USDA Schedules Public Hearings to Obtain Citizens’ Concerns and Suggestions
The “Leafy Green Marketing Agreement,” which requires producers to follow a set of rules (metrics) in the name of food safety, has already shown to be injurious for the environment, biodiversity, and organic growers in California. The USDA is now considering a similar “Leafy Green Marketing Agreement” that would extend beyond California and Arizona to cover the entire United States—let’s help make this rule work for growers of all sizes!
The USDA has scheduled a series of hearing sessions, around the country, inviting you to this perfect opportunity to share your concerns and suggestions.
Click here to view the USDA announcement in the Federal Register.
Make your voice heard!—if you are able to attend, we urge you to speak on behalf of the organic and family-scale farming community. (See below for locations and dates.)
Producers’ experiences in California, where these metrics have been in place for several years, reveal what is at stake. While food safety is a legitimate national concern, organic and small-scale farmers bear a disproportionate economic burden of these metrics. Consider this:
The environmental impacts of the Leafy Green metrics have also been alarming. Since wildlife, non-crop vegetation (wild habitat), and water bodies could be viewed as food safety risks, many environmentally positive, conservation and habitat-oriented practices that growers have implemented in California have been forced to be destroyed or abandoned by growers threatened with the rejection of their crops.
If these metrics are adopted nationally, organic farmers across the nation could face difficulties balancing organic requirements, to promote biodiversity, with metrics seeking elimination of wildlife and non-crop vegetation.
Although the USDA has defined this regulation as “voluntary,” it is important to realize that in California, this has not been the case. Large grocery chains and distributors have refused to purchase produce from growers unless they are a signatory to the “leafy greens” program, making this a defacto rule. Don’t let the voluntary nature of this program dissuade you from recognizing the impact this proposal could have on small, local and organic growers.
The USDA organized public hearings to glean citizens’ concerns and suggestions. The USDA invites you to present evidence at the hearing on the possible economic impacts of the proposal on small businesses.
When and Where:
September 30-October 1
All hearing sessions are scheduled for 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Stay tuned! The Cornucopia Institute, in partnership with other public interest groups, will shortly issue a more comprehensive action alert including talking points, information to submit written comments, sample letters and detailed instructions and help regarding appearing at the public hearings (including the precise location of each hearing).
We encourage other NGOs that would like to collaborate on this project to contact us. A number of other groups have also invested in developing an excellent knowledgebase and networking together will leverage our work on behalf of family farmers and consumers.