Organic Groups Send Letter to USDA RE: COVID-19

April 2, 2020

The Honorable Sonny Perdue
Secretary
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400独立大道,SW
Washington D.C. 20250

亲爱的秘书Perdue:

We are writing to make recommendations about emergency actions that your agency can take to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the organic sector. We offer our recommendations with full understanding that all sectors of agriculture are now in crisis and that we must all work together to address these challenges.

我们对Covid-19对有机农民,农业工业,企业,证书和检查员以及消费者的影响深表关切。乐动体育手机客户端我们注意到需要保护所有参与有机农业,认证和合规性的人的健康和安全。我们还寻求主张负责任的行动,这将在这困难时期保护USDA有机密封的完整性。

由于年度有机认证过程和需要保护USDA有机密封在极端市场中断的诚信中,我们的一些担忧和建议可能是由其他部门所提出的那些所提出的。

Support for Organic Farmers

The recently enacted CARES Act includes a $9.5 billion emergency fund:

“to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus by providing support for agricultural producers impacted by coronavirus, including producers of specialty crops, producers that supply local food systems, including farmers markets, restaurants, and schools, and livestock producers, including dairy producers.”

当您制定计划执行这一行为时,我们要指出,有机农民在各种特色作物,牲畜和乳制品以及国会优先考虑的当地粮食供应类别中占农民的大量百分比。因此,有机农民被列入实施该法案的任何紧急响应行动至关重要。以下财政援助建议对有机部门非常有帮助:

  • While it is certainly a blunt instrument, providing direct payments to farmers including organic farmers, to keep them solvent during this critical production season in the face of lost or disrupted marketing channels, may be the most direct way to bolster our nation’s food supply. While the awful human health implications of the pandemic may peak and subside over the next couple of months, the long-term food security implications of a year of lost markets for U.S. farmers could have even longer lasting impacts on our society. In making direct payments, it is critical that the criteria used to distribute those payments be more fine-tuned to support the diversity and richness of U.S. agriculture than was reflected in the recent trade mitigation payments, and that more reasonable payment limitations govern those payments to ensure that more farmers get help with these funds.
  • 大多数有机和小型农场传统上没有使用商品信用公司资助的机构运营的食品采购计划。当您向援助农场开发新的采购计划和采购应急喂养或其他营养计划的食物时,我们敦促您使采购过程足够灵活,可以为有机和小型农场工作,而不仅仅是大型常规操作。这应该包括购买多种作物,而不仅仅是商品作物。
  • 由于农民创新以应对与大流行有关的社会疏远建议,美国农业部应为建立虚拟平台的农场提供财政援助,以方便销售其产品,以及“农场”代表,路边拾取等“直接”消费者“无触摸”分发渠道,最小化交互。与全国各地的餐馆转移到拿出拾取选项的情况相同,农民也转移到这个模型。但农民需要一些经济援助来促进这种转变。
  • 增加有机认证的有机农场和处理程序的成本份额援助,并立即支付给有机业务。考虑直接支付有机认证机构,以弥补其认证有机业务的费用,以便有机农民和处理人员在这些极端市场中断时不必承担成本。
  • 乳制品是有机领导之一。不幸的是,有机乳制品农民缓慢地拥抱新的乳制品保证金(DMC)计划,因为它被认为只是与传统乳制品农民相关。然而,传统乳制品价格的历史上主要下降导致有机乳制品价格向下压力。因此,我们敦促您重新开放2020年的乳制品覆盖范围(DMC)计划的注册期,以允许该计划的新参与者。此外,重新开放注册期将允许现有的DMC参与者重新考虑2020年的覆盖作案,但由于与大流行相关的非凡和不可预见的乳制品崩溃。

面对社会疏散要求面临有机认证的挑战

作为有机认证过程的一部分,有机业务必须经过年度现场检查。这一过程面临着减缓Covid-19传播所需的社会疏散要求,对有机农民,处理人员,认证机构和有机检查员一直挑战。乐动体育手机客户端

所有有机利益攸关方都在寻求保护人类健康,而且还要保持有机密封的完整性。两个目标似乎在​​冲突中,但他们不需要。有机认可的认证机构(ACAS)一直与美国农业部国家有机计划(NOP)进行沟通,以制定维持有机认证过程的完整性的机制,同时保护农民,处理人员,证书和检查员的安全性。在某些情况下,这涉及实际上执行有机检查的记录审查方面。在其他情况下,农业农业检查已经延迟了。在其他情况下,检查员已亲自进行现场检查,但使用社会疏散协议,或使用虚拟技术来执行一些实际的网站检查。

因此,我们敦促您为有机业务提供技术和经济援助,因此他们可以通过虚拟平台向认证机构提供所需的记录来维护他们的认证。较小的有机ACA也可能受益于这方面的财务援助。

放松USDA营养计划规则,给予低收入消费者在大流行期间更加获得营养食品

  • 允许直接向农场和CSA上线上在线进行补充营养援助计划(SNAP)付款。
  • Provide waivers and direction to States to broaden their WIC-approved food lists to allow WIC participants to purchase organic foods.
  • 向所有国家发出紧急豁免,以允许食品银行跳过正常的文书工作和记录要求,以收集每个客户的信息。这些文书工作程序大大放缓了已经负担过重的食品银行的食品分销过程,使得难以保持社会疏散协议。
  • 支持食品银行和其他紧急喂养方案的能力,直接从市场价格直接从农民购买有机产品。

向前移动致命的训练以保护有机完整性

对有机部门至关重要的两个横向于最新的清除阶段。在您与管理和预算办公室的沟通中,我们敦促您强调毫不拖延地延迟移动这些国会授权的Rulemakings的重要性。

在国内和国际上,改善有机执行的规则(AKA“加强有机执行”规则)对于美国有机部门的经济可行性至关重要。2018年农场账单要求美国农业机构在2020年12月19日之前完成统治,但拟议的规则仍然是由OMB审查。这种训练必须前进。

我们承认,以下一些建议与其他联邦机构以及白宫在其他联邦机构中的政策问题重叠。作为美国农业的主要倡导者,我们希望让您意识到我们的多方面关注,并敦促您对这些事项的机构间宣传。

农场,农民市场,农场代表和社区支持农业(CSA)业务应视为必不可少的乐动体育app下载

我们国家生产粮食的花旗的能力zens has not been in question anytime in recent history. But the decision by some States to deem traditional retail grocery stores as essential, but to declare non-traditional food marketing venues as non-essential undermines thousands of farmers who market through those channels. As consumers turn more to local sources of food during the pandemic crisis, it is critical that these marketing channels be deemed essential. For many parts of the country spring and summer are critical marketing seasons for farmers who serve local markets, and for consumer desiring the fresh and healthy produce. To cut off consumers from these markets, by allowing local and state governments to deem them as non-essential, is counterproductive. Of course, these marketing venues should be required to institute social distancing protocols, just as retail grocery stores are doing. In fact, farmers markets across the country have already established these procedures and are sharing best practices with each other.

We realize that at the Department of Homeland Security has issued some general recommendations about what should be considered essential industries and that food and agriculture are on that list. However, we are concerned that that DHS advisory does not explicitly include local marketing venues, such as farmers markets, farm stands, and community supported agriculture (CSA) operations. As a result, many local and state governments are shutting down those venue. We urge you to advocate for a revision to the DHS recommendation with your colleagues at the DHS. In addition, we urge you to advocate with the President, to urge that the federal declarations of essentiality of all food production and marketing venues be enforced with more rigor.

农业劳动力住宿对于在大流行期间继续生产有机食品至关重要

  • 建立一个计划,为生病的农民和农业工人提供救济工人。
  • 在order to ensure uninterrupted food, crop, and commodity production, recognize all H-2A, as well as any other non-immigrant visa petitions involving an agricultural worker, visa consular processing functions as “essential” and direct the U.S. Consulates to treat all agricultural worker appointments as emergency visa services.
  • 提供目前在农场上雇用的农业工人,与任何其他工人在没有关于其作为公民身份的情况下的情况下,并使农业工人有资格获得病假,快报,健康覆盖,儿童保育和工人的赔偿。

The New Emergency Response Program Administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) Should Include Farmers and Agricultural and Food Cooperatives

小型企业管理(SBA)在保持农场和农业业务不需要应急经济伤害灾害贷款(EIDL)方案。他们保持只有水产养殖企业,农业合作社和托儿所有资格获得SBA灾害援助。如果这些计划可以帮助填补由于Covid-19,许多农场企业目前感受到的空白,因此,农民能够访问SBA灾难援助。乐动体育手机客户端

  • 此外,SBA应澄清,农业合作社和消费者食品合作社有资格在大流行紧急情况下获得薪水保护计划(PPP)。由于大流行和短期访问PPP的结果,许多这些合作社都有很大的经济压力将使这些合作社能够维持其员工,以便在紧急情况下能够为他们的农民和消费者服务者服务。

我们提前感谢您的努力,以鉴于Covid-19大流行的光临迅速满足有机农民和企业的需求。乐动体育手机客户端

真挚地,

Abby Youngblood,国家有机联盟执行董事

Kate Mendenhall,有机农民协会执行董事

大型滕纳,执行董事,有机耕作研究基金会