Kevin Engelbert is the owner/operator of Engelbert Farms, the first certified organic dairy farm in the U.S., certified since 1984. He farms about 1,800 acres with his wife Lisa. He recently completed a five-year term on the USDA’s National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).
One thing I’ve learned from being on the NOSB is that money always wins. Always. Have a backup plan so that when the NOP makes aquaponics / hydroponics officially approved you will be ready – I would suggest demanding that crops produced with those methods be labeled as such.
Not trying to dissuade you from the fight, and thank you for your efforts, but corrupt politicians control the NOP. Proof? There are far more confinement dairies now than before the Pasture Rule was passed. Far more. The ‘age of enforcement’ is a joke. Given that the NOP already allows some certifiers to get away with certifying hydroponics, there’s no way that will ever be done away with going forward. I hope I’m wrong, but…..
I was one of the old timers who was happy to have the government get involved with certifying, because I was tired of all the discord between certifiers and their varying standards. I thought organic would rise above politics and stay true. I was sadly mistaken.