Regardless when the federal government goes back to work, the fall meeting of the National Organic Standards Board scheduled for Oct. 22-24 is cancelled because of the shutdown.
Miles McEvoy, deputy administrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program, issued a statement earlier this month warning that if a federal budget was not in place by Oct. 10 the standards board would not meet.
All staff for the National Organic Program staff was furloughed effective Oct. 1, McEvoy’s said in his notice.
“These staff will not be available by phone or e-mail, and cannot carry out work for the agency, until funding is restored. … Staff can’t send meeting cancellation notices. Therefore, if a budget isn’t in place by Oct. 10 the fall 2013 National Organic Standards Board meeting will be cancelled,” according to the statement.
The meeting agenda included discussion on what some organic growers say are controversial proposals to change rules about synthetic and non-organic materials used in organic production.
McEvoy did not indicate if the meeting would be rescheduled or if the standards board members would wait until their spring meeting to handle the fall meeting agenda items.