2018 NOP/ACA Training Recap
A big thank you to everyone who participated in the 2018 NOP/ACA Training in San Antonio, Texas in February. One hundred sixty-nine attendees came from across the United States and from eight additional countries. Feedback from the ACA training indicated that the sessions were useful and the speakers knowledgeable. Attendees also remarked on the quality and usefulness of the presentations from the National Organic Program, and the lively San Antonio venue was a hit.
The ACA’s “Sharing Our Perspectives” sessions, organized by Brenda Book of the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA), has become a perennial favorite, and this year was no different. Participants indicated that interaction with their peers was incredibly valuable and stressed a desire to repeat this at future Annual Trainings.
The ACA panel on “Best Practices for Common Material Review Issues in Crops, Livestock, and Handling” was also seen as a lively and helpful session. This panel consisted of Johanna Mirenda of the Organic Materials Review Institute, Jackie DeMinter of MOSA Certified Organic, Jen Berkebile of Pennsylvania Certified Organic (PCO), and Sam Schaefer-Joel of WSDA. Several attendees requested this session be repeated at future trainings, updated annually with current questions and themes.
Other ACA sessions that were especially timely and well appreciated included “Traceability in the Supply Chain” (Jake Lewin of CCOF Certification Services and Gwendolyn Wyard of the Organic Trade Association) and “International Requirements” (Elise George of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farms Association, Mabell Rivas of Quality Assurance International [QAI], and Timothy Cunningham of USDA-APHIS-PPQ). Participants asked for further training on these topics in the future.
During the NOP Training, six ACA members were awarded for their contributions to the Organic Integrity Database. Recipients included CCOF, Marin Organic Certified Agriculture, New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, OneCert Inc., and Oregon Tilth Certified Organic.
Nearly 40 participants delivered ACA training presentations or were involved in training facilitation or planning. The ACA expresses its appreciation to all who gave their time and expertise, including those who worked behind the scenes to determine training topics. The planning committee consisted of Jackie Sleeper of Oregon Tilth Certified Organic, Kyla Smith of PCO, Beth Rota of Quality Certification Services, Stanley Edwards of QAI, and Brenda Book of WSDA.
We also wish to express gratitude to the USDA National Organic Program for their partnership in putting on the training and for the quality of training material delivered. Also, thank you to the Organic Trade Association for co-hosting our evening reception, which provided attendees with further opportunities to network and share their experiences.