Help Us Advocate for Stronger GMO Regulations

Hand Holding Black PenThe USDA announced in March that it was ditching a 2008 proposal that would have updated its regulations for genetically engineered (GE) crops. Following the announcement, the department initiated a new public comment period that we hope will lead to new and better regulations. The USDA continues to regulate GE crops under outdated regulations that don’t adequately protect farmers, the public, and the environment from the negative impacts of GE crops.

Submit comments today. The deadline is June 22.

Quick background: The USDA is one of three agencies that regulate GE crops (along with the EPA and FDA). When these engineered crops landed in our fields and grocery aisles, the U.S. government chose to rely on a patchwork of existing laws, some of which predate the technology, instead of creating a new law to oversee biotechnology. This resulted in a mishmash of agency interpretations for regulating GE organisms. This patchwork approach has left holes: the absence of mandated contamination prevention practices, post-market monitoring, and a mechanism for compensating those harmed by contamination, to name a few. Lacking a robust regulatory framework, the organic and broader non-GE community has shouldered the costly burden of trying to protect their seed, crops, and markets from GE material, and dealing with contamination when it happens.

You can help! Submit comments today, and tell the USDA to develop new regulations that protect farmers, the public, and the environment.

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Call for Conference Input and Proposals

logo-osgc2016-FINAL-smallOrganic Seed Alliance invites you to help shape the 8th Organic Seed Growers Conference by providing proposals for content. This is your opportunity to share important research and ask timely questions related to organic seed. The conference will be held February 4-6, 2016, in Corvallis, OR, and is the only event that brings together diverse members of the organic seed community in two days of presentations and networking events focused solely on organic seed. We welcome your proposals for presentations, workshops, posters, panels, and roundtables.

Learn more and submit your conference proposal here.

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The Future of Biotechnology Regulations Begins with You

Hand Holding Black PenThe U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is hosting a series of webinars to collect feedback on specific questions (see below) to inform how products of agricultural biotechnology – i.e., genetically modified organisms (GMOs) – should be regulated. Each of the following webinars will be the same, and are scheduled at the following times:

Wednesday, May 6, 6-9 pm EDT

Tuesday, May 12, 5-8 pm EDT

Wednesday, May 20, 4-7 pm EDT

Can’t make any of the webinars? You can provide written comments through June 22, 2015, at this link.

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Deadline for ‘Coexistence’ Comments: MONDAY (May 11)

 

Hand Holding Black PenWhy should those at risk of GMO contamination shoulder the burden of prevention, testing, and losses alone?

The USDA is accepting public comments following an invitation-only workshop on “coexistence.” We watched the event from afar and were disappointed by the imbalance in participation and presentations, where there was clear bias toward the interests of the biotech industry. Furthermore, the most important issues at hand were absent from the conversation, including how to prevent the problem of contamination to begin with.

Comments are due May 11, 2015

Submit comments electronically at this link. Submit comments by mail to: Docket No. APHIS-2013-0047, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

The agency is seeking comments on the workshop it held and activities underway in response to recommendations provided by the agency’s Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture (AC21).

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New Organic Carrot Gallery Helps Farmers, Researchers

20150302_161026The Carrot Improvement for Organic Agriculture (CIOA) project launched an online tool this month to help farmers find new and existing varieties — and varieties in the works — of carrots, especially carrots of novel colors. The new gallery is the first of its kind and includes over 30 carrot varieties and advanced selections included in CIOA. Gallery users can search material by color, disease resistance, shape, flavor, length, origin, top size, and commercial availability. Also included are images of each carrot — both the full root and a cross-section showing the core. The gallery will be updated to include links to project trial results.

Take a tour of the new gallery in the CIOA webinar hosted last month by eOrganic. In addition to the gallery tour, members of the CIOA research team present results from the first three years of the project. In particular, advancements in breeding under organic conditions for nematode resistance and for beneficial relationships with soil microorganisms. Continue reading

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