By Amy Choy | October 22, 2018 12:17:01With the USDA’s new guidelines for organic food, producers are hoping the agency will help them to better prepare for the future.
“It will give us a better understanding of what kind of conditions we are going to be in and how we will protect ourselves from a number of pathogens,” said Steve Wysocki, who oversees the organic agriculture program at the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS).
In the past, organic farmers often had to be wary of some of the pathogens they were trying to control.
But with the new guidelines, they are not so sure anymore.
“It’s going to allow us to really start to do that research and we’re going to know exactly what’s going on, and we can then decide whether to take steps to mitigate that or not,” said Wysocksi.
Wysockyi said the USDA guidelines will help organic producers and processors better understand what they are facing and how they can protect themselves.
They will also help producers better identify which crops to plant and which to leave on the market.
“This will give them an opportunity to do more research and get a better picture of where they’re at with respect to the disease risk, because if they are getting the most protection they are at a higher risk of being sickened,” he said.
There are two main types of pathogens that can be found in organic food: Salmonella and Listeria.
Wyocki said that organic farms are also taking measures to protect themselves against those.
“They’re going on a lot of precautionary measures like limiting their temperature to a certain temperature and not allowing any fresh air or any water to enter their property,” he explained.
“And that will help reduce the likelihood of some diseases being introduced in the future.”
Wysocksis own farm has been growing corn and soybeans for 30 years.
He said that he’s not too worried about the changes coming down the pipe, but he is concerned about the risks that could come from the new regulations.
“I’m concerned about what the impacts will be on our ability to produce that product,” he says.