Posted on February 13, 2020 by Sustainable Food News

Organic certifier inks settlement after feds’ pasture recon

Pasture surveillance project conducts unannounced on-farm audits of 'high risk' organic dairies

The USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) said Wednesday its pasture surveillance project in the first quarter of FY2019 netted one organic dairy with a proposed suspension and one certifying agency that agreed to settle alleged violations of organic regulations.

The pasture surveillance project, which was first announced in 2018, has NOP agents conducting unannounced on-farm audits of “high risk” organic dairies to assess compliance with the organic pasture standards. Risk factors include operation size, geographic location, and history, the NOP said.

The agency did not disclose any operation-specific information on its surveillance activities such as the name of the certifier that entered into a settlement agreement or the name of the organic dairy slapped with a proposed suspension.

While most organic dairies that were audited through the surveillance project in the first quarter, which ended Dec. 31, were found to be in compliance, the NOP said two other organic dairy operations surrendered their certification, but again did not disclose the names of the operations.

The NOP also included a U.S. map graphic with states shaded green to apparently denote NOP pasture surveillance activities during 2018 and 2019.

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