ACT TODAY – SAVE Organics in Nevada! – Nevada Dept of Agriculture program in threat!

Some of y’all may have heard about the emergency budget meeting that got called last Thursday at the Nevada Department of Ag (NDA) regarding the organic certification program?  If not, read below the BOLD for info on some background…
I know everyone here is super busy so if you already know and are in support of an Organics Program with NDA then here’s your quick call to action:
1.  If you’re a business or organization who would be affected by the loss of an organics program please send me your logo by end of day today to be included on an infographic with all local businesses and organizations who are also in support.  Official Press Release goes out tomorrow.

2.  Take 3 minutes to call your representative TODAY and tell them that we need funding for the Nevada Organics Program.  The band-aid fix would be the $65,000 to get us through this fiscal year but the real fix would be further investment into the program with marketing, staff resources and training. Several people also feel that the addition of a livestock certification program would be a great enhancement to the program and allow for additional program income (this would make it so that our meat and egg producers can get certified organic in Nevada too).

 

3.  Here is some advice we were given from USDA rural services to help us find our representatives and strengthen this campaign:
“There’s a universal strategy for every one of the organic advocates to deploy with their own assemblyman/woman and senator, which is to call that person and say, Nevada needs an organic certification program in order to respond to market demand and to improve nutrition among Nevadans.  Please fund the organic certification program of the Nevada Department of Agriculture.  Coop members can put their address into the search window on the attached link and it will tell the Senate District (SD) and Assembly District (AD): http://mapserve1.leg.state.nv.us/whoRU/   
Then they go to this link to match up the district number with the person   http://asm.leg.state.nv.us/Assembly/AssemblyMembersM.aspx
to match senate district with senator, go to:  https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/Legislator/A/SenateSo for all of you in a hurry and thinking “duh” to the above statement send me your logo and make a quick call! – amber@greatbasinfood.coop
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For additional info, including links to find your reps at the legislature, read on:
The longer side of all this – the Nevada Organics Program faced the same cuts 4 or 5 years ago and we were in this same position.  Hundreds of community members and businesses called in and the program was saved…we can do it again but this time we need to talk about longer term strategy and financial stability.
If you look at the local food economy in our urban core, it’s pretty obvious that the majority of the small to medium sized producers that everyone sources from are already certified organic or they are on the path.  Who wants to feed their family and friends neuro-toxic pesticides that destroy health, cause cancer, and contaminate our watershed?
Thank goodness that sound science and global organizations are finally publishing reports on the dangers of our most common pesticide: glyphosate (one of the main ingredients on a very common household and ag herbicide ROUND UP).  The World Health Organization published this report on March 20th, 2015 – BIG NEWS and game changer: http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/iarcnews/pdf/MonographVolume112.pdf
It’s always keen to remember that NON GMO is not the same as ORGANIC. Even if products are NON GMO they can still be covered in harmful pesticides or herbicides like glyphosates…whereas with ORGANICS you can’t have GMOS or pesticides — winner for the workers, land, water and the people!  Oh yeah and remember that crazy stuff with seed patents that our government decided was wise to rule in favor of years ago for Monsanto?  With certified organic seed our farmers can actually save and own the seeds that they have spent years cultivating and sorting to ensure species who thrive here in our high desert climate…water restrictions included :)
This whole situation puts Nevada Dept of Ag in a tough spot because everyone in the department really loves Nevada Agriculture and they work really hard to protect and hold standards for a lot of products and programs in our state (Animal Industry, Consumer Equitability, Food & Nutrition)…thus protecting our state’s vital resources and helping to keep the community safe.  Even if we get our legislators to provide more funding this session, plans will need to be made to address the ongoing budgetary & program issues.
From an ideological perspective it would be taking a huge step backwards for Nevada to lose the organics program at the state level…we would be the only state in the Western Corridor (besides Arizona who is the process of heading there) without an organics program at this level!  From Utah Dept of Agriculture Organic cert program Website:

It is the intent of organically grown or produced products to foster the cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve bio-diversity.

This program is intended to serve producers, processors and consumers of agricultural products. The goal is to manage a process that will maintain the integrity of food products produced without the use of restricted chemical inputs.

One of the arguments is that we can privatize this program, which is very true…but that can be said for A LOT of inspection processes that are state regulated.  We personally want to see that the overarching and most prominent institution of ag in our state is representing the kind of agriculture that we believe in and feel good about our tax dollars going towards.
Thank you everyone and please forward to your networks, we need to act fast as time is running out this legislative session!

THIS JUST IN – CALL CONGRESSMAN AMODEI TOO!

 CARSON CITY, NEV. —Congressman Mark Amodei (NV-2) today announced he will hold an agriculture town hall meeting in Carson City on Wednesday, April 1, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., in the second floor chambers of the Paul Laxalt State Building at 401 N. Carson Street.
http://www.amodei.house.gov/news-releases/amodei-announces-agriculture-town-hall-for-carson-city/        “Nevada’s agriculture industry is strong, but our hard-working producers and ranchers face unique challenges. This forum is an opportunity for them to continue to voice their concerns to me and my staff, as well as state and federal agencies. I see it as one part of an ongoing dialogue to ensure we are doing what we can to support an important part of our economy and way of life,” said Amode.

Amodei has asked the following state and federal agencies to send officials to participate: Nevada Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of Labor. Please contact Amodei’s Rural Representative Meghan Brown at (775) 777-7705 with questions.

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