Perdue needs to tackle mismanagement of organic system

Mischa Popoff

One of the first things Sonny Perdue will have to tackle is gross-mismanagement of America’s organic system at the USDA.

On what basis did Obama’s Deputy Administrator of the USDA’s National Organic Program, Miles McEvoy, manage to triple his budget and staffing levels?

Sonny Perdue is sworn in before testifying at his confirmation hearing Thursday before a Senate committee.

What you need to know: there are only 80 USDA-accredited certifiers, and they employ just 160 organic inspectors in America. This accounts for all oversight of every American organic farm, processor and distributor, including the importation of USDA certified-organic goods from abroad. So, how exactly do 43 federal staffers manage to keep busy watching over just 160 inspectors employed by 80 certifiers?

Then there’s the fact that organic farm acreage flatlined over the last 8 years, while organic food-borne illnesses went up, along with imports of fraudulent organic food from counties like China. Organic imports now account for more than three-quarters of all organic food sales in America. Is that why Obama tripled the organic budget and staffing?

I grew up on an organic grain farm in Saskatchewan and worked for five years as a USDA-contract organic inspector. I now live with my wife and 3 kids down in Texas where I’m working to defend modern, science-based, organic farming right here in America. Sadly, I have not received much help from the USDA over the last 8 years.

Popoff is a former USDA contract organic inspector