Hydroponic and Aquaponic Farms Should Be Eligible for USDA Organic Label!
To the members of the National Organic Standards Board:
We the undersigned urge you to allow hydroponic and aquaponic farms that can meet USDA Organic standards to remain eligible for the USDA Organic label. These farms are eco-efficient and embody the principles of the USDA Organic program. Simply because there is no "dirt" in these farms does not mean they do not contain the very same biological processes that make more traditional in-ground farms a match for USDA Organic certification. Existing law does not require "soil". It only requires the farms improve or not harm soil. Certainly these sustainable farms do this and more to benefit our environment. Further, making another label for hydroponics and aquaponics is not the same as having the USDA Organic label. Consumers are accustomed to the USDA Organic label and will be confused by a new separate label only for hydroponics and aquaponics.
This will also disadvantage hydroponic and aquaponic farmers in the marketplace. Rather than confuse consumers and alienate hydroponic and aquaponic farmers, we request that you help join our U.S. agriculture community and not be short-sighted in your application of the USDA Organic program. All eco-efficient, sustainable farms that can meet the USDA Organic standards should be eligible for the USDA Organic label, including those that use hydroponics and aquaponics.