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OMRI Announces New Contracts with the USDA

(October 15, 2012) The USDA has contracted with OMRI to complete two critical projects for the organic industry. Once again, OMRI was chosen to produce a list of substances allowed in organic production, this time focusing on livestock materials. The list will be published by the National Organic Program (NOP) as a draft guidance. At the same time, the NOP has contracted with OMRI as one of several businesses eligible to bid on and produce Technical Reports for the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) over the next five years. Together, these two contracts will allow OMRI to contribute critical support in what has become a new era for input review.

First, the new draft guidance will provide the USDA and NOP with the basis for a Livestock Permitted Substances List (PSL), a complete list of substances allowed in organic livestock production. Last winter OMRI delivered a draft PSL for materials used in crop production, and that document is expected to undergo a public comment period in the near future. See the original press release here. In the meantime, the NOP and OMRI have turned their attention toward a similar resource for organic livestock production.

"We appreciate this opportunity to again support the NOP and the organic industry by contributing toward clear guidance on inputs," said Peggy Miars, OMRI's Executive Director/CEO. "Livestock materials in particular are an area where we need to reach consensus, and further clarification will help to harmonize the industry. Ultimately these efforts ensure that organic consumers continue to always receive reliable products." Certifiers and producers of organic livestock products have suggested that more complete lists of approved materials and brand name inputs are needed, particularly for farmers and ranchers who are transitioning.

Production of the draft guidance is expected to span several months. Meanwhile, the organization is prepared to work on Technical Reports at any time. These reports support NOSB decision making by analyzing a specific material or class of materials, including details such as production techniques, common uses, and environmental impact. OMRI produced Technical Reports in the past, and the organization welcomes the opportunity to conduct this type of research once again.

With over 15 years of experience focusing on input review, OMRI is singularly qualified to provide both of these services. "We are dedicated to contributing leadership and technical support to benefit the community," said Miars. "With improved efficiency, we now evaluate new product review applications as soon they arrive, and we currently list over 2500 products. We're running smoothly, ready to provide heightened leadership and guidance wherever the industry needs it."

OMRI will continue to publish the Generic Materials List© for subscribers, certifiers, producers, and the general public, including a section on materials for organic livestock production. Although the NOP PSL will provide the official reference for materials, OMRI will maintain the Generic Materials List for internal use, and the publication will remain available to subscribers and the public at www.omri.org.

Contact: Amy Bradsher, amyb@omri.org
(541) 343-7600 ext. 106

Founded in 1997, the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) provides organic certifiers, growers, manufacturers, and suppliers an independent review of products intended for use in certified organic production, handling, and processing. OMRI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. When companies apply, OMRI reviews their products against the organic standards. Acceptable products are OMRI Listed® and appear on the OMRI Products List. OMRI also provides subscribers and certifiers guidance on the acceptability of various material inputs in general under organic standards.