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In Feb 2016, the moratorium letter was presented to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, AMS Administrator Elanor Starmer, NOP director Miles MacEvoy, and the NOSB. This letter was signed by 44 organizations representing most of the organic community, as well as 80 of the leading pioneers of the movement. The letter called for a moratorium on any new organic certification of hydroponic production until the NOP came to a final decision on this controversial subject. At this time many certifiers refuse to certify hydroponic. Current USDA position is in direct opposition to OFPA, the 2010 NOSB recommendation, and international standards.
A week later Senator Patrick Leahy, the co-sponsor of the Organic Food Production Act, sent a similar letter to Secretary Vilsack. In September of 2016, Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Peter Welch sent yet another letter to Vilsack calling for a moratorium.
Farmers Anais Beddard, Davey Miskell, and Dave Chapman met with USDA Administrator Starmer and Deputy Administrator MacEvoy in April of 2016 to discuss the moratorium. Administrator Starmer told the farmers that she was unable to act on the moratorium. She advised that resolution of the issue would have to take place in the NOP, following a new recommendation from the NOSB. At that same meeting, MacEvoy assured the farmers that the NOP would still be willing to oppose a large economic interest such as the hydroponic lobby if the NOSB gave them a clear signal. He cited the Animal Welfare Reforms as one such example of the NOP opposing a large entrenched position that was not in keeping with real organic standards.
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