*USDA publishes organic program handbook*

 By Rita Jane Gabbett <[log in to unmask]>

 USDA has published the first edition of a program handbook designed for
those who own, manage, or certify organic operations.

 Prepared by the National Organic Program (NOP), the handbook provides
guidance about the national organic standards and instructions that outline
best program practices. It is intended to serve as a resource for the
organic industry that will help participants comply with federal

The inaugural edition of the handbook provides guidance on the allowance of
green waste in organic production systems, approval of liquid fertilizers in
organic production, certification of organic yeast, processed animal manures
in organic crop production, reassessed inert ingredients, and the
calculation of dry matter intake for NOPís access to pasture requirements.

It also includes instructions concerning organic certification, such as
recordkeeping, steps to certification, and organic certificates;
accreditation procedures, such as how to apply to become an accredited
certifying agent; international procedures, such as how USDA determines
equivalence of foreign organic standards to those of the NOP; compliance and
enforcement measures, such as how to handle complaints; and appeals
procedures for certified operations or accredited agents.

Additionally, the handbook explains the difference between NOP guidance and
instruction documents and outlines their purpose, legal effect, and the
process by which the NOP authorizes, reviews, revises and disseminates them
to the public. Future guidance documents will be issued through the notice
and comment process outlined in the handbook.

The handbook is accessible *here.*<>
Organic Handbook

Printed copies can be made available upon request to Standards Division,
National Organic Program, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., Room 2646-S, Ag Stop
0268, Washington, D.C. 20250-0268; telephone: (202)
              (202) 720-3252      end_of_the_skype_highlighting; fax: (202)

Dr. Teri Hamlin
North Region Agriculture Education
Georgia Department of Education
204C Four Towers University of Georgia
Athens, Ga 30602
706-552-4461 / 706-540-0032
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