report. Published bi-weekly, this report provides organic price information at the farm gate and on a delivered elevator basis. The report also highlights the market's spot trade and forward contract activity.
 For more information on market trends for organic grains, view the National Organic Grain and Feedstuffs Bi-weekly report.

 Market News and You!
USDA Market News is expanding its organic reporting and would like to work with certified organic livestock, poultry, egg, dairy, cotton, grain, and corresponding handling operations to develop new organic reports.
Every day, our reporters contact industry stakeholders at all levels of the supply chain to collect market information. We examine and interpret the data, then report prices, volumes, and market trends on hundreds of agricultural commodities. USDA Market News provides unbiased market information to the industry gathered from individuals, like you.
Over the next year, we will be reaching out to ask you to participate by sharing information about your business. We assure you that we respect your confidentiality. We welcome your assistance and ask that you join us in bringing valuable market information pertinent to your business back home to you.
If you are interested in becoming a confidential Market News contact, please call Randy Hammerstrom at (970) 353-9750 or email Randy.Hammerstrom@ams.usda.gov.

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.
To learn more, view Frequently Accessed Information at:
 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.
You are receiving this email because you elected to receive selected updates from the Agricultural Marketing Service. You may manage your profile to receive additional updates or unsubscribe at any time by using the links below.]]>
<![CDATA[Roundtable: Perceptions of Non-Agricultural "Organic" Claims]]>Tue, 16 Aug 2016 14:08:13 GMThttp://ics-intl.com/e-alertsnews/roundtable-perceptions-of-non-agricultural-organic-claimsThe Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP) announces that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the USDA will co-host a roundtable October 20 to better understand how consumers perceive "organic" claims for non-agricultural products.
  Roundtable: Perceptions of Non-Agricultural "Organic" Claims 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will co-host a roundtable in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 20, 2016, to help the agencies better understand how consumers perceive "organic" claims for non-agricultural products, such as personal care products.
At the roundtable, invited panelists, including consumer advocates, industry representatives, and academics, will discuss the following topics: 
  • Consumers' interpretations of "organic" claims for products and services that generally fall outside the scope of the AMS's National Organic Program;
  •  A recent FTC-USDA study on organic claims, including its methods, limitations and conclusions; and
  • Approaches to address potential deception, including consumer education. 
The roundtable is open to the public, and the FTC welcomes written comments, including further evidence of consumer perception. Interested parties may file a comment at
Paper comments may be mailed to: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Suite CC-5610 (Annex B), Washington, DC 20580, or they may be delivered to: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 400 7th Street SW, 5th Floor, Suite 5610 (Annex B), Washington, DC 20024.
Commenters should write "Green Guides - Organic Roundtable, Project No. P954501" on their submission. The public comment period will remain open until Dec. 1, 2016. Comments will be posted on the roundtable's public webpage.
The roundtable is free and open to the public. It will be held at the FTC's Constitution Center Building, 400 7th St., SW, Washington, DC 20024. The Commission will publish a detailed agenda at a later date.]]>
<![CDATA[2016 Sunset Review Final Rule]]>Thu, 04 Aug 2016 20:48:46 GMThttp://ics-intl.com/e-alertsnews/2016-sunset-review-final-rule The National List identifies the substances that may be used in organic crop and livestock production. The Sunset Review is the process the NOSB follows to confirm that every substance on the National List continues to meet all evaluation criteria per the Organic Foods Production Act.
As recommended by the NOSB, following their 2016 Sunset review at the April 2015 NOSB meeting, the following five substances are to be removed from the National list:
  • egg white lysozyme;
  • cyclohexylamine;
  • diethylaminoethanol
  • octadecylamine; and
  • tetrasodium pyrophosphate.
After considering public comments and supporting documents, the NOSB determined that the substances are no longer necessary or essential for organic handling since substances and practices exist that provide alternatives to all five substances that are more compatible with organic production and handling.
The rule is effective on September 12, 2016, the current sunset date of the substances. Organic products already in stream of commerce prior to September 12, 2016 (i.e., those manufactured, in storage, or on shelves, labeled, and ready for shipment), can still be sold as organic after the September 12, 2016, effective date. Organic products manufactured on or after September 12, 2016, need to comply with the new requirements.
For more information, https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/08/03/2016-18108/national-organic-program-nop-sunset-2016-amendments-to-the-national-list
<![CDATA[Proposed Rule on Organic  Livestock and Poultry Practices]]>Wed, 13 Apr 2016 13:34:38 GMThttp://ics-intl.com/e-alertsnews/proposed-rule-on-organic-livestock-and-poultry-practicesAnnouncement
April 13, 2016
  The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announces the opening of the public comment period for the Proposed Rule on Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices, and are also sharing details about a webinar this Friday on the proposed rule.   

Proposed Rule on Organic 
Livestock and Poultry Practices
  The public comment period for the Proposed Rule on Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices is now open. Comments will be accepted through June 13, 2016. 
   The proposed rule would clarify existing USDA organic regulations related to livestock and poultry production requirements, thereby ensuring consistency among organic producers and protecting the integrity of the USDA organic seal.   
View Proposed Rule and Submit Public Comments 
  The Proposed Rule Questions and Answers document has also been updated; it is available at the link above. 
Webinar Session on Proposed Rule
 AMS will host a public webinar about the proposed rule on April 15, 2016, from 2:30-3:30 PM Eastern.
Step 1: Dial In by Phone:
Toll-Free (U.S. & Canada): 866.740.1260
Access Code: 7202000
To call in from outside the U.S., visit  https://www.readytalk.com/account-administration/international-numbers and enter access code 7202000. Then, select your country to get a number. 

Step 2: Also Access the Web: 
Meeting URL: http://www.readytalk.com      
On the left side of the screen, enter Participant Access Code: 7202000
Webinar Details 
* All callers will be on mute throughout the call.
* You will be able to ask questions online through the webinar chat feature. Activate on the left side of your screen. Your chat will be seen by the presenters but not other participants. 
* The webinar will be recorded and a link will be posted in regulations.gov.
* This is not a public comment session. All public comments to the proposed rule must be submitted using instructions on regulations.gov
<![CDATA[USDA Launches First-Ever Local Foods Survey  ]]>Wed, 13 Apr 2016 13:32:14 GMThttp://ics-intl.com/e-alertsnews/usda-launches-first-ever-local-foods-surveyAnnouncement
April 12, 2016
  The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP) publishes information on a new Local Foods Survey released by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, and announces a new funding opportunity.

USDA Launches First-Ever Local Foods Survey  
On April 7, USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) announced its 2015 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey as part of its continued support of local and regional food. This first-time survey will produce official benchmark data on the local food sector in the United States. 
Producers who receive the 2015 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey from NASS are strongly encouraged to respond. Farmers and ranchers can fill out the survey online via a secure website, www.agcounts.usda.gov, or return their form by mail.

For more information about the 2015 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey, view the press release and visit www.agcensus.usda.gov.

Value-Added Producer Grant Opportunities Available

  On April 8, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is making up to $44 million available to farmers, ranchers and businesses to develop new bio-based products and expand markets through the Value-Added Producer Grant program. Value-Added Producer Grants may be used to develop new products and create additional uses for existing ones. Priority for these grants is given to veterans, members of socially disadvantaged groups, beginning farmers and ranchers, and operators of small- and medium-sized family farms and ranches. Additional priority is given to applicants who seek funding for projects that will create or increase marketing opportunities for these types of operators.
View the  Press Release.
To learn more, visit  Value-Added Producer Grants.