Join the MOFGA Agricultural Services Staff & MOFGA Certification Services (MCS) Staff for a half-day meeting of Certified Organic Growers.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009 in Unity
Tuesday, February 3, 2009 in Freeport
The Growers Meeting is back and in two locations. For those of you relatively new to MOFGA certification, the Growers Meeting was an annual gathering of certified producers with the purpose of organic standards development. Once the USDA National Organic Program’s Standards went into effect in 2002, the Growers Meeting waned. The last Growers Meeting was in February 2005. Although we are no longer able to set our own organic standards, we think this meeting has significance and utility. For starters, it provides an opportunity for staff from MOFGA and MCS to interact with and receive feedback from its constituents. It also gives growers a chance to gather and discuss issues as a group. And even though there is a federal regulation in place, there are still some gray areas in the standards that are open to interpretation. Certifiers have some leeway in developing their own policies and procedures for carrying out the federal regulation and this is an area where producer input can be vital.
Two opportunities to attend:
GROWER MEETING “NORTH”: Tuesday 27 January 2009 / MOFGA’s Common Ground Education Center-Exhibition Hall, Unity, ME 1:30 through 5 pm. Snacks and coffee provided.
GROWER MEETING “SOUTH”: Tuesday 3 February 2009 / Royal River Natural Foods- downstairs meeting room, Freeport, ME. 1:30 through 5 pm. Snacks and coffee provided. Since Royal River has a café in its store, we encourage producers to come early and have lunch with others before the meeting starts.
Presentations 1:30—3:00 PM
o Pesticide Application Recordkeeping with Gary Fish. Two pesticide applicator recertification credits available.
o Crop Planning Software
o Updates to Resource Guide with Eric Sideman, tell Eric what worked for you, what did not and what you would like to see in the next edition.
Certified Grower Discussion Session 3:00—5:00 PM
Actual discussion and feedback session may vary based on who attends each meeting. To offer a framework for this session, we have come up with a list of topics we think growers may be interested in, or about which MOFGA’s certification program needs grower input. Here is a list of possible topics and issues:
o Proposed pasture regulation—update on federal changes
o Livestock bedding policies—input needed
o Copper fungicides—an update on approved products
o Greenhouse crop rotation—input needed
o Poultry living conditions—input needed on expected practices
o ISO 65 accreditation to enable international organic sales of MOFGA certified product—input needed
o GAP/HACCP certification—input needed
o Marketing assistance by MOFGA—update
o Changing organic certificate design & function—input needed
o Animal inventories and transaction certificates—input needed
o Alternative marketing label initiative by MOFGA
o Separating the inspection charge from the certification fee-discussion and feedback needed
o Accessing better farm maps from third parties
o ________________ Something on your mind? Here’s your chance. _____________
Certification Application Clinic—Those interested in applying for organic certification are welcome to attend the Growers Meeting. Staff will be on hand with forms and can answer questions about filling them out.
Questions? Please call the MOFGA office at 568-4142.