OrganicAg News Issue#16 28th May 2014

Organic Sector Forum 2014 – Cancelled.

The event clearly missed the mark of what the organic sector must be looking for. Registrations from primary producers and trades were too low to continue.
This was further backed by the general lack of support from the sector organisations with one of the four main certifiers declaring no interest, 2 wishing to attend for one day and the fourth no engagement at all!
This was further expressed with no formal interest from primary producer groups other than COKA.. OANZ was interested to use Andre Leu, IFOAM chair, while he was here for some meetings in Wellington, but saw no role for the organic sector umbrella group in the Forum.

I have been in the organic sector since the 1980’s and clearly misread the signals when exploring the topic range for the Forum. Time will tell if the topic range was over the horizon for most or of no real concern.
Personally I still believe that the issues chosen do need to be seriously explored by the sector.
When we consider;
  • that both horticulture and pastoral farming have gone down in production area over the last 3 to 5 years in NZ.The organic pastoral sector will loose around 2000 ha of certified land in 2014.
  • that a number of input suppliers are considering not certifying or reducing the number of products they certify in 2015.
  • that the gap between our ability (minimum quantity/supply) to enter the market place (international) and the market place demand is growing ever wider.
  • that some wholesalers are considering launching their own ‘integrity mark’ for organics.
  • that with the GMO issue looming –knowledge of the potential risk is paramount.
  • that the ‘natural and non audited biological’ producers are great in number and desire ‘our markets’ without providing the integrity.
  • and so it goes on.
So some time in the future consideration will be given to future organic primary producer events.
So to those that registered interest in the Forum, thank you and apologies for any inconvenience caused.

To the Organic Sector Forum 2014 Carbon sponsors; AgriSea Ltd, Pacific BioFert Ltd and Natural Sugar Ltd----a very big thank you for your support.

Consider the quote of the issue below and the gain has been in building very good relationships with speakers who had not previously engaged with organic agriculture.

So to the news from NZ and international;

Stop Press---today in WA

A case we have covered much in earlier issues is now decided;

WA organic farmer loses genetically modified canola fight in court.

In a landmark court decision, a judge has ruled against a West Australian organic farmer who was suing his neighbour for allegedly contaminating his farm with genetically modified canola.

Steve Marsh was suing former friend Michael Baxter in the WA Supreme Court, claiming he lost organic certification for more than half of his farm after GM canola drifted onto his land from Mr Baxter's property.

Read more:


Next week I will have a link to Mai Chen’s paper that was to be delivered at the Organic Sector Forum 2014 on this topic.

It is hugely important to read the detail of the decision and again to read the detail of Mai’s advice on this subject. Taking the right action is imperative at the outset to give the best chance of success.

Are Organic Standards in Jeopardy? Watchdogs Say Yes

When organic activist Alexis Baden Mayer of the Organic Consumers Association was arrested after leading a "spirited protest" against watering down organic standards last month, she wasn't at a rally on the street or in a park. She was at a meeting of the National Organic Standards Board, a 15-member advisory board with statutory authority to review what substances are allowed and prohibited in organic agriculture -- usually a relatively staid affair.
Organics at the Crossroads
Because of the growing popularity of organics, the involvement and undue influence of heavy hitters in the organic industry, and the current challenges of owning and operating organic family farms, organic agriculture is at a crossroads.

Demand rising for organic farmers in Christchurch.

Organic growers in particular are experiencing growth in demand for their foods, with some producers fielding requests for mid-week farm gate sales on top of steady weekend returns. These same growers tell us about the changing demographics of those coming to buy produce. For instance they're seeing more "blokey types" - who might have previously survived on beer and sausages - coming straight for their stalls with their kids in tow and buying up for the week.
High Court Prevents GM Developers Bypassing GM Laws
Media Statement, May 22 2014
The High Court has quashed a decision by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) that would have allowed developers of genetically modified crops to bypass New Zealand’s GM laws.

French Apples

Pascal Corbel:
"Competition in the apple market is getting tougher"
Cardell Export sees growing interest in organic apple Juliet

The French company Cardell has long been specialised in the production, packaging, distribution and export of French apples. According to salesmanager Pascal Corbel, the season has

New NOSB Chair.

The Agricultural Marketing Service is pleased to welcome

Dr. Jean Richardson as Chair of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), and to introduce a new fact sheet on the Sunset Review and Renewal Process.


IFOAM 2013 annual report.

The title of our 2013 Annual Report, ‘Our Earth, Our Mission’, echoes IFOAM’s continued dedication to working towards a sustainable world by advancing the organic alternative.We do so by pushing the boundaries of our understanding of ‘best practice’; through our projects we reach out to engage farming communities in sustainable agricultural practices and achieve an increased uptake of Organic Agriculture; and through awards and conferences we encourage the sharing and replication, on the ground, of innovative and entrepreneurial ideas in and around organic.

and the report itself,


The May 2014, The Organic Integrity Quarterly.

16 items in this issue—you may wish to subscribe directly.

The USDA organic control system is the most comprehensive and effective
in the world. The United States is also the world’s largest organic market. The
USDA oversees more than 500,000 organic farmers who are part of certified
organic grower groups that provide organic coffee, cacao, bananas, tea and
other products to the US market. The majority of these farms are small farms
making less than $5,000 per year (equivalent currency). Their organic sales are
an important component to their livelihood and the economic health of their


Natural or Organic?

Companies marketing “natural” products merely pay lip service to sustainability and eco-friendliness, while undercutting the truly committed organic companies that walk their talk by buying from farms that are managed organically, without synthetics and pesticides, non- therapeutic antibiotics and hormones, and sewage sludge.


Organics Struggle Like Any Growing Business

a 12 minute radio interview.

Mark Kastel, co-founder of the organic watchdog group, Cornucopia Institute - was a special guest on the WI Farm Report to update listeners on regulatory challenges in the organic food industry.
American consumers have not had their fill of organic products yet. In fact, sales of organic products in the United States jumped to $35.1 billion in 2013, up 11.5% from the previous year’s $31.5 billion and the fastest growth rate in five years, according to the latest survey on the organic industry from the Organic Trade Association (OTA).


National Agricultural Fieldays.

June 11th to 14th.Hamilton.

Some 16 companies are listed as organic for this event...............

Organic Expo.

Auckland July 5th & 6th.

New Zealand's Consumer and Trade Sustainability Show, 4th year in 2014, unveils "4 shows under 1 roof". It will showcase the range of creative and responsible products, organic, services and innovation already available and soon to be, which can help us all live a healthier lifestyle and achieve a healthier planet. -

Video of Issue.

A light hearted look at a serious issue.

Celebrating the International Year of the Family Farm.

Tim & Helen Gow, Southland.

Website of Issue.

Since 1972, IFOAM has occupied an unchallenged position as the only international umbrella organization of the organic world, i.e. all stakeholders contributing to the organic vision. This allows IFOAM to unite, lead and assist the organic movement - all IFOAM Affiliates - in its full diversity, while providing a common voice on relevant organic issues. IFOAM implements the will of its broad-based constituency, with Affiliates in more than 100 countries and is governed by a World Board originating from all continents. The IFOAM Action Network comprises self-organized IFOAM regional and sector groups and daughter organizations.


Quote of Issue;

Hillary’s 10 Steps to the Summit of the World

  1. Nothing ventured; nothing gained
    If you don’t give it a go, you will never know what you can accomplish.
  2. Challenge = uncertainty = excitement
    Every great goal is a challenge, and the outcome is always uncertain – but that is what makes life exciting!
  3. Fear makes you focus. Fear makes you thorough. A little bit of fear is good.
  4. Passion gives you the confidence and the dedication to accomplish the goal.
  5. Fun makes for a great team. Having fun together helps cement a team, and makes the goal more achievable.
  6. Make sure you have lots to live for.
    Your survival is enhanced and your life enriched by the other dimensions in your life - the people you love; the other ambitions you have. If there is only one thing that matters to you in your life, you run the risk of having nothing else to live for if you lose it.
  7. Resist the flock factor
    There is safety in numbers, and strengths too, but only when everyone is thinking for themselves and contributing to the operation.
  8. You are all you have
    You must learn to be self-reliant.
  9. Powerful experiences are what memories are made of, but you must be prepared to risk defeat.
  10. A View from the Summit
    When you reach a goal, you have completed a dream. Never stop dreaming and setting new goals.

Bill Quinn,
Organic Promotions.
R.D.4 Paeroa. 3674.
Organics'---integrity through transparency