The Organic Program Finalizes Stronger Rules on Animal Welfare

Read USDA’s final rule strengthening animal welfare standards here.

USDA published the final rule on January 18, 2017. CFSA is pleased that the final rule does address our comments about pastured livestock. Thank you to the CFSA members who took the time to answer our questions about pasture-based poultry housing as we wrote our comment this summer. You made a difference for farmers across the country! Read CFSA’s comment on the proposed rule here.

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The Road to Organic Certification

The Road to Organic Certification

Are you interested in learning more about the USDA NOP organic certification process? If so, take a walk on the Road to Organic Certification and watch how Candice Howard successfully certifies her sustainable farm and how Bruce Baxter successfully transitions his farm to certified organic.

EXPERT TIP: Combating a New Pest to Bring the Blueberries You Love From the Field to Your Family

by Stephanie Campbell, CFSA’s Outreach Coordinator

Delicious blueberries

Imagine tossing a handful of fresh-picked, sweet, firm blueberries into your mouth. Imagine your favorite blueberry cobbler, muffins, and pancakes; blueberries in your power smoothie; blueberries on your toddler’s cereal; serving a red, white and blueberry dessert on the 4th of July.

Compact, tasty, and packed with nutrients, blueberries rank as one of nature’s super foods. Blueberries have a rockstar reputation among fruits as research studies continue to confirm blueberries as a healthy source of antioxidant compounds and to report on their ability to protect the body from stress, lower the risk of cancer and of type 2 diabetes, and improve the immune system, heart health, and memory function.

For more than 70 years, North Carolina’s blueberries have been a favorite of people everywhere. The North Carolina Blueberry Industry generates an estimated $72.1 million in farm income with 6,400 acres harvested. North Carolina ranks 7th in the nation in blueberry production with 48.5 million pounds annually. Blueberries have economic and cultural significance for both farmers and eaters alike.

SWD on blueberryRecently, though, a small insect pest arrived in the U.S. and is posing a serious threat to the blueberries we love. Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) is a tiny, winged demon – native to Asia – which lays its eggs in ripening fruit. SWD is different from other vinegar fruit flies that infest overripe, rotting and decaying fruits. SWD cuts into ripening berries and lays its eggs, which develop into a larvae inside the berry. Learn More

EXPERT TIP: Avoid Common Mistakes Made with Organic Inputs

by Keith R. Baldwin and Eric Soderholm

When it comes to inputs for transitioning or certified organic farms, there are plenty of mistakes that can easily be made that would start that three-year “transition” clock back to zero. A short review of some of these simple mistakes will hopefully keep some of you all out of trouble. Learn More