Contacts: USDA: Richard Lindeborg (202) 720-4772 firstname.lastname@example.org
OTA: Holly Givens (413) 774-7511, ext. 18 Hgivens@ota.com
USDA and Organic Food Industry Group to Cooperate on Resource Conservation Issues
WASHINGTON, DC (March 18, 2002)—Helping America’s organic farmers further conserve natural resources on their lands is the goal of a recent agreement between the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Organic Trade Association (OTA).
The agreement, signed by NRCS Chief Pearlie S. Reed and OTA Executive Director Katherine T. DiMatteo, allows the two organizations to cooperate on a wide range of conservation activities, including:
· conservation planning with organic growers to benefit soil, water and other natural resources,
· improving the quantity and quality of organic commodities,
· identifying soil erosion hazards and limitations of soils for organic farming.
“Consumer demand for organic products is increasing,” said Reed, “and this agreement will help organic growers meet this demand while conserving our natural resources.”
Over the next five years, NRCS will develop national guidance on natural resource conservation related to organic production and furnish technical assistance for conservation measures for organic farms locally.
“Organic farmers are already building healthy soil and protecting the environment, and this agreement will offer them additional assistance for the work they’re doing,” said DiMatteo.
OTA will inform its members of the opportunities for and benefits of developing conservation plans and recommend conservation planning to growers.
NRCS and OTA plan to use demonstrations and field days with organic field operations to showcase conservation and organic production.
NRCS is the lead federal agency for conservation on private land. OTA is the business association representing growers, processors, distributors, retailers and others in the organic agriculture and products industry throughout North America.
March 18, 2002
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