USDA Objects To Sustainability Standards Movement
August 25, 2008
The wheels are in motion toward the establishment of a national standard for sustainable agriculture, but USDA recently spoke out against the potential impact of the proposed standard and the process that will create it in a letter to Leonardo Academy President Michael Arny. OFA revealed the letter in a recent e-bulletin.
USDA Deputy Secretary Charles F. Conner wrote the letter to Arny, arguing inconsistencies exist between the proposed draft standard and United States domestic and international policies.
"The wording of the law indicates a broad definition of sustainable agriculture, recognizing sustainability can be achieved by employing various methodologies and practices," Connor wrote. "The definition is intentionally broad and does not exclude particular practices or technology that may contribute to achieving that sustainability.
"We believe that standards developed for U.S. agriculture, whether public or private, need to be consistent with U.S. laws and policies."
Connor also wrote USDA has always supported the development of standards when they're properly developed in an inclusive and balanced process that accounts for all affected stakeholders. USDA will not, however, support the drafting process used by Leonardo Academy.
The first meeting of the standards committee, meanwhile, has been moved from September 10 to September 25 and 26. Committee members will meet for a full day on the 25th and a half day on the 26th.