Organic Research, Promotion, and Information Order
This rulemaking proposes the establishment of an industry- funded promotion, research, and information program for certified organic products. The purpose of the program would be to strengthen the position of certified organic products in the marketplace, support research to benefit the organic industry, and improve access to information and data across the organic sector. The proposed program, the Organic Research, Promotion, and Information Order (proposed Order), was submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) by the Organic Trade Association (OTA). Under the proposed Order, certified producers (producers) and certified handlers (handlers) with gross sales in excess of $250,000 for the previous marketing year of certified organic agricultural commodities would pay an assessment of one-tenth of one percent of net organic sales. Importers importing greater than $250,000 in transaction value of organic products for the previous marketing year would pay an assessment of one-tenth of one percent of the transaction value of certified organic products reported to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (Customs or CBP). Producers, handlers, and importers that fall below these thresholds could choose to pay assessments into the program as a ``voluntarily assessed'' entity. The proposed program would be implemented under the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996 (the Act) and would be administered by a board of assessment payers and one public member appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary). An initial referendum would be held among mandatorily and voluntarily assessed entities (i.e. domestic producers, handlers, and importers) to determine whether they favor implementation of the program prior to it going into effect. This proposed rule also announces the Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) intent to request approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) of new information collection requirements to implement the program.
Organic Research, Promotion, and Information Order; Referendum Procedures
This proposed rule invites comments on procedures for conducting a referendum to determine whether the issuance of a proposed Organic Research, Promotion, and Information Order (proposed Order) is favored by certified organic producers, certified organic handlers, and importers of certified organic products. The organic market includes a range of agricultural commodities such as fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, poultry, breads, grains, snack foods, condiments, beverages, and packaged and prepared foods, as well as non-food items such as fiber (linen and clothing), personal care products, pet food, and flowers. The procedures would also be used for any subsequent referendum under the proposed Order. The proposed Order is being published separately in this issue of the Federal Register. This document also announces the Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) intent to request approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) of new information collection requirements to implement the program.
National Organic Program (NOP); Sunset 2017 Amendments to the National List
This proposed rule would address recommendations submitted to the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary) by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) following their October 2015 meeting. These recommendations pertain to the 2017 Sunset Review of substances on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List). Consistent with the recommendations from the NOSB, this proposed rule would remove eleven substances from the National List for use in organic production and handling.