The USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) on Friday posted three decisions that denied appeals made by certified organic operations.
The verdicts were handed down by Bruce Summers, administrator of the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), which oversees the NOP.
One of those verdicts involved certified organic Triple F LLC, based in Tomah, Wis., whose appeal was denied, and its organic certification revoked for five years.
Triple, owned by the Fink family (Dale, Samantha, and Cody) was initially certified organic for livestock in November 2016 by the Minnesota Crop Improvement Association (MCIA).
NOP said that the Fink family also has another certified operation, Dale Fink Farms, a crops operation. Altogther, the Fink family maintains four locations with crop fields and livestock, said the agency.
MCIA reported in discovered that Triple had sprayed herbicide on weeds around several silos and buildings, as well as in a field adjoining a corn field requested for certification and next to a heifer pasture fence where there is no buffer on the pasture side of the fence.
“Triple states it sprayed herbicides around the silos and other buildings, along with vinegar, salt and dish soap and believed that they could use that combination to kill weeds,” according to the NOP.
The organic certifier also observed at Triple’s lot, that organic heifers were mixed with nonorganic livestock; and several of the animals didn’t have eartags, in violation of organic regulations.
Summers said in his June 7 decision that “The wide-spread, systemic violations require Triple to conduct a thorough review of its operation and ample time to correct the numerous noncompliances.”
Triple has 30 days to request an administrative hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
Meanwhile, the NOP also published two denials of appeal for the following operations: