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Quarterly Newsletter • Spring 2017

Organic Double Cropping Brassicas page 4 No-till and Insectary Strips for Organic Cucumber Production page 6 Strip Tillage Systems for Organic Vegetables page 8

Happy Anniversary! PCO celebrates 2 decades of growing the organic community


ur 20th certification season brings with it an amazing achievement: PCO certifies more organic farms and handlers than any other certifier east of the Mississippi! We rank fifth among all US certifiers — quite a leap from number 11 last year — and rose to ninth place worldwide. PCO continues to grow and succeed by all measures. We now serve more than 1,200 certified members, an increase of 45% in one year. Retention of members and staff improved for the second year in a row and we met or exceeded all budgetary goals. PCO staff responded to 760 requests for certification information, three times the usual amount, and accepted 351 new applications. Nearly half of all inquiries resulted in certification. These trends indicate that demand for organic food is stronger than ever in PCO’s home region and that organic farmers are stepping up to meet that demand. You do the farming, we do the certification, and together we can make organic food more available and create a healthier environment for all.

Plan your work, work your plan Although I can’t say we had much of a plan 20 years ago, we’ve since seen the light and learned the value of reflecting on values and working towards clear goals. Our member-elected board and staff got together this winter to create a new 3-year strategic plan addressing four main initiatives: Customer Service, Engaging Members, High-performing Board and Succession Planning. See the full Strategic Plan and Core Values on page 3; and meet your newly elected board members on page 12. I wholeheartedly support and believe in all of these important goals. My personal favorite is engaging members. I love meeting, talking to and building relation-

ships with organic people from all walks of life. These days we communicate in so many different ways: phone calls, email, social media and mail. (Yes PCO still sends and receive lots of actual letters!) Yet by far the best way for getting to know one another remains talking in person. With that in mind, we plan to see more of you at more events. We are so honored to serve you and look forward to seeing you this summer. And please feel free to call me if you have a suggestion, complaint, or just want to talk.

Leslie (814) 404-6567

Our 20th year PCO officially made its debut at PASA’s Farming for the Future Conference in February 1997. We began our first season with zero employees, one inspector and 25 certified members. Fast forward 20 years and we have exceeded even our loftiest expectations, with 30 employees, 35 inspectors and more than 1,200 certified members in 21 states representing all types of agriculture. I can’t begin to think what PCO will look like in the next 20 years — bring it on!

Organic Matters

Spring 2017

PCO staff at the 2017 PASA Farming for the Future Conference. Inset photo, top left: PASA’s new executive director, Hannah Smith-Brubaker, meets up with PCO executive director Leslie Zuck at PASA’s Farming for the Future Conference in February at Penn State. Hannah’s family farm, Village Acres Farm and Foodshed, is a PCO founding member.

Organic Matters Spring 2017


stories 2 Get Involved Opportunities for farmers to infom policy makers

columns 12 President’s Message 15 Dear Aggy 17 Transitions

3 PCO’s 2017 Strategic Plan and Initiatives Goals focused on customers, members, and organizational excellence 4 Organic Double Cropping Brassicas PCO-certified farmer shares insights on stretching cashflow while building soil

20 Organic Updates Certification Legislative Materials Standards & Policy 24 Organic Marketplace 25 New Members 27 Calendar

6 No-till and Insectary Strips for Organic Cucumber Production Maximizing yields, decreasing pest damage, and eliminating wilt 8 Can We Have Our Soil and Till It Too? Designing strip tillage systems for organic vegetables

10 FarmFest — Be a Part of It Organic education and fun family activities

28 PCO Membership/ Certification Order Form

12 PCO Welcomes New Board Members Organic producers, extension educators, and industry professional join PCO Advisory Board Cover photo credit: Sabine Carey


Clifford Hawbaker Hamilton Heights Dairy Farm & Emerald Valley Farm

Michael Ranck Charvin Organic Farms Tony Ricci Green Heron Farm Michael Spangler Global Natural, LLC


Mail: 106 School Street, Suite 201 Spring Mills, PA 16875

Tim Joseph Maple Hill Creamery

Fax: 814-422-0255 Email: Web:

OUR MISSION: To ensure the integrity of organic products

and provide education, inspection, and certification services that meet the needs of our members. PCO provides certification services nationwide

Nicole Lawrence McNeil Membership & Development Specialist

Marissa Pyle Certification Program Manager Heather Donald Senior Certification Specialist Justine Cook Certification Specialist

Leslie Zuck Executive Director

Stephen Hobaugh Certification Specialist

Leanne Lenz Executive Assistant

Cathy Jackson Certification Specialist


Chelsea Johnson Certification Specialist

Diana Underwood Director of Operations

Emily Newman Certification Specialist


Elizabeth Leah Staff Accountant

Colleen Scott Certification Specialist

Christie Badger Independent Organic Inspector

Lia Sandoval Administrative Assistant

Tess Weigand Certification Specialist

Beth Gugino Penn State Extension

Sandy Vandeven Human Resources Manager

Reva Baylets Programs Coordinator

Ron Hoover Penn State Extension

Shawnee Matis Staff Accountant

Aleisha Schreffler Program Assistant

Tina Ellor Phillips Mushroom Farms TREASURER

Dave Hartman Penn State Extension MANAGING BOARD CHAIR


Kyla Smith Certification Director



Phone: 814-422-0251


Bob Eberly

Luke Howard Homestead Farms, Inc.

Kristin Shade Program Assistant

April Fix Public Relations Coordinator INSPECTIONS TEAM

Liz Amos Inspections Manager Ashley Green Inspections Coordinator MATERIALS TEAM

Jennifer Berkebile Materials Program Manager Sabine Carey Materials Specialist Adam Dalo Materials Specialist QUALITY TEAM

Angela Morgan Quality Systems & IT Manager Garrick McCullough IT Specialist

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Spring 2017


Get Involved: Organic groups offer opportunities for farmers to inform policy makers

IFOAM North America IFOAM–Organics International established its North America office in 2013 with the intention of cultivating increased awareness about and participation in the activities of IFOAM–Organics International, regionally and globally. The objectives of IFOAM–North America are as follows: • Inform stakeholders about, and engage them in the activities and strategy of, IFOAM–Organics International; • Bring services and benefits of IFOAM — relevant and complementary ways; • Increase representation from the region among Affiliates of IFOAM–Organics International, to enable increased integration of North American perspectives and activities in the global organic movement. IFOAM–Organics International works to lead, unite and assist stakeholders from every facet of the organic movement. IFOAM–vision is the worldwide adoption of ecologically, socially and economically sound systems that are based on the principles of organic agriculture. Membership is available at the individual and organization level. To learn more, visit There are various other organizations that support family farming and sustainable farming systems through education and advocacy including the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA), the National Farmers Union (NFU), and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC). More info about these organizations is available at: PASA — • 814-349-9856 NFU — • 202-554-1600

Organic Farmers Association PCO recently joined the newly formed Organic Farmers Association (OFA), at the organization membership level. The Rodale Institute played in integral role in initiating the organization and provides support as a fiscal sponsor and partner with OFA’s farmer leadership. OFA has a mission to provide a strong and unified national voice for domestic certified organic producers. OFA’s purpose is to build and support a farmer-led national organic farmer movement and national policy platform by: • Developing and advocating policies that benefit organic farmers; • Strengthening and supporting the capacity of organic farmers and farm organizations; • Supporting collaboration and leadership among state, regional and national organic farmer organizations. PCO members will receive the following benefits as a result of PCO’s membership with OFA: • Ability to bring forward farmer-generated policy proposals for OFA consideration; • PCO farmer members and supporter members can join OFA at a discounted rate of $75 per year (compared to the regular rate of $100 per year) through the Organization Member. OFA has three membership types: farm, organization and supporter with varying criteria and benefits. To learn more about OFA or to join, visit rodale or contact 610-683-1400.

Organic Trade Association’s Farmers Advisory Council On February 15, 2017 the PCO Board of Directors voted to join the Organic Trade Association (OTA) Farmers Advisory Council (FAC). The FAC’s purpose is to provide the OTA Board of Directors and staff with input from small- to medium-sized organic farmers, ranchers and growers on matters pertinent to the advancement of organic agriculture, with a specific focus on OTA’s policy agenda. Established in 2013, the FAC was designed to formalize and improve communication between OTA and organic producers. Through open dialog, FAC gives organic farmers a voice to directly inform and influence OTA’s policy and advocacy. As a result of PCO’s membership our members will receive the following benefits: • Representation through three farmer member seats on the OTA Farmers Advisory Council; • PCO farmer members, whose income from farming is less than $250,000 per year, may choose to join OTA as a Farmstead member for an annual membership fee of $50.00; • PCO farmer members, who do not qualify for Farmstead membership, receive a first year membership discount of 25% when directly joining OTA. For more info about FAC, including its 2016 Annual Report, or to join OTA as a Farmstead member, visit about-ota/farmers-advisory-council or contact Nate Lewis, OTA Farm Policy Director, at (360) 388-6422.

NSAC — 202-547-5754


Organic Matters

Spring 2017

Our vision is that every person, business, community or organization working to further organic and ecological food and farming is able to do so to their fullest extent through highly trusted, affordable, and easily accessible education and certification programs. Every person in every place will have organic food on their table, in their garden, on their farm or in their business.


Improve the customer service experience 1-YEAR GOAL

Map the customer journey and develop a customer service improvement plan 3-YEAR GOAL

Increase the net promoter score to 50% by the end of 2019 CUSTOMERS & MEMBERS — STRATEGIC INITIATIVE #2

Develop and implement plan to engage members 1-YEAR GOAL

Develop a plan to engage members 3-YEAR GOAL


Create and sustain a high-performing board 1-YEAR GOAL

Define measurements for a high performing board; conduct a self-assessment 3-YEAR GOAL

Create a high performing board ensuring strategic focus as measured by our selfassessment scores ORGANIZATIONAL EXCELLENCE — STRATEGIC INITIATIVE #4

Develop a high performing leadership team & strong succession plan 1-YEAR GOAL

Design the foundation of a succession plan

CORE VALUES Our core values serve as a guide for how PCO works and makes decisions every day. Through our Core Values we recognize the interdependent relationships between all of our stakeholders: certified clients, supporters and members; PCO staff and independent contractors; partner organizations; community and environment. People & Service Organic Spirit / Environment Honesty & Integrity Keep people at the center of every action, interaction, and decision.


Promote restorative practices that improve the world for future generations.

Ensure strong leadership and a robust leadership pipeline is in place

Embrace transparency and integrity in all our work.

Organic Matters

Spring 2017


Organic Double Cropping Brassicas PCO-certified farmer shares insights on stretching cashflow while building soil Will Brownback PCO-certified Spiral Path Farm

Like most organic farmers, I make decisions based on monetary gain and impact on soil health. Thankfully, building soil does not have to take a back seat to reaping a financial reward. Vegetable farmers looking to stretch their cashflow later into the fall should consider planting a brassica crop following their cucurbits. Double cropping is the practice of planting a second cash crop in the same soil where a cash crop has already been grown and harvested. The system we use to double crop our brassicas does a good job of producing a quality crop while building soil at the same time. Because our Fall crops are grown on bare ground, as opposed to plastic, we also use less nonrenewable resources and are very conservative with water usage. Having biologically active soils allows us to pull the whole thing off. Let’s step back and take a broad view of soil fertility without concentrating on double cropping. Most of us can agree that organic matter is a good indicator of soil health. Usually, the more the merrier — so long as you have active biology. So how do you increase your organic matter and biological activity? First, start by getting serious about your cover crops. Make sure you have them planted as soon as possible in the fall. You should be aiming to plant a mixture of at least three species, ideally more. Choosing a species will depend on timing, rotation, and soil type. If, for example, you want to plant onions in the spring you would ideally have a winter kill cover crop mix like oats, peas, radish, etc. Because this mix will have no living vegetation, it will allow you to quickly break down the cover crop and prep the soil for planting in minimal time. Second, stay out of the field when it’s


Organic Matters

Spring 2017

Lacinato Kale transplanted into a trench for better in-row weed control. Photo: Spiral Path Farm.

too wet. On our farm, we are blessed with some well drained loam soils that only test our patience during wet spells. Conversely, we also have some heavy clay soils that are always challenging but can give a good crop if you get the soil in the right condition. Patience is key. If you want to watch a field go backwards, just till when it’s too wet. I’ve made and learned from that mistake. You can use living cover crops to manage the moisture on your trickier fields in the spring. A living cover crop will draw the excess moisture out of the soil and transpire it into the air. Incorporate the cover crop only as conditions become ideal. A heavy clay soil would not be an ideal soil for a winter kill cover crop

because these soils aren’t reliably dry enough in the spring to till. Farming on the East Coast requires a high level of flexibility. Try not to get locked into having a certain field be planted to a specific crop. Rain will undoubtedly humble you! Third, the bigger and more mature the cover crop the better. I have read countless articles from universities and respected giants of sustainable agriculture. Almost all say to incorporate the cover crop while it is in lush, active growth (preboot stage for rye). I don’t doubt that this will give the soil and crop the biggest amount of quick release nitrogen. The trouble is, most of our crops prefer slowrelease nitrogen. My tomato plants don’t

need the nitrogen in late May. They want the nitrogen in July and August. Because we let a cover get big and lignified, it takes time for the biota in the soil to break it down and make it available for the crop. Last, tillage is not our worst enemy. Living plants are pulling nutrients out of the soil. They also perform the miracle of photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is what allows you to add carbon to your soils (and help save the planet). Some of this carbon is put back into the soil through root exudates. The rest is stored in the vegetation of the plant and roots. Because there are lots of vegetables that don’t require us to harvest all of their vegetation, we can incorporate the residue into the soil and build our organic matter and soil carbon levels quicker. This also allows us to keep the nutrient cycle rolling forward. A word of caution: Do not over-till. You will watch the organic matter go backwards in your soil. We have seen good results from subsoiling our ground once annually. An ideal time to subsoil would be prior to seeding fall cover crops, assuming it is dry enough. Otherwise, this may not be the year to subsoil.

Almost all our fall brassicas follow a cucurbit. We will finish harvesting a summer squash or cucumber field and quickly prep the field for bare ground brassicas. Ideally, you want the brassica transplant to live off the moisture used to irrigate the cucurbits. The summer (and fall) of 2016 were very dry. For this reason, we would try to complete the final cucurbit harvest and then plant by the end of the following day. I will illustrate this with the following real world example from 2016. Irrigation was turned off about two days before we finished our last harvest of cucumbers (this particular wave) on 8/10. The field was then chopped, lifted, and plastic removed by the end of the same day. The following day, 8/11, we fertilized, subsoiled, disked, and transplanted lacinato kale. Because the field still had latent moisture from the cucurbits, the kale transplants could set roots and live without irrigation. By not irrigating, we were able to avoid the weedy mess that overhead irrigation often creates. It should also be mentioned that we always transplant with a water wheel transplanter so the transplants have the best chance at

survival. For transplanting on bare ground, use a tire innertube that tightly fits around your water wheel with holes cut out for the punches. This helps avoid mud caking your water wheels. We fertilize before planting with about 40 units of Nitrogen in the form of peanut meal and 1000lbs of 0-0-15 green potash. Normally, a first crop would have a cover crop with a legume and require little, if any, additional nitrogen. We also include 10lbs of Boron and 25lbs of kelp meal. I encourage all farmers to keep a close tab on their boron, which is a critical, easily leachable, and too often forgotten micronutrient. The kelp meal acts as a plant stimulant and immune booster. We choose our fertilizers with an eye towards both soil and human health and decisions are driven by an annual soil test. We prefer to use slow release nutrients that have a multitude of traces in them. Sea products are a favorite! We choose not to use animal by-products which are often laced with GMO’s and artificial growth hormones that are the calling cards of our CAFO “farming” brethren. Most of our continued on page 7

Lacinato Kale with an interseeded cover crop of Crimson Clover. Photo: Spiral Path Farm.

Organic Matters

Spring 2017


No-till and Insectary Strips for Organic Cucumber Production Researchers share organic management tips on maximizing yields, decreasing pest damage, and eliminating wilt Dr. Gladis Zinati Associate Research Scientist, Rodale Institute

Dr. Gladis Zinati, Rodale Institute’s lead scientist on a research and demonstration project titled, Using Roller Crimper Technology, Cover Crops, and Insectary Strips to Improve Organic Vegetable Cropping Competitiveness in Pennsylvania, and Dr. Andrew Smith, Director of Vegetable Systems Trial, shared promising first-year results during a recent Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) Conference workshop. Attendees left the workshop inspired and many indicated that they would adopt the revolutionary tactics of using insectary strips as a natural system to increase populations of beneficial

insects and reduce tillage by using rolled crimped cover crops. The two-year research project is being performed at the Rodale Institute and at an off-site farm, PCO-certified Spiral Path Farm, with assistance from Mike Brownback, cooperating organic vegetable producer. The main goal of this research is to improve the competitiveness of organic specialty crops for Pennsylvania growers. The objectives are to evaluate the impact of rolled cover crop mulch compared to plastic mulch with and without the inclusion of flowering insectary strips on organic cucumber yield, striped cucumber beetle damage, and population densities of beneficial insects. The cucumber beetle feeds on cucumber plant leaves, flowers and fruits and causes scars on cucumber fruits that impact marketability. This pest is also a

Insectary strip such as this one with bouquet dill, resin calendula, alyssum, sacred basil, lemon balm, fava beans and peas provide habitat for beneficial insects. Photo: Rodale Institute


Organic Matters

Spring 2017

vector for a bacterium pathogen (Erwinia tracheiphila) that causes plant wilting and has the potential to eliminate an entire crop within a few days. The purpose of integrating insectary strips into organic cucumber production system is to provide habitat for ground predators (ground beetles and wolf spiders) and aerial beneficial insects including soldier beetles, lady bugs, honey bees, bumble bees, and two cucumber beetle parasitoids, a tachinid fly and a braconid wasp. Insectary strips, each 5ft by 30ft, were established in Fall 2015 with alfalfa as a base plant and oats as a nursing crop. A suite of plants such as bouquet dill, sacred basil, resin calendula, alyssum, lemon balm, fava bean, peas, and sunflower was transplanted throughout April and May 2016. Two cover crop mixtures were tested

A rotational no-till layout for organic cucumber production pictured at the Rodale Institute’s research farm in Kutztown, PA. Photo: Rodale Institute

in this project. A rye/hairy vetch (R/HV) and a rye/field pea (R/FP) mixture. They were either rolled-crimped for no-till production or tilled-in and covered with plastic mulch. Cucumber plants were grown without any additional fertilizers to assess the impact of nutrient release from tested cover crops.

In a nutshell, results showed that: • Rolled-crimped cover crops covered the soil surface well throughout the season and reduced weeds; • Irrespective of cover crop mixture, cucumber yields were optimum and ranged between 400 and 670 bu/acre in plastic mulch, and plants in rolledcrimped beds would require additional fertilization to achieve maximum yields; • The inclusion of insectary strips increased premium organic cucumber yields in the plastic mulch treatments; • Ground beetle populations were highest in insectary strips, the grass perimeter and in rolled mulch with and without insectary strips; • Ground beetles were lowest in plastic mulch without insectary strips;

Dr. Andrew Smith, Director of Vegetable Systems Trial at Rodale Institute.

Double Crop Brassicas continued from page 5

soil-applied dry granules are custom blended. As mentioned previously, we always use a waterwheel transplanter to make sure the transplants have the vital water they need to survive and take root. All of our bare ground crops are planted on a double 30" row. All of our tractors correspond to our bed width of 60" on center. Most of our fields are eight rows wide and then have a permanent sod drive lane for harvesting, spraying, erosion control, etc. In-row spacing on bunching greens is 12". Cabbage and broccoli are spaced at 15" in the row. We have modified our transplanter for bare ground work by adding a “shovel” that creates a trench to plant in for most of these crops, with kale being the exception. This trench allows us to have better control of in-the-row weeds. By simply filling in the trench with soil, we’re able to smother immature weeds without having to be over aggressive with our cultivator. After transplant, we will lightly culti-

• Significantly lower densities of the striped cucumber beetle were found in rolled mulch compared to plastic, and more importantly, the cucumber plants did not show any symptoms of wilting.

vate the field on an as-needed basis. This is accomplished using an Allis Chalmers G tractor with sweeps. We will vary the tractor speed and spacing on the sweeps depending on the maturity of the transplant. Faster ground speed and more narrow spacing as the plant matures for more aggressive in-the-row cultivation. We try our hardest to stay ahead of the weeds and not get caught in any wet spells; mother nature doesn’t always comply though. In these cases, we will send a crew through and hand hoe in the row. We can usually get aggressive enough with the cultivator to take care of any between-the-row problems. It takes approximately 15 manhours to hand hoe an acre of brassicas. If needed, this detail is well worth completing. Our typical three-year rotation is as follows: Year one would be a cucurbit and a then a brassica. Year two would be a solanaceous. Year three would be something other than a cucurbit, brassica, or solanaceous (chard, sweetcorn, onion, etc). The nightshades in year two usually require a large dose of nutrients which a healthy cover crop has the potential to

This project, funded by a Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant, is beginning its second year. For more information on the project, please contact Dr. Gladis Zinati, Associate Research Scientist, Rodale Institute at: 610-683-1402 Dr. Gladis Zinati, an Associate Research Scientist at Rodale Institute, Kutztown, PA, has a set of undergraduate degrees in General Agriculture and Agriculture Engineering and MSc. degree in Horticulture from the American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon. Her Ph.D. is in Soil Fertility from Michigan State University, E. Lansing, MI. She has 21 peerreviewed publications and 37 proceedings and outreach educational publications. Her research focuses on developing strategies that optimize soil health, weed and insect pest management in organic crop production.

provide. Therefore, it is critical for us to interseed and establish a cover crop in our year one brassicas. Because the brassicas are grown on bare ground, this poses less of a challenge than one may think. We mount a battery powered ATV spreader to the front of our Allis Chalmers G. At last cultivation, and after hand hoeing if needed, we will interseed a mix of crimson clover, triticale, and hairy vetch. Crimson clover is the main ingredient, and is what will make that year two tomato crop look special. We mix a 5-gallon bucket of crimson, a 5-gallon bucket of triticale, and a 5-gallon bucket of vetch together and apply at a rate of 45lbs per acre. Don’t forget, this cover crop will be trampled on by your workers as they are harvesting the brassicas, so you may want to vary your rates accordingly. Because we don’t mow the brassica crop in fall or spring, they will have vernalized and bloom before the crimson clover. This provides a nice source of spring pollen for our pollinators. We are also able to harvest some prebloom kale florets for our community supported agariculture if we choose. continued on page 9

Organic Matters

Spring 2017


Can We Have Our Soil and Till It Too? Designing strip tillage systems for organic vegetables Ryan Maher Extension Specialist, Cornell Small Farms Program Anu Rangarajan Director, Cornell Small Farms Program

Organic vegetable production is often criticized for a reliance on repeated, intensive tillage that is detrimental to soils. While cover crops can handle some of the burden, innovative growers are looking to do more and a number of reduced tillage (RT) practices are emerging on farms across the Northeast. Many are based on finding opportunities in the crop rotation and using new tools that help growers use less tillage or do it differently. The plow or rototiller may not be sold, but it gets a longer rest, and a critical eye is being used to adopt more crop-appropriate RT. Especially for organic farms, the costs and benefits of RT practices need more research. Can they conserve surface residue, protect soils from crusting, and limit erosion? How can we reduce tillage without setting back the crop and then losing it to weeds? Thinking along these lines, Cornell and partnering universities in Michigan and Maine are scaling up their work in strip, or zone tillage, to offer organic growers a way to find the right balance. Zone tillage leaves between-row areas undisturbed and creates a narrow (~12–14” wide), tilled planting zone, warming soils, forming a seed bed, and burying residue and weeds. Years of work by Cornell researchers, extension, and Northeast growers in conventional vegetables show that zone tillage can offer clear advantages to conventional tillage. Growers cite the labor and time savings along with the soil benefits, like improved tilth and better drainage. Zone tillage equipment takes many different forms and growers are modifying their own based on farm needs and field


Organic Matters

Spring 2017

Yeomans plow shanks. Photo: Ryan Maher, Cornell Small Farms Program.

conditions. Systems are designed to reduce field passes, combining primary tillage with a finishing unit for seedbed preparation. Generally, a residue-cutting disc is followed by a narrow-pointed, straight shank to create a slot. A set of row cleaners mounted ahead of the shank can be critical for moving residue out of the zone. The slot is then closed (open slots dry out quickly) with a set of hilling discs or wavy coulters that loosen and mound soil. Finally, a roller unit, like a rolling basket or cultipacker wheel, breaks up clods and firms the soil in a mini-mound. Shanks are typically set deep at first to rip the soil just below the plow pan and break up compacted subsoil. After a few years, shallow zone tillage without the

deep shanks may be optimal. It’s difficult to achieve a fine seed bed, so the most success has been found for large-seeded crops, like sweet corn and beans, and transplants, including cabbage, squash, and tomatoes. Horsepower can be a limiting factor for small growers, about 30–35 HP per shank, but using lighter Yeoman’s plow shanks with custom-made finishing units can add flexibility to this system (pictured above). They can be moved around on a toolbar to accommodate different crop spacings. Success with strip tillage in organic vegetables will require some system-wide changes. Current research in Central New York, Long Island and Michigan is focused on managing strip tillage with

winter-hardy cover crops, like cereal rye and hairy vetch, for summer vegetable transplants (pictured below). Spring cover crop growth adds lots of organic matter and legume-fixed nitrogen for summer vegetables. When killed at maturity and

left in place, residues serve as a mulch to protect soil and suppress weeds but may also tie up soil nitrogen and complicate planting. Early results are showing the value of strip planting cover crops to improve tillage operations. Alternate

strips of vetch in the planting zone and rye in-between leave rye residue and root masses undisturbed, while nitrogen-rich vetch is tilled in. Research hopes to identify the cover crops and residue management practices best suited for strip tillage that balance weed control, crop nitrogen needs, and labor to help growers think through adoption strategies for their own farm. For more information on RT research in organic vegetables: • • Ryan Maher or 607-255-2102 • Anu Rangarajan or 607-255-1780

Cover crop plantings. Photo: Ryan Maher, Cornell Small Farms Program.

Double Crop Brassicas continued from page 7

Once you have your cover crops seeded, the brassica crop should be in full speed growth phase. This is a great time to add some overhead water to aid its growth and help germinate the cover crop seeds. Brassicas, unlike a lot of other summer vegetables, really love being overhead watered. Years ago, we used to grow cabbage on plastic with drip. Since switching to bare ground, we have seen fabulous yields if the cabbage gets the water it needs when it first starts to head. On our farm, we prefer to use PVC Watergate pipe that will easily bend around contours. Aluminum pipes, however, have the advantage of being more secure under pressure. We will place a single run of pipes down the middle of an 8-row field. The pipes are 30ft long and use a Nelson rotator head, which has a superior spray pattern and is less prone to clogging compared to impact heads. We haven’t played around with water reels on our farm but I’m sure

they would work well. How much water is needed, if any, is difficult to prescribe and highly dependent on climactic conditions. Discontinue water on broccoli as soon as it starts to head to avoid rot caused by water pooling on the crown. We also like to foliar feed our fall brassicas and will begin to do so after they have taken root. This is also a good time to start spraying on a weekly basis for cabbage looper. Foliar feeding is more about stimulating plants and their immune system than trying to push NPK numbers. We like to use humic acids, soluble seaweed, fermented microbes, chelated trace minerals, and liquid fish. You will be surprised at how little ingredients you need to make an impact. It costs us about $12/acre in materials each time we spray. If spraying for cabbage looper, include DiPel or Javelin in the tank mix. We generally try to spray our brassica fields on a weekly basis until harvest begins.

Are you interested in using any materials mentioned in this article? As always, be sure to check with PCO prior to using ANY materials to ensure that they are allowed for usage in your particular application. PCO members can reference the 2017 Annual PCO Approved Materials List and upcoming 2017 Add/Drop Lists for allowed materials as well as the applicable restrictions. You can also call the PCO Materials Team at 814-422-0251.

Will Brownback is a second-generation farmer, who with his parents and brother, operates 225-acre Spiral Path Organic Farm in Perry County, PA. The farm has been certified organic since 1994 and produces a wide variety of certified organic vegetables, herbs and annual fruits. Spiral Path Farm is committed to farming practices which protect and nurture the soil, while providing healthy, farmfresh produce.

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FarmFest 2017 — Be A Part of It! Engaging the community with organic education and fun family activities

FarmFest is a fun, community-building event that fosters knowledge of organic agriculture and sustainable living through educational opportunities, local foods, lively entertainment and interactive family activities. Pennsylvania Certified Organic (PCO) announces the Pennsylvania Organic FarmFest, back for its 6th year, July 28 and 29, 2017, at the Grange Fairgrounds in Centre Hall. Join us as we celebrate the ever-growing organic community through inspiring speakers, organic farmer awards, family activities, educational workshops and demonstrations, parades, hayrides, live music, dance and of course, organic food! This free event is great for the entire family. “Pennsylvania Organic FarmFest celebrates our state’s rich organic heritage, which began more then 75 years ago when J.I. Rodale first used the term ‘organic’ to describe natural alternatives to chemical farming,” says Leslie Zuck, Executive Director of Pennsylvania Certified Organic. “Pennsylvania now ranks in the top ten in organic production thanks to generations of family farmers dedicated to producing healthy, delicious food for their families and communities.” I Organic Education

I Book Nook

The educational sessions this year promise to bring insight and inspiration on organic and sustainable living, with special tracks for farmers, backyard gardeners, and community members. Specific educational topics and inspiring speakers will be announced soon!

Book Nook features an opportunity to meet local and national authors in a casual setting. Hear writers read excerpts from their books, and tell their own stories related to health and well being.

I Family Arena

A main focal point of the festival, the Family Arena offers live entertainment, hands-on activities, and learning opportunities for children and adults alike. Family friendly festivities slated for this year’s event include a farm animal petting zoo, nature based art projects, a children’s parade, haystack jumping, a kids’ concert and more! I Homemade & Homegrown Market

A main staple of FarmFest is the Homemade & Homegrown Market, which includes the wildly popular Organic Food Court, with a variety of regional food trucks and vendors using organic and local whole food ingredients for their entire menu. The Market also includes unique craft vendors and farmers market vendors. I Wool Village

Find your favorite fiber vendors — spinners, weavers, knitters, and retailers — at the Wool Village. The village also features a number of demos, including spinning, felting, knitting, kids activities, and more.


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I Calling All Contestants

Friends and Famers Cooperative will be back with the deliciously popular pie contest. Get out your apron and dust off your recipe box! Or, if you don’t want to bake a pie, you can be the judge by eating pie. Organic produce contests are back this year and include vegetables, fruit, flowers and baked goods. Photographers are encouraged to enter their organic farm and foodrelated pictures in our calendar photo contest. I FarmFest 5K and Fun Run

On Saturday the FarmFest 5K and Fun Run has always been a great way to wake up and get ready for a full day at FarmFest! Both courses take runners through the extensive, scenic Grange Fairgrounds. Register now to run the FarmFest 5K or Fun Run at I Camping, bikes, pets welcome

The famous Grange Fair tents will be set up for campers or you can bring your own tent or RV. There’s plenty of space for kids and adults to bicycle around the fairgrounds and your well-behaved family pets are invited, too! Bring your water bottle, coffee mug and shopping bags — FarmFest is (of course) a “zero waste” event.

PA Organic FarmFest Offers Special Deals for Sponsors and Vendors Looking for an opportunity to engage your customers or members? Consider partnering with PCO to be a part of our great event.

Sponsorship Opportunities

EVERY sponsor receives a base package of: • An indoor 10’x10’ exhibit space • Recognition in PCO’s e-news • Listing with link on the FarmFest website • Access to the hospitality tent I Sun Sponsor ($1,500) — base package, plus your company’s brand associated with a major FarmFest area. Contact us for current availability, including Exhibit Hall, Food Court, Keynote Speakers, Media Package and more. Includes 1/4 -page Organic Matters ad and a PCO Business Membership. I Soil Sponsor ($1,000) — base package, plus your company’s brand associated with an event/area/band of your choice. Contact us for current availability, including bands, Landscaping Plants, Art Show, Natural Health Symposium and more. Includes 1/4 -page Organic Matters ad and a PCO Business Membership. I Water Sponsor ($500–$999) — base package, plus festival banner sponsored in your name and 1/8 -page Organic Matters ad. I Seed Sponsor ($250) — includes base package.

Vendor/Exhibitor Opportunities

I Food Court Vendors — Tempt hungry festival goes with your made to eat on-site food items at a 10’x20’ space at the outdoor Organic Food Court. • Food Court Space: $100 deposit, plus 10% of sales I Craft & Farm Vendors — Farmers: market your business, sell your farm products and advertise your CSA and farmers market hours. Artists: display, sell and demonstrate your artisan crafts. Reserve your space at the Homemade & Homegrown Market! • Outdoor Market Space: $40 • Indoor Market Space: $50 I Commercial Vendors — Sell your wares and get your name in front of your target audience with a 10’x10’ booth in our Exhibit Hall or outdoors. • Outdoor Commercial Space: $75 • Indoor Commercial Space: $100

Other Options to Consider

I Contribute to the Silent Auction Increase your company or organizations’s visibility when you donate items or services to the Silent Auction, coordinated by our partners at GMO-Free PA. I Make an In-Kind Contribution FarmFest welcomes contributions of advertising, organic foods, festival equipment, expertise, etc. in exchange for equal value of sponsorship.

For More Information Contact 814-422-0251 Sign up for FarmFest mailing list on website!

I Non-Profit Organizations — Get the word out about your organization, reach out to potential members, increase your mailing list and sell your organizational merchandise at a 10’x10’ booth. Non-profit Exhibitor Space: 25% discount on commercial vendor spaces

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PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE Cliff Hawbaker, PCO Advisory Board President Spring is a wonderful time of year. We experience a rejuvenation of life in the soil and all forms of livestock. Spring is also a time of refreshment and new beginnings to explore the future. As President of the PCO Board, I feel a sense of spring within the Board, management and staff. We went through a strategic planning process in charting the future of PCO, focusing on engaging with members, meeting members’ needs, and improving the member experience with PCO. As PCO moves forward, the Board, management and staff, are committed to “ONE PCO” where everyone is giving of their talents and services to the betterment of PCO. A big THANK YOU to management and staff for all their effort and labor that has been given to making PCO great. As President of the PCO Board I count it a privilege to be part of a board team looking and planning for the future of PCO. To all members, may you succeed in your new beginnings.

PCO Welcomes New Board Members Seasoned and transitioning organic producers, extension educators, and industry professional join PCO Advisory Board Preston Boop

Kristy Borrelli

Briar Patch Organic Farm, PCO-certified, Mifflinburg, PA

Penn State University, University Park, PA

Preston has been farming for more than 40 years. He is currently a producer of certified organic broilers and organic hay. He is also a beekeeper and has been involved for several years in a multicounty project to strengthen the genetic survival of the honeybee. Preston was the president of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) board of directors from 1992–2000. He represented the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the Organic Crop Improvement Association at three International General Membership meetings in the 1990s. Preston served as Vice President of the PCO board of directors in the mid 1990s. He is currently an elected Union County Commissioner and has served on the board of directors for the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania. Since it has been a long time since Preston has directly contributed to the organic certification program / community, he feels it is time to step up and do his part in securing the future of organic agriculture.


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Kristy grew up on a small family beef and poultry farm in Upstate New York and pursued formal education in sustainable agriculture on the east and west coasts. Kristy serves as the Sustainable Agriculture Extension Educator and the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NE SARE) Coordinator for Pennsylvania at Penn State University. Kristy’s professional interests focus on diversifying cropping systems to manage soil fertility and plant nutrients in order to maintain soil and water quality. Her goal is to make sciencebased information about agro-ecosystems and value-added crop enterprises accessible. Kristy is also enthusiastic about improving knowledge about food production and human nutrition in rural and urban communities. Diana DeVito Midvalley Organics, Lake Ariel, PA

Diana was an educator for the New York City Department of Education, where she served in several capacities including sci-

ence teacher, guidance counselor, principal, and district administrator. Having grown her own food for ten years, Diana recently purchased property in Lake Ariel, PA, and is now operating as Mid-Valley Organics, Inc. Diana’s farm is in year two of transitioning to organic. Diana is interested in playing a role in creating systems that support the integrity of the organic seal. She recognizes that board members play an integral part in supporting PCO’s mission while ensuring financial health and sustainability. Diana looks forward to serving in such a role and thus encouraging the growth of the important organic industry. Beth Gugino Penn State University, University Park, PA

Beth has twelve years of extension and research experience in vegetable cropping systems. Her extension and adaptive research program focuses on the identification, epidemiology and management of important and emerging diseases

of major vegetable crops in Pennsylvania and the Northeast region. She received her B.S. in Horticulture and M.S. and Ph.D. in Plant Pathology at Penn State. Before returning to Penn State in 2008, she was a post-doc at Cornell working with vegetable crops and soil health for four years. Beth is actively engaged with vegetable industry stakeholders across the state and has served in leadership roles with her Penn State Extension team as well as the Northeast Division of the American Phytopathological Society. She is also very engaged with mentoring graduate students and is currently serving as the Director of the Plant Pathology Graduate Program. Joe Miller Trickling Springs Creamery, PCO-certified, Newville, PA

Joe started in the workplace at a produce and hog farm when he was 14 years old. Since then, much of his work and personal life has centered on food, farming and production. In 2001 Joe

joined a fledgling creamery that his Dad co-founded with one of the current owners of Trickling Springs Creamery. He left Trickling Springs in 2003 but returned in 2009 to help grow and support its wholesale division. Trickling Springs has grown and today products are sold from Connecticut to Florida and in areas of the Mid-west and West. Joe believes that organic food production is one of the primary steps toward a more sustainable environmental system and he hopes to offer his passion and experience to play a role in PCO’s growth and continuance. Mike Spangler Global Natural LLC, Grasonville, MD

Mike Spangler was raised in the small town of New Freedom, PA. While Mike did not grow up on a farm, his parents owned a Nursery and Garden Center and Mike worked for the farmer that tended the land. This experience established Mike’s interest in agriculture and in 1996 he started studying at Penn State University focused on an Agricul-

tural Business Management degree. Upon completion, and for the next 17 years, Mike worked for various agricultural companies such as Perdue AgriBusiness, Lansing Trade Group, and Cargill Animal Nutrition. Mike held manager/director positions in grain trading, handling, processing, and business development. Mike is currently a partner at Global Natural, LLC. Incumbent board members include Christie Badger, Independent Organic Inspector; Robert Eberly; Tina Ellor, Phillips Mushroom Farms; Dave Hartman, Penn State Extension; Ronald Hoover, Penn State University; Luke Howard, Homestead Farms, Inc.; Tim Joseph, Maple Hill Creamery; Michael Ranck, Charvin Organic Farm; and Tony Ricci, Green Heron Farm. PCO values a diverse board that supports the mission of PCO and represents the membership by having a balance of interests. Board members are elected for a 3-year term and are eligible to serve a total of two consecutive terms. To learn more about our current board members, or to nominate a future board member, visit

Organic Matters

Spring 2017


Dear Aggy, I just signed up to become certified with PCO, and I was excited to receive PCO’s List of Approved Materials. Are these the only products I’m allowed to use? I was ready to place an order with one of my suppliers, but we could not find the product on your list, even though he was convinced his product was already reviewed by PCO. — Elam S.

Dear Elam S. PCO’s Materials Review Team’s goal is to make sure everything you’re using in your organic operation is in compliance with the National Organic Program. Materials that you would like to use in your operation can be submitted for a compliance review anytime — details follow.






Material Review



DEAR AGGY — Readers’Letters

1 6 87

The PCO Approved Materials List PCO clients receive an annual PCO Approved Materials List as a reference, available in either paper or digital versions. Throughout the year, PCO will also provide Add/Drop Lists to indicate new materials being added, or materials being removed from the Approved List. These Add/Drop lists will be sent to our clients via mail or email and should be used together with the annual Approved Materials List. Our published Approved Materials List only includes some of the many materials that are currently approved for use. It does not list custom mixes (such as custom fertilizer or dairy mineral mixes), certified organic products, materials that are already listed by OMRI (Organic Material Review Institute, or WSDA (Washington State Department of Agriculture Organic Program,, or fertilizers approved as organic input materials by CDFA (California Department of Food and Agriculture, Some materials that we have reviewed may also be omitted from the list if they are considered confidential to a particular operation. continued on page 16

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Dear Aggy — Material Review continued from page 15

So, to find out if a material is approved for use in organic production you may need to check in a few places. First, check PCO’s Annual Approved Materials List and check all of our Add/Drop Lists from the current year. In past years, PCO has published one Add/Drop list per year in July, but this year we intend to publish three — one in April, one in July, and one in October. If the material you want to use isn’t on these lists, check the OMRI, WSDA, and CDFA lists. You can request a paper copy of these lists from PCO if you are unable to access their websites. If you don’t see the material on any of these lists, you can submit the product for a PCO compliance review. After the original compliance review, materials will generally stay on the list for three years. Updated reviews will be performed only when we encounter continued use of these materials — so if no one is using a material, it will be dropped from our list after three years. Submitting Products for PCO Compliance Review If you have a product that you’re interested in using, feel free to call PCO and speak to your Certification Specialist or someone on the Materials Review Team. If you have internet access, you can directly and easily request a materials review through the website at You can even directly upload labels as part of the on-line review request.


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Remember, when submitting a product for review, the following information really makes things go a LOT FASTER: • What do you want to use it for? • Do you need to use it right away, or is this something you’d like to try out later in the season? • What is the correct product name? • Who is the manufacturer listed on the label? • Contact information for manufacturer. • Ideally — We love to get a copy of the label. — Aggy

Got a question for Aggy? • Email to: • Fax to: 814-422-0255


What to Expect at Your Organic Inspection How to cut costs and better prepare for your on-site audit

Ashley Green, Certification Specialist and Inspector

As a seasoned inspector, I have heard from many new clients that the anticipation of their first organic inspection is stressful, in part due to some uncertainty of what to expect from the experience. Every certified organic operation is required to have an annual on-site audit with an inspector. The inspector’s role is to verify the Organic System Plan (OSP) for the operation through interview-style conversation, on-site observations and verification of records. By reviewing and adhering to the following suggestions, an organic client (new or continuing) can be better prepared for their on-site evaluation, can control the cost of the inspection, and can ensure a more efficient inspection. Before your inspection There are several steps that an operation can take to reduce potential costs and time associated with an inspection. n Organic System Plan (OSP) –— The OSP is the central docu-

ment of your organic certification. The PCO office requires its submission before your operation will be assigned an inspector. The certification office verifies your OSP for completeness. Occasionally the certification office will ask an inspector to verify portions of the OSP that are unclear, or are potential violations of the organic standards during the on-site audit. Submitting an

accurate and thorough OSP will reduce the inspection time needed to make any updates and corrections to these documents. n Scheduling — An inspector will contact you to coordinate an inspection date and time. Being flexible with scheduling will allow an inspector to group several inspections, reducing travel costs and the overall cost of the inspection visit. Communicate early with your inspector if there are any potential conflicts. Continued cancellation of your inspections or on-going failure to respond to your inspector’s scheduling requests could lead to a compliance issue. Please contact PCO to communicate if you have an extenuating circumstance. n Preparation — Communicate with your inspector while set-

ting up an inspection date. Ask them what records you can prepare to have available for the audit. If you have off-site locations, discuss this with your inspector and confirm that you both have accounted for transportation and time to visit these locations. Communicate with your staff (including any managers or owners that need to be present for the inspection) to be sure that they have been informed of the scheduled inspection date. Review your records and be sure that the appropriate records are on site for the inspection (not with a bookkeeper or accountant). n Biosecurity — If your operation has biosecurity protocols,

communicate these to your inspector prior to the inspection. continued on page 18

PCO inspectors at the March Inspectors Meeting held at PCO office in Spring Mills, PA. Front Row (w/poster): Heather Donald, Emily Newman, Al Johnson, Thomas Forrest Second Row: Alvie Fourness, Rachel Myers, Jean Richardson, Jim Pierce, Ariel Herrod, Liz Amos Back Row: Brian Magaro, Christopher Warren-Smith, Ashley Green, Craig Shroyer, David Bingaman Not pictured: Nell Hanssen

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What to Expect from Your Organic Inspection continued from page17

During your inspection: Your inspector’s role is not to make certification decisions, to consult with you on any identified barriers to certification, or to discuss the industry or other operations with you. The inspector’s role is to verify your on-farm practices with those reported in your OSP and provide a detailed report of these observations and potential issues of compliance to the certifier. On the day of your inspection, ensure that you can devote the time and attention needed to your inspection. Try to limit or plan for distractions such as phone calls or on-site customers that need your personal attention. Your inspector should begin your inspection with an introductory conversation that will outline the agenda for the day’s inspection. Communicate any changes such as new fields or production locations, new products, or any potential questions that you may have at this time. Stay focused and on-topic during the inspection; each inspector will have their own style and flow. Use details, clear information, and records to explain how your practices are compliant with the organic regulations. Plan to provide a space for the inspector to work when verifying your audit trail and other records; this space may be an office, kitchen table, tailgate (weather permitting) or other comparable area.

After visiting all production sites and reviewing your records, your inspector will conduct an exit interview. This interview will summarize potential compliance issues that came up during the inspection, resolutions to issues noted during your initial review, and confirmation of resolutions from previous compliance issues (if applicable). As noted previously, your inspector is not responsible for any certification decisions. Your inspector will submit their report to the PCO office for final review. After your inspection After your inspector has submitted the report, the PCO office is the main contact for any updates, questions, or additional materials that you wish to submit. The PCO office will notify you of their final certification decision and if any additional information or records are requested. The PCO office will try to assign inspectors based on geographic region, which may lead to you having the same inspector more than once. Producer feedback on the inspection experience is encouraged, as this helps your certifier ensure professionalism and provide professional growth for inspectors. In summary, good record keeping and communication are key for a successful on-site inspection. Best of luck with your coming season! And, don’t hesitate to reach out to PCO with any questions or concerns as you prepare for your inspection!

Natural Dairy Products Corporation 316 Markus Court Newark, DE 19713 ph 302-455-1261 fx 302-455-1262

Natural Dairy Products Corp. was founded in 1995 as a family owned and operated organization producing organic dairy products under the Natural By Nature brand name. Natural By Nature organic dairy products are produced with great care and distributed nationwide. For more information on our program, please call us at 302-455-1261.


Organic Matters

Spring 2017

Organic Updates

Certification Update Marissa Pyle, Certification Program Manager It feels like I was just writing my very first “certification update” article not too long ago, but, nearly a year has passed since then, and I’ve served as the Certification Program Manager for a year and a half! Time sure flies when you’re having fun. There were definitely some great successes — we’ve fully transitioned into our new database and paperwork system, we’ve grown by leaps and bounds, and hired even more wonderful new staff. There were some challenges too — learning the database, making sure all of our members received inspections and certification reports in a timely manner, and completing our first annual update cycle in the new database for 2017. Speaking of the annual update for 2017 — if you’re reading this and haven’t turned in your paperwork yet, maybe this can serve as another reminder. Non-compliances have been or will be issued for anyone that has not yet turned in the 2017 annual update (that was due on March 1). As a reminder: Once a noncompliance is issued, you have approximately 30 days to submit what is requested on the Notice of Non-compliance, until a Notice of Proposed Suspension (NoPS) is issued. A notification of proposed suspension is relatively serious, and could impact your certification.


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Please be aware that once a notification of proposed suspension is issued, you are no longer permitted to submit your Annual update paperwork to correct the issue. At this point of the process, we cannot accept your paperwork as a response. As outlined in 205.662(c), your options once a NoPS is issued are to a.) appeal to the NOP or b.) request mediation. Both options take time and could involve additional costs. This process is similar for other items that become past due, such as fees. As a reminder, once a fee becomes over 60 days past due, a notification of non-compliance is issued. The basic certification fee of $695 (if not yet paid) will be reaching the 60 days past due deadline very soon. We will work to send out reminders and courtesy calls/emails in advance so no one is taken by surprise. To wrap up, I highly encourage anyone with issues or questions to reach out to their certification specialist, who is there to help you. If you haven’t completed your annual update yet — we accept them via phone too, so call & set up an appointment! Any way we can help you, please let us know. I look forward to another year of working together!


Organic Updates

Legislative Update Kyla Smith, Program Director

USDA Publishes Organic Research, Promotion and Information Program Proposed Rule The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sought comments on a proposal for a new research and promotion program. Research and promotion (R&P) programs that are industry-funded are designed to empower agricultural industries with a framework to pool resources and combine efforts to develop new markets, strengthen existing markets, and conduct important research and promotion activities. The proposed Organic Research, Promotion, and Information Order specifically would provide research and key tools to encourage more farmers to go organic and help all organic farmers be more successful. It will educate consumers in a positive way about what the organic seal really means. The program estimates over $30 million a year will be generated to spend on research to make farmers successful, technical services to accelerate the adoption of organic practices, and consumer education and promotion of the organic brand. To fund this program certified domestic producers, certified handlers and importers of organic products making more than

$250,000 in gross organic sales annually would be assessed one tenth of one percent of net organic sales (i.e. total organic sales minus the cost of goods). USDA would provide oversight, paid for by industry assessments, which helps ensure fiscal responsibility, program efficiency and fair treatment of participating stakeholders The program would cover certified organic products and would include a range of agricultural commodities, such as fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, poultry, breads, grains, snack foods, condiments, beverages, and packaged and prepared foods. It would also include non-food items, such as textiles, personal care products, pet food, and flowers. Organic imports — both those certified under the USDA organic regulations and those entering the U.S. under an organic equivalency arrangement — would also be covered. The next steps in this process are outlined below: • Based on public comments, USDA may: – issue final proposed rule and announce referendum; – issue supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking; or – terminate the proceedings. • If USDA determines that a proposed rule is supported, USDA would conduct a referendum among eligible certificate continued on page 22

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Organic Updates

continued from page 21

holders to determine if a majority of the industry supports a program. • If the program is approved by industry voters, USDA will publish a final rule to implement the program. If the referendum fails, the rulemaking proceeding would be terminated. For more detailed information on this proposed rule a Fact Sheet is available on the USDA’s website at the following link,, or in hard copy by contacting the PCO office.

Sonny Perdue nominated for Secretary of Agriculture Former Georgia Republican Governor Sonny Perdue has been nominated for Agriculture Secretary. Perdue served two terms, from 2003 to 2011, as Governor of Georgia. Perdue is a doctor of veterinary medicine, grew up on a row crop farm in Central Georgia, and currently owns several agriculture-related businesses. He also was a member of President Donald Trump’s agricultural advisory committee. Perdue’s confirmation hearing is likely to occur this spring.

• Quantum Blue 40 OP by AB Vista Feed Ingredients prohibited as a feed additive/supplement • Sacco Lactic by Mill Creek Consulting prohibited as a feed additive/supplement • Yea Sacc 1026 by Alltech, Inc., prohibited as a feed additive/supplement • Asti Derm 10 Teat Dip / Spray by AST, Inc. prohibited as a medical treatment • Dairy Pro Endure Teat Dip by WestfaliaSurge / GEA Farm Tech prohibited as a medical treatment • Fight Strong for Uterine Balance by Ralco Nutrition, Inc., prohibited as a medical treatment • Fresh Cow YMCP Paste by Fisher & Thompson prohibited as a medical treatment • Fresh Cow YMCP Paste by TechMix, Inc., prohibited as a medical treatment • T 502 Teat Dip by Thatcher Company of New York prohibited as a medical treatment • Teat Kote 10 / III by WestfaliaSurge / GEA Farm Tech prohibited as a medical treatment • Uddermint by EcoLab, Inc. Tiesen Products prohibited as a medical treatment

Materials Update Jennifer Berkebile, Materials Program Manager

Material Review Status Changes Status changes: Please note the following status changes for materials reviewed by PCO for use by certified operations. n ALLOWED — Contact PCO with any questions about the use or restrictions for these products. Livestock Materials • Limestone 16 Mesh by York Ag Products allowed as a feed additive/supplement n PROHIBITED — Operators must immediately discontinue use of these products unless otherwise indicated. Crop Materials • Bulls Eye BioInsecticide by Gardens Alive prohibited as invertebrate pest control • Golden Pest Spray Oil by Stoller Enterprises, Inc., prohibited as invertebrate pest control • InterLock by Winfield Solutions prohibited as a crop production aid Livestock Materials • Organic Poultry Pac #1 by Prevent Distributors prohibited as a feed additive/supplement • Quantum Blue 5 OP by AB Vista Feed Ingredients prohibited as a feed additive/supplement


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Spring 2017

Processing Materials • Morton Iodized Salt by Morton Salt, Inc. prohibited as a nonorganic ingredient Contact the PCO Materials Team at 814-422-0251 with any questions.

Standards & Policy Update Kyla Smith, Program Director

Attention: Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Final Rule Effective Date Delayed The U.S. Department of Agriculture is delaying the effective date of the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule by 60 days to May 19, 2017. This delay is to ensure the new administration has an opportunity to review this rule, in accordance with the January 20, 2017 Memorandum entitled, “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review.” This memo directs agencies to extend the effective date of rules that have been published but have yet to take effect. The Final Rule outlines new provisions for mammalian livestock handling and transport for slaughter and avian living conditions, and expands and clarifies existing requirements covering livestock health care practices and mammalian living conditions. A brief summary of the final rule was included in a mailing PCO distributed in early February. Full text of the final rule is available upon request by contacting the PCO office or online here:

USDA Delays Import Certificate Requirement The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Mexico’s National Service for Animal and Plant Health, Food Safety and Quality (SENASICA) are committed to increasing transparency and strengthening monitoring and enforcement controls for organic products traded between the two countries. As such, USDA and SENASICA established an agreement requiring the use of import certificates. The USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) hosted webinars for certifying agents and importers to help them understand the new agreement between USDA and SENASICA. However during the webinars, it was announced that the implementation of import requirements, expected for January 16, 2017 would be delayed into the near future. USDA will notify all stakeholders once the new effective date has been determined. NOP is committed to providing additional discussions, webinars and guidance as it works through the many questions raised from the webinars hosted earlier this year. There are several resources to assist stakeholders on the NOP’s website at the following link, services/organic-certification/international-trade-mexico, or by contacting the PCO office.


Do you shop online at Amazon? You can support PCO at the same time through a program called AmazonSmile! All natural and organic acceptable livestock supplements, fertilizers and soil amendments.

The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to PCO at no adiitional cost to you. To shop at AmazonSmile simply go to from your web browser. Then select “Pennsylvania Certified Organic” using your existing account. You may also want to add a bookmark to to make it easy to return and start your shopping and supporting!

The Fertrell Company • 800-347-1566 •

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Spring 2017


Organic Marketplace CROPS Dairy quality Organic baleage, corn & Organic soybeans. OEFFA Certified. Forage test results available, we can do local deliveries. We custom dry and store Organic grain. Call 570-412-1392. Union County. Baleage, dry hay in round bales. Delivery available. Contact Ned Fogleman 717-994-4630. Juniata County. Organic hay for sale. 3x3x8 square bales. Contact Richard Kauffman for pricing and delivery: 570.367.6509. Bradford County.

Box 361, 119 Hamilton Place Penn Yan, NY 14527 October 25 315-531-1038 Annville, PA

FOR SALE 17 week old ready to lay pullets. Certified organic brown egg laying hybrids. Available for pick up in Hughesville, Pennsylvania in mid June. 570–713–9282 or email Lycoming County. Rake tedder. New Holland 255. In good condition. All offers considered. Contact: 717- 808-1402. Lancaster County.

Certified Organic Feed, Seed & Livestock Products from Northeast organic farmers for Northeast organic farmers ❖

SERVICES Manure management plans, Ag erosion and settlement plans, manure brokering, and nutrient management planning. Government certified. Contact Ned Fogleman. 717-994-4630. Juniata County. Ag plastic recycling. I can use black and white bunker covers, bale wrap, plastic twine, clear stretch film, greenhouse covers, flats, and pots. Call for details. 717-658-9660. Franklin County, PA.


Advertise in Organic Matters Organic Matters is the quarterly newsletter of Pennsylvania Certified Organic, a non-profit organization serving growers, processors and handlers of organic products. Issues contain articles on the latest news and research in the organic industry, often highlighting our certified members. Approximately 1,500 copies of each publication are distributed directly to members and those requesting information about organic agriculture, and made available to the public at conferences, exhibits and educational programs in the Mid-Atlantic region.


Ad size


4 Issue Sub.*

Dimensions (in)



Full Page



Half Page



7 µ 4.5 (horizontal) 3.25 µ 8.75 (vertical)

Quarter Page



3.25 µ 4.5 (vertical)



3.25 µ 2.25 (horizontal)

Back cover (in color)

Eighth Page

8.5 µ 9 8 µ 10

* Includes a complimentary full-color calendar ad. The above rates refer to a single-issue ad placement and a subscription for ad placement in four consecutive issues. A 15% discount is granted for the purchase of the 4-issue subscription. For more information, please contact or call the PCO Office at 814-422-0251.


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Spring 2017

PCO Welcomes 1st Quarter New Members! NEWLY CERTIFIED MEMBERS

Gerald Hursh


Snow Creek Farms, LLC

Henry L. Stoltzfus

Ultra Dairy LLC

Alderfer’s Poultry Farm Inc.

Dutch Country Organics

Perdue AgriBusiness, Inc.

Maple Hill Creamery, LLC

East Syracuse, NY

Lititz, PA

Shipshewana, IN

Statesville, NC

Ovid, NY

Givaudan Flavors Corp.

Melvin Troyer

Hidden Camp Farm

Cranbury, NJ

Reynoldsville, PA

Southern Meadows Farm

Global Natural, LLC

Millcreek Farm

Grasonville, MD

Homer City, PA

Windy Knoll Farm Abner S. Fisher Mill Hall, PA

Falconer, NY

Canajoharie, NY

Nathalie, VA

Amos E. Stoltzfus Christiana, PA

Jason K. Zimmerman Stoltzfoos Layers

Mifflinburg, PA


Gap, PA

Byler Family Farm Nathalie, VA

Carversville Farm Foundation

Grassland Beef, LLC dba: US Wellness Meats

Mitsui Foods, Inc

Canton, MO

Saxton, PA

Norwood, NJ

Lewis & Doris Martin Swatara View Farm

Ephraim Beiler

Mountain Spring Farm Triple M Farm Nathalie, VA

Green Grinds LLC

Phares Swarey

Mason Neck, VA

Tyrone, PA

Ronks, PA

Chris Willhide Laurel Grove Farms

Moore Farms

Jared Yoder Wilford Heater

Nello’s Specialty Meats

Millerton, PA

Nazareth, PA

Kevin Caldwell

Rachel Kauffman Alderfer’s Poultry Farm Inc.

Woodsview Poultry

Pine Hill Farm

New Holland, PA

Loganton, PA

Dutch Country Organics

Falconer, NY

James R. Lapp

Ray-Chels Farm

Railview Farm

Annville, PA

Ephrata, PA

Dundee, NY

Trickling Springs Creamery, LLC

Wesley Winterstein

Jehovah-Jireh Farm

Reiff Farm

Fairplay, MD

Sudlersville, MD

Dickerson, MD

Pete & Gerry’s Organics, LLC

Rudy A. Byler

Jonas R. Zeiset

Brushton, NY

Falconer, NY


Shetler’s Farm

Emelie Swackhammer

Gouverneur, NY

Macungie, PA

Alderfer’s Poultry Farm Inc.

Costley Dairy Farm Knoxville, PA

Belleville, PA

Alderfer’s Poultry Farm Inc.


Lewisburg, PA

Risser’s Poultry Daniel Rhodes Kalmbach Feeds, Inc.

Joseph Skurski

Frankfort, OH

Starrucca, PA

Deer Creek Poultry

Lavern Kauffman

Pete & Gerry’s Organics, LLC

Laurel Grove Farms

Millerstown, PA

North Bangor, NY

Lititz, PA

Bricker Dairy Panama, NY

Sam F. Stoltzfus Alderfer’s Poultry Farm Inc.

Sugar Hill Farm Curvin Eby

Samantha Pinkowski

Williamsport, PA

St. Marys, PA

Buffalo, NY

Samuel B. Byler

Green Acres Farmstead Trickling Springs Creamery, LLC

Sunrise Acres

Benuel J. Stoltzfus

Reynoldsville, PA

Hagerstown, MD

Maple Hill Creamery, LLC

Lowville, NY

Eli Petersheim

Linford & Jennifer Hershey

Savor Street Foods, Inc.

Grobelny Family Farms

Kalmbach Feeds, Inc.

BJE Farms

Reading, PA

Moravia, NY

Fredericktown, OH

Christiana, PA

Shadey Creek

Harvey Kempf

Flaming Maple Farm

M & W Dairy

Kalmbach Feeds, Inc. (MPK)

Maple Hill Farm

Thorn Rose Farm

Columbia, PA

Antwerp, NY

Goshen, IN

Falconer, NY

Fillmore, NY

Pie Contest

Beaver Falls, PA

Matthew Bomgardner

Middlebury, IN

Loganton, PA

Kirkwood, PA

Nichols, NY

Jacob Stoltzfus

Duncannon, PA

Christ Kauffman

Mohrsville, PA

Penn Yan, NY

Myerstown, PA

Carversville, PA

Cherry Lane Organics

Andrew Smyer

Fort Plain, NY

Johnathan Swarey Swampy Rock Farm II

Belleville, PA

Boonville, NY

Organic Produce Contest

Lindsay Richardson Saratoga Springs, NY

Calendar Photo Contest

Calling All Contestants! Friends and Farmers Cooperative will be back with the wildly popular pie contest. Get out your apron and dust off your recipe box! Or, if you don’t want to bake a pie, you can be the judge by eating pie. Organic produce contests are new this year and include vegetables, fruit, flowers and baked goods. Photographers are encouraged to enter their organic farm and food-related pics in our calendar photo contest. Visit or call 814-422-0251 to learn more!

Organic Matters

Spring 2017



Organic Matters


Spring 2017

Calendar APRIL April 8, 10am–2pm Tomato Grafting Rodale Institute, Kutztown, PA, 610-683-1400 April 14 Good Friday — PCO Office Closed

MAY May 6, 1–4pm Pastured Hog Production Rodale Institute, Kutztown, PA, 610-683-1400 May 17, 11am–2pm PASA Farmer-to-Farmer Exchange Event PCO-certified Kauffman Organic Dairy Farm Ulster, PA, 215-804-4731 May 29 Memorial Day — PCO Office Closed

JUNE June 17, 3–6pm Pasture Walk Rodale Institute, Kutztown, PA, 610-683-1400


Organic Matters

Spring 2017


Membership/Certification Order Form Contact Information Name





Use postal mail for:



Organic Matters



Use my email for:




Organic Matters


Transitioning Farmer ....................................... $200*

Advocate Member ............................................... $50

Receive Sustainer Membership benefits plus: phone access to certification specialist to answer all your transition questions, application and paperwork review, materials lists and guidance, and more. * Farm visit available upon request at additional cost.

Receives Organic Matters newsletter, workshop notices, discounts on PCO materials, invitations to meetings, and one free 30-word classified in Organic Matters per issue.

New Applicant ................................................ $100** New applicants will receive the following: PCO Certification Manual, NOP Standards Manual, PCO Materials List, and OMRI Materials List. ** $100 new applicant fee plus $695 basic certification fee due prior to processing. Please send me applications for the following categories (free): PCO 100% Grassfed Certification

Crops/Produce Dairy/Livestock

PCO Forest Grown Verification

Poultry Mushrooms

Sustainer Member ............................................. $100 Same benefits as the Advocate Member, plus you may request a free copy of the PCO Certification Manual, NOP Standards Manual, PCO Materials List, OMRI Materials List, and Record Keeping Systems. In addition, you may vote on PCO standards and policies. If you decide to apply for certification during your membership year, the $100 New Applicant Fee is waived.

Business Member ............................................... $150 Receives the same benefits as a Sustainer Member, plus a 10% discount on ads in Organic Matters.

Checks: Payable to PCO Pay Online: /orderform Pay via Phone: (814)-422-0251

Gluten Free

Maple Products

Kosher Card No.

On-Farm Processing/ Handling




CVV Code

Exp. Date

Billing ZIP Code

Cardholder Name



2017 PCO Calendar Photo Contest! 2018 PCO would like to showcase your organic farm, and photography skills in our 2018 2017 calendar. We are looking for pictures of your family and farm workers on your organic farm or handling operation, at work or at rest, throughout the seasons. We’ll display all submitted photos at FarmFest for in person voting and prizes. We will accept high-resolution photos via submission on our website, by email, or on a CD. Please submit your entries for the photo contest by July 15, 15 to: 2017 to: Pennsylvania Certified Organic 2017 Calendar Coordinator 2018 106 School Street, Suite 201 • Spring Mills, PA 16875 •


Organic Matters

Spring 2017

2016 Calendar


106 School Street, Suite 201 Spring Mills, PA 16875

Organic Matters Spring 2017  
Organic Matters Spring 2017