- gather input on specific programs, issues, new initiatives, or overall strategic planning
- convene an advisory group that would recommend a course of action to either the board or staff
- consider a narrow subject within a broader topic area
- focus attention and recommend service for a particular sector of the organic industry
- accomplish a specified project/task, as needed, using OTA and/or participants volunteer time.
Open Task Forces
Animal Welfare Task Force
In response to USDA’s request for comments, OTA convened a task force to analyze the National Organic Program’s proposed rule. The mandate of the task force is to assist OTA in developing comments to USDA- NOP on the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices proposed rule that will reflect the current perspectives of the organic livestock sector. The focus of the task force is to ensure that the specifics within the proposed rule accurately reflect NOSB recommendations, lend themselves to consistent implementation and enforcement by ACAs and USDA, and level the playing field for organic livestock and poultry producers across the nation.
Over the course of the past two months, task force subcommittees comprised of organic livestock operators representing eggs, broilers, beef, dairy, and swine along with accredited certifiers have met and discussed the proposed revisions and their impact on the organic sector. OTA thanks the member volunteers of the task force who helped develop OTA’s draft comments. OTA will continue to engage the task force in the development of our final comments and with any future subsequent draft guidance that may be associated with a final rule.
Transitional Certification Task force
There has been significant discussion recently around the concept of an industry-led transitional certification program administered by USDA’s Process Verified Program (PVP). A transitional certification has the potential to support producers through the significant task of transitioning their farms to organic by providing exposure to the certification process and organic regulations, access to USDA support programs for producers, and, potentially, premiums for their “certified transitional” crops. OTA's Transitional Certification Task Force will advise OTA on the benefits, principles, scope, and risks of such a program as we consider submitting an application for transitional certification to USDA.
'Natural' Food Labeling Task Force
In response to consumers who have requested that it explore the use of the term ‘natural,’ FDA is asking for the public to provide information and comments on the use of this term in food labeling beginning November 12. OTA is forming a task force to shape its comments to submit to FDA on this issue.
National List Innovation Working Group
Origin of Livestock Task Force
Food Safety Task Force
Citrus Greening Task Force
Canadian-U.S.Equivalency Task Force
European Union-U.S. Equivalency Task Force
Mexican Organic Trade Task Force
Asia Working Group
- Korea - The Asia working group is very engaged in the ongoing organic equivalency discussions with Korea and is committed to reopening Korean markets for U.S. organic products
- China - The working group remains vigilant to developments in China and is currently exploring how OTA might facilitate U.S. accreditation by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture
- Taiwan – The working group is a communication channel with USDA and USTR and the American Institute for Trade regarding trade issues that develop at Taiwanese ports of entry, most notably regarding Taiwan’s zero tolerance for pesticide residues
- India – OTA is working with U.S. dairy producers to gain access to Indian markets for U.S. dairy products. Organic dairies are uniquely qualified to assure that organic dairy products are produced from cattle that have been fed vegetarian organic feed as required by the USDA National Organic Program standards for livestock production.
- Japan - As the market for organics in Japan continues to grow the Asia working group will provide industry guidance regarding the implementation of the equivalency arrangement, as well as working to resolve issues that impact trade in accordance with the agreement, discuss opportunities in the market, and strategize consumer education.