Expanded check-off exemption takes effect Feb. 29

GroApplesroundedUSDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has posted a recorded presentation about modifications to the organic assessment exemption regulations for commodity promotion programs. The presentation outlines how the amendments to the exemption will be applied to businesses under each of the commodity promotion programs moving forward. These changes, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and finalized in a rule December 31, 2015, expand the exemption to cover all “organic” and “100 percent organic” products certified under the National Organic Program, enabling them to choose whether to pay into and participate in conventional commodity check-off programs or opt out and put their dollars into a proposed organic research and promotion order now under review by the agency. OTA has hailed this move as a major victory and step forward for the organic sector. For more information on the proposed organic check-off, visit GRO Organic.

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