USDA Objects To Sustainability Standards Movement

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.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

4 comments on “USDA Objects To Sustainability Standards Movement

  1. Less than 100 years ago some 70% of our population was involved in some aspect of agribusiness. We now comprise a tiny minority of less than 2%.Unless the majority of Americans wish to return to an agrarian lifestyle, sustainability concerns must be balanced by making sure that we will be allowed to use the technology required to produce the crops that will allow that 2% to “feed the world”. We live in an agricultural community, yet my son’s community college environmental science professor stated that “farmers use tractors because they like to have an easy way of making a living”. She continued to say “they should return to organic production and farm with horses instead, since it is better for the environment”. I agree that we need to be concerned about preserving our environmental resources, yet I’m sure she wouldn’t dream of giving up her car to ride to a horse. The Leonardo Academy has drafted sustainability standards which would be defined according to current organic production standards, excluding much of the modern technology we use to produce our crops. Just as the college professor who would take away the technology a farmer uses to provide a livelihood for his family, but would consider technology which impacts her more directly to be “essential”, I feel those drafting the standards lack a clear understanding of the role of technology in achieving our high standard of living based on modern agricultural production. I believe that is why you have been encouraging people in our industry to become involved in the Sustainability standards process, so THANK YOU for your efforts, and THANK YOU to USDA for speaking up about the impact of such sustainability standards on American agriculture.
    Although my comments may seem more concerned with agricultural food production, ornamental horticulture is just as vital, as every flower, bush or tree planted contributes to the health and well-being of our planet.

  2. Less than 100 years ago some 70% of our population was involved in some aspect of agribusiness. We now comprise a tiny minority of less than 2%.Unless the majority of Americans wish to return to an agrarian lifestyle, sustainability concerns must be balanced by making sure that we will be allowed to use the technology required to produce the crops that will allow that 2% to “feed the world”. We live in an agricultural community, yet my son’s community college environmental science professor stated that “farmers use tractors because they like to have an easy way of making a living”. She continued to say “they should return to organic production and farm with horses instead, since it is better for the environment”. I agree that we need to be concerned about preserving our environmental resources, yet I’m sure she wouldn’t dream of giving up her car to ride to a horse. The Leonardo Academy has drafted sustainability standards which would be defined according to current organic production standards, excluding much of the modern technology we use to produce our crops. Just as the college professor who would take away the technology a farmer uses to provide a livelihood for his family, but would consider technology which impacts her more directly to be “essential”, I feel those drafting the standards lack a clear understanding of the role of technology in achieving our high standard of living based on modern agricultural production. I believe that is why you have been encouraging people in our industry to become involved in the Sustainability standards process, so THANK YOU for your efforts, and THANK YOU to USDA for speaking up about the impact of such sustainability standards on American agriculture.
    Although my comments may seem more concerned with agricultural food production, ornamental horticulture is just as vital, as every flower, bush or tree planted contributes to the health and well-being of our planet.

More From Finance/Operations...

July 26, 2016

AFE Releases New Videos Highlighting Industry Successes

The American Floral Endowment (AFE) recently released five new videos, created to highlight floriculture successes through industry collaboration, support, and participation. “Each video shares real stories from industry members on career development through scholarships and internships, and true examples of research solutions that have shaped how the industry operates today,” says Laura Shinall, President of Syndicate Sales, Inc., and AFE Public Relations and Development Chair. “We’re excited to be able to share some great success stories in an effort to increase industry participation.” The introductory video “Heard of the American Floral Endowment?” helps educate those who aren’t currently aware of AFE’s programs, while other segmented videos (retail, wholesale, grower) share how Endowment programs complement each group and why it’s so important that everyone in the industry participates: Retail Florists Share Why They Turn to AFE New Resources for Floral Wholesalers and Suppliers AFE Helping Growers Profit Ready for a Career in Floriculture or Horticulture? […]

Read More
Briscoe White, Growers Exchange

July 6, 2016

The Grower’s Exchange Unlocks The Secret to E-Commerce

In the Internet era, Briscoe and Kenan White knew they had to adapt or die and specialize to survive. Here’s how they took The Grower’s Exchange online.

Read More
Brie Arthur

July 6, 2016

5 Can’t-Miss Events To Watch For At Farwest 2016

Whether it’s classes on biocontrols and gardening trends, or networking opportunities in and around the trade show floor, there’s plenty happening at Farwest 2016 in Portland, OR, in August.

Read More
Latest Stories

July 26, 2016

AFE Releases New Videos Highlighting Industry Successes

The American Floral Endowment (AFE) recently released five new videos, created to highlight floriculture successes through industry collaboration, support, and participation. “Each video shares real stories from industry members on career development through scholarships and internships, and true examples of research solutions that have shaped how the industry operates today,” says Laura Shinall, President of Syndicate Sales, Inc., and AFE Public Relations and Development Chair. “We’re excited to be able to share some great success stories in an effort to increase industry participation.” The introductory video “Heard of the American Floral Endowment?” helps educate those who aren’t currently aware of AFE’s programs, while other segmented videos (retail, wholesale, grower) share how Endowment programs complement each group and why it’s so important that everyone in the industry participates: Retail Florists Share Why They Turn to AFE New Resources for Floral Wholesalers and Suppliers AFE Helping Growers Profit Ready for a Career in Floriculture or Horticulture? […]

Read More
Briscoe White, Growers Exchange

July 6, 2016

The Grower’s Exchange Unlocks The Secret to E-Commerce

In the Internet era, Briscoe and Kenan White knew they had to adapt or die and specialize to survive. Here’s how they took The Grower’s Exchange online.

Read More
Brie Arthur

July 6, 2016

5 Can’t-Miss Events To Watch For At Farwest 2016

Whether it’s classes on biocontrols and gardening trends, or networking opportunities in and around the trade show floor, there’s plenty happening at Farwest 2016 in Portland, OR, in August.

Read More
Cannabis states 2016

July 1, 2016

Adult Use Of Cannabis On The Ballot In 2016

25 states have legalized cannabis and public opinion is increasingly positive. Here’s where things may be headed as we move toward the fall elections.

Read More
Practical Software Grower Vertical

June 18, 2016

Practical Software Solutions Increases Accessibility, E…

Practical Software will demonstrate Grower Vertical, its customizable and scalable enterprise management system for the horticulture industry, at Cultivate’16 in July.

Read More
Battlefield Farms Company shot

June 14, 2016

Battlefield Farms Is A Finalist For 2016 Operation Of T…

Battlefield Farms in Rapidan, VA, is one of three finalists for Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Operation Of The Year award and winner of the Excellence In Innovation award for 2016.

Read More

June 7, 2016

Ball Seed Offers Full Mobile Ordering Capabilities With…

The latest update for Ball Seed’s WebTrack To Go mobile app now includes full ordering capabilities for the industry’s largest assortment of seeds and plants. App users can also complete order fulfillment via seed count or package size, find product substitutions, get personalized “contact us” information, request plant tags, and more. “Upgrading WebTrack To Go to the full suite of ordering and management tools is where we’ve always wanted to be,” says Mark Morris, Director of IT for Ball Seed. “With this new roll-out, we’re keeping up with our customers on-the-go and providing them the information and access they need –- even while away from their desks.” The Ball Seed WebTrack To Go app lets customers: Check order status and shipment tracking 24-7 Access up-to-the-minute product inventory from hundreds of suppliers Place orders by seed count, packet size, and more Find product info, culture and photos when and where they […]

Read More
Gotham Greens Atrium Style Greenhouse Chicago

May 23, 2016

What’s Good For The Environment Is Good For Business [O…

Investing in technology to become more sustainable “always goes hand in hand,” says Abe VanWingerden, co-CEO of Metrolina Greenhouses. “If it is good for the environment, it normally is good for business over the long term.” That connection was abundantly clear in the responses we received to this year’s Top 100 Growers Survey. VanWingerden points to three investments Metrolina has made as good examples of how technology can reduce an operation’s carbon footprint and pay dividends financially. Its biomass system burns locally sourced waste wood — a renewable resource; its ozone water treatment system cleans irrigation water, reducing the need for fertilizers and pesticides, and improving plant quality and precision growing; and electrostatic sprayers reduce water and chemical use, and provide more targeted chemical applications. Other Top 100 Growers have found VanWingerden’s theory to be true, as well. Costa Farms’ investment in solar energy panels on three buildings at its […]

Read More
Petunia 'Supertunia Violet Star Charm' (2015 University of Georgia Field Trials)

May 10, 2016

New Southern-Centric Ornamental Production Conference T…

The 2016 Academy of Crop Production is dedicated exclusively to sharing information on advanced ornamental crop production and business management techniques for ornamental producers.

Read More
University of Florida Online Greenhouse Training Courses

April 25, 2016

University of Florida Offering Online Training Courses …

There will be five courses offered, with the first starting on May 30. Courses are available in both English and Spanish and range from beginner level to advanced education.

Read More
Sanitation programs are essential to preventing and removing food safety concerns.

April 7, 2016

USDA Launches GroupGAP Program For Fruit And Vegetable …

The new certification program is designed to help small and mid-size growers, including greenhouse vegetable producers, comply with new food safety regulations.

Read More
Young Plants Farm North Carolina

March 15, 2016

Young’s Plant Farm Obtains MPS-A Qualification

MPS, an organization that develops and manages certification for companies in the horticulture industry, has awarded MPS-A certification to Young’s Plant Farm in North Carolina and Alabama.

Read More
Charlie Hall Feature Image

March 14, 2016

Dr. Charlie Hall Will Offer Keynote Address At Farwest …

The Texas A&M economist will discuss factors affecting short- and long-term demand driving the future of the green industry.

Read More
Seed Your Future Logo

March 8, 2016

Longwood Gardens And American Society For Horticultural…

Under the direction of co-chairs Paul B. Redman of Longwood Gardens and Anna Ball of Ball Horticultural Company, the “Seed Your Future” initiative is designed to combat declining awareness of horticulture while promoting it as a viable career choice.

Read More
Florida Green Industry

March 4, 2016

University Of Florida Study Shows Green Industry Genera…

According to the study, the rise of large retail chain stores with garden departments has made plants and other horticultural products more readily available to consumers than ever before.

Read More
Great Lakes Growers Expansion

February 22, 2016

Great Lakes Growers Expands Its Production Capacity For…

The Burton, OH-based grower has added 25,000 square feet to its operation, helping it to keep up with rising consumer demand.

Read More
National Garden Bureau Logo feature image

February 16, 2016

New Officers And Directors At National Garden Bureau an…

During the ASTA Flower & Vegetable Seed Conference, National Garden Bureau and All-America Selections elected new officers and directors.

Read More
Katherine Wolper

January 24, 2016

Ludvig Svensson Hires Katherine Wolper As West Coast Sa…

Wolper says she looks forward to listening to growers and understanding the concerns, obstacles, and opportunities they face.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]