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Date: 02 Apr 2007 09:49:42
From: Danny O'Keefe
Subject: New Organic Inspection Rules
http://royalcoffeenews.blogspot.com/

Here's a link to a letter Bob Fulmer of Royal Coffee wrote on his blog and
has sent to various specialty coffee interests.

Asking small organic farmers to submit to yearly inspections is to basically
kill organic coffee. Please contact your Congresspeople and ask them to help
stop this amendment. It looks to me like the USDA is gaming the field in
favor of big soybean producers at the expense of small growers of both
soybeans and coffee.

D. O'Keefe






 
Date: 05 Apr 2007 11:28:37
From: konapage
Subject: Re: New Organic Inspection Rules
On Apr 5, 1:04 am, "Felix" <felix...@hotmail.com > wrote:
> Dan Bollinger observes:
>
> > I can see how that would increase costs. Not knowing
> > how much certification costs are, we can only assume
> > they are being correct and not exaggerating the effect.
> > Of course, the increased costs would most likely be
> > passed up the supply chain to the consumer. If they
> > want organic bad enough, they'll pay for it.
>
> I agree. Similar situations exist in other markets. For example, some
> people prefer to buy wood that's FSC-certified, while some producers
> find the cost of certification too burdensome. This particular analogy
> isn't very strong, because few (if any) believe that certified wood is
> functionally superior.
>
> We could also revisit the popular analogy between coffee and wine. In
> this case, some consumers and producers definitely believe that
> biodynamic wine tastes better, and the market can bear the cost of
> certification. However, demand for organic wine isn't very great. Some
> producers don't bother to mention their certification on their label,
> and a grower/maker could choose to eschew certification yet charge
> more solely on the basis of taste.
>
> Felix


Aloha,

Just to give so perspective, right now as a Kona coffee farmer, if I
want to sell bulk green beans, 100 pounds or more, I have to pay a
$100 certification fee to the state of Hawaii. This is $100 whether
the amount is 100 pounds or 1,000,000 pounds. So for the small farmer
the cost can become prohibitive.

Further there is now discussion in the legislature to require
certification for green and roasted coffee at the retail level. This
has the potential to add substantial additional costs for the small
farmer and roaster. If I have to pay a fee for each pound of green or
roasted that I sell of course the cost to the consumer goes up. That
said, we are not even organic which likely would be more expensive.

Mahalo,



 
Date: 05 Apr 2007 04:04:13
From: Felix
Subject: Re: New Organic Inspection Rules
Dan Bollinger observes:
> I can see how that would increase costs. Not knowing
> how much certification costs are, we can only assume
> they are being correct and not exaggerating the effect.
> Of course, the increased costs would most likely be
> passed up the supply chain to the consumer. If they
> want organic bad enough, they'll pay for it.

I agree. Similar situations exist in other markets. For example, some
people prefer to buy wood that's FSC-certified, while some producers
find the cost of certification too burdensome. This particular analogy
isn't very strong, because few (if any) believe that certified wood is
functionally superior.

We could also revisit the popular analogy between coffee and wine. In
this case, some consumers and producers definitely believe that
biodynamic wine tastes better, and the market can bear the cost of
certification. However, demand for organic wine isn't very great. Some
producers don't bother to mention their certification on their label,
and a grower/maker could choose to eschew certification yet charge
more solely on the basis of taste.


Felix



 
Date: 04 Apr 2007 18:43:00
From: Steve Ackman
Subject: Re: New Organic Inspection Rules
In <4OmdnchVAoe_qYzbnZ2dnUVZ_uKknZ2d@centurytel.net >, on Mon, 2 Apr
2007 09:49:42 -0700, Danny O'Keefe wrote:

Without addressing the "impact" discussed in the subsequent article
you posted, let's look at the plain and simple logic.

> Asking small organic farmers to submit to yearly inspections is to basically
> kill organic coffee.

Actually, it's the most sensible thing to come from the NOP yet.

If, for the sake of discussion, we want organic to be defined as
"GROWN without pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or other
petrochemicals," then where is the first crucial step that must be
certified before any other? Might it be the process of "growing?"

How can it possibly make sense to certify as organic every importer
and exporter, trucking company, roaster, warehouse, etc., yet only
certify 20% of the very origin of the product? You have to certify the
coffee as BEING organic before you can certify it's been MAINTAINED as
organic.
If you can't certify that the coffee coming off the farm is actually
organic, then all the certifications that come later in the chain are
simply huge wastes of time and resources.

Again, I'm totally opposed to the NOP, BUT if you want it to do what
it's supposed to do, logically speaking, the farm is absolutely the most
crucial place to inspect.



  
Date: 04 Apr 2007 16:27:56
From: Danny O'Keefe
Subject: Re: New Organic Inspection Rules
I'll be curious, as this issue develops, what kinds of innovations in
certification may arise. It may prove efficacious (gotta love that word) to
expand the base of organic certifiers to include agronomy students or
others. Resistance would probably come for the organic certifying orgs but
overall they might do better by charging less for more frequent inspections
done by more people in country. I do think there will be a lot of voices
raised, if not heard, as this issue gains traction.

I also think your point that the crop must prove itself is a very salient
one. The frequency of inspection and cost issues for small farmers are
thorny, however. If I remember correctly this issue originally arose over
organic soybean farmers and the coffee farmers got caught in the play. If we
are willing to trust the USDA to certify organic standards then maybe we
will also have to be willing for their counterparts in Latin America and
elsewhere to do the same. If the process becomes clouded or too difficult to
maintain then the progress made through organic standards will go by the
wayside and we'll begin to depend on "catch phrases". While the certs aren't
perfect I'd rather have them./ o'k


"Steve Ackman" <steve@SNIP-THIS.twoloonscoffee.com > wrote in message
news:slrnf18ag6.hgi.steve@sorceror.sorceror.wizard.dyndns.org...
> In <4OmdnchVAoe_qYzbnZ2dnUVZ_uKknZ2d@centurytel.net>, on Mon, 2 Apr
> 2007 09:49:42 -0700, Danny O'Keefe wrote:
>
> Without addressing the "impact" discussed in the subsequent article
> you posted, let's look at the plain and simple logic.
>
>> Asking small organic farmers to submit to yearly inspections is to
>> basically
>> kill organic coffee.
>
> Actually, it's the most sensible thing to come from the NOP yet.
>
> If, for the sake of discussion, we want organic to be defined as
> "GROWN without pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or other
> petrochemicals," then where is the first crucial step that must be
> certified before any other? Might it be the process of "growing?"
>
> How can it possibly make sense to certify as organic every importer
> and exporter, trucking company, roaster, warehouse, etc., yet only
> certify 20% of the very origin of the product? You have to certify the
> coffee as BEING organic before you can certify it's been MAINTAINED as
> organic.
> If you can't certify that the coffee coming off the farm is actually
> organic, then all the certifications that come later in the chain are
> simply huge wastes of time and resources.
>
> Again, I'm totally opposed to the NOP, BUT if you want it to do what
> it's supposed to do, logically speaking, the farm is absolutely the most
> crucial place to inspect.
>




 
Date: 04 Apr 2007 12:33:38
From: Steve Ackman
Subject: Re: New Organic Inspection Rules
In <4OmdnchVAoe_qYzbnZ2dnUVZ_uKknZ2d@centurytel.net >, on Mon, 2 Apr
2007 09:49:42 -0700, Danny O'Keefe wrote:
> http://royalcoffeenews.blogspot.com/
>
> Here's a link to a letter Bob Fulmer of Royal Coffee wrote on his blog and
> has sent to various specialty coffee interests.
>
> Asking small organic farmers to submit to yearly inspections is to basically
> kill organic coffee. Please contact your Congresspeople and ask them to help
> stop this amendment. It looks to me like the USDA is gaming the field in
> favor of big soybean producers at the expense of small growers of both
> soybeans and coffee.
>
> D. O'Keefe

I don't see how these requirements are any more onerous for the small
farmer than the NOP was for the small roaster.

The NOP was instituted to insure that EVERY step along the way is
certified. If that's a good thing, then why is this a bad thing?

Personally, I'm against the NOP completely... and it seems
inconsistent to me for someone to be pro NOP, but against inspection.




  
Date: 04 Apr 2007 17:06:00
From: Marshall
Subject: Re: New Organic Inspection Rules
On Wed, 4 Apr 2007 12:33:38 -0400, Steve Ackman
<steve@SNIP-THIS.twoloonscoffee.com > wrote:

>In <4OmdnchVAoe_qYzbnZ2dnUVZ_uKknZ2d@centurytel.net>, on Mon, 2 Apr
>2007 09:49:42 -0700, Danny O'Keefe wrote:
>> http://royalcoffeenews.blogspot.com/
>>
>> Here's a link to a letter Bob Fulmer of Royal Coffee wrote on his blog and
>> has sent to various specialty coffee interests.
>>
>> Asking small organic farmers to submit to yearly inspections is to basically
>> kill organic coffee. Please contact your Congresspeople and ask them to help
>> stop this amendment. It looks to me like the USDA is gaming the field in
>> favor of big soybean producers at the expense of small growers of both
>> soybeans and coffee.
>>
>> D. O'Keefe
>
> I don't see how these requirements are any more onerous for the small
>farmer than the NOP was for the small roaster.

"Onerous" is a relative term. Even if the expense were the same in
absolute terms, what might be a pain in the ass to a small roaster
might be ruinous to a subsistence farmer.

> The NOP was instituted to insure that EVERY step along the way is
>certified. If that's a good thing, then why is this a bad thing?

That's the core of the problem. Coops were permitted to do a sampling
of their members each year. This has proven to have drawbacks from a
compliance standpoint. I do not know the nature of the compromises
that NCA and SCAA are trying to negotiate. No doubt many people who
are the most committed to the organic philosophy will applaud the new
rules. But, there are also organic leaders like Mark Inman who are
trying to work out a compromise that doesn't drive small farmers out
of the program.

I think it's time for Andy Schecter to comment!

Marshall


   
Date: 04 Apr 2007 13:43:56
From: Danny O'Keefe
Subject: Re: New Organic Inspection Rules
Here's an article that was in Salon.com that may add to the discussion/ D.
O'Keefe


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Is this the end of organic coffee?
Thanks to a recent hush-hush USDA ruling, your clean-conscience, fair-trade,
organic latte may soon be a thing of the past.

By Samuel Fromartz

Apr. 03, 2007


    
Date: 04 Apr 2007 18:49:43
From: Steve Ackman
Subject: Re: New Organic Inspection Rules
In <wMqdnQgTAImVk4nbnZ2dnUVZ_v6tnZ2d@centurytel.net >, on Wed, 4 Apr
2007 13:43:56 -0700, Danny O'Keefe wrote:
> Here's an article that was in Salon.com that may add to the discussion

Will it be the end of "organic" coffee? Of course not! Those who can
afford certification and see a benefit that outweighs the cost will pay
for the cert.

Farmers who choose not to play in the United States Department of
Agriculture National Organic Program (marketing scheme) will simply come
up with another term, like "sustainable," or like Finca El Injerto,
advertise their coffee as grown "without using fungicides, herbicides
or insecticides"... or sell their coffee to customers outside the US
where the NOP has no effect... or just sell "specialty coffee" based
on its flavor.


 
Date: 03 Apr 2007 17:33:29
From: Dan Bollinger
Subject: Re: New Organic Inspection Rules
> Asking small organic farmers to submit to yearly inspections is to basically
> kill organic coffee.

What is your justification for this terminal claim? How do organic inspections
close down businesses?

Dan



  
Date: 03 Apr 2007 22:34:43
From: Marshall
Subject: Re: New Organic Inspection Rules
On Tue, 3 Apr 2007 17:33:29 -0500, "Dan Bollinger"
<danNObollinger@insightSPAMbb.com > wrote:

>> Asking small organic farmers to submit to yearly inspections is to basically
>> kill organic coffee.
>
>What is your justification for this terminal claim? How do organic inspections
>close down businesses?
>
>Dan

Coops have to pay for their own certifications. Up until now they have
been permitted to inspect a relatively small proportion of their
member farms, so long as they had proper internal controls. The new
rules require each member farm to be inspected each year. Some coops
have thousands of members and will not be able to pay for this. Among
knowledgeable coffee people, it is widely believed that this will put
a nail in the coffin of Fair Trade organic, as all Fair Trade coffees
come from coops, and will kill off much of the rest of the organic
coffee market as well.

Marshall


   
Date: 03 Apr 2007 22:13:20
From: Dan Bollinger
Subject: Re: New Organic Inspection Rules
>>> Asking small organic farmers to submit to yearly inspections is to basically
>>> kill organic coffee.
>>
>>What is your justification for this terminal claim? How do organic inspections
>>close down businesses?
>>
>>Dan
>
> Coops have to pay for their own certifications. Up until now they have
> been permitted to inspect a relatively small proportion of their
> member farms, so long as they had proper internal controls.

I can see how that would increase costs. Not knowing how much certification
costs are, we can only assume they are being correct and not exaggerating the
effect. Of course, the increased costs would most likely be passed up the
supply chain to the consumer. If they want organic bad enough, they'll pay for
it.

However, it will not 'kill off' the rest of the organic coffee market for farms
that can afford the certification process. In fact, with less competition, they
will find a seller's market.

Dan



    
Date: 04 Apr 2007 17:09:26
From: The Other Funk
Subject: Re: New Organic Inspection Rules
Finding the keyboard operational
Dan Bollinger entered:


>> Coops have to pay for their own certifications. Up until now they
>> have been permitted to inspect a relatively small proportion of their
>> member farms, so long as they had proper internal controls.
>
> I can see how that would increase costs. Not knowing how much
> certification costs are, we can only assume they are being correct
> and not exaggerating the effect. Of course, the increased costs
> would most likely be passed up the supply chain to the consumer. If
> they want organic bad enough, they'll pay for it.
>
> However, it will not 'kill off' the rest of the organic coffee market
> for farms that can afford the certification process. In fact, with
> less competition, they will find a seller's market.
>
> Dan

All cost increases are passed on to the consumer unless someone takes a hit
on their bite of the pie. But you are correct that this could make organic
coffee a sellers market. I don't know what that is going to do to a small
roaster like us but time will tell.
Bob

--
--
Coffee worth staying up for - NY Times
www.moondoggiecoffee.com



    
Date: 04 Apr 2007 05:56:41
From: Marshall
Subject: Re: New Organic Inspection Rules
On Tue, 3 Apr 2007 22:13:20 -0500, "Dan Bollinger"
<danNObollinger@insightSPAMbb.com > wrote:

>I can see how that would increase costs. Not knowing how much certification
>costs are, we can only assume they are being correct and not exaggerating the
>effect. Of course, the increased costs would most likely be passed up the
>supply chain to the consumer. If they want organic bad enough, they'll pay for
>it.
>
>However, it will not 'kill off' the rest of the organic coffee market for farms
>that can afford the certification process. In fact, with less competition, they
>will find a seller's market.
>
>Dan

We're not talking about widget tycoons celebrating the joys of the
free market. We're talking about farm families living at or below the
subsistence level, growing some wonderful coffees, who, through
organic certification and their coops, had found a way to realize more
money for their efforts). For many of them, it is about to disappear
because of the dishonesty of a few.

Marshall


    
Date: 03 Apr 2007 22:37:54
From:
Subject: Re: New Organic Inspection Rules
Being a roaster that only buys and sells organic coffee, I can say
that the end customer will pay more - pretty much green organic coffee
is on par costwise with nonorganic coffee. The farmer and importer
should charge more if it means a wider variety of options to choose
from. I like the status quo but it might not be sustainable at these
prices.

Eric

On Tue, 3 Apr 2007 22:13:20 -0500, "Dan Bollinger"
<danNObollinger@insightSPAMbb.com > wrote:

>>>> Asking small organic farmers to submit to yearly inspections is to basically
>>>> kill organic coffee.
>>>
>>>What is your justification for this terminal claim? How do organic inspections
>>>close down businesses?
>>>
>>>Dan
>>
>> Coops have to pay for their own certifications. Up until now they have
>> been permitted to inspect a relatively small proportion of their
>> member farms, so long as they had proper internal controls.
>
>I can see how that would increase costs. Not knowing how much certification
>costs are, we can only assume they are being correct and not exaggerating the
>effect. Of course, the increased costs would most likely be passed up the
>supply chain to the consumer. If they want organic bad enough, they'll pay for
>it.
>
>However, it will not 'kill off' the rest of the organic coffee market for farms
>that can afford the certification process. In fact, with less competition, they
>will find a seller's market.
>
>Dan



   
Date: 04 Apr 2007 00:38:19
From: The Other Funk
Subject: Re: New Organic Inspection Rules
Finding the keyboard operational
Marshall entered:

> On Tue, 3 Apr 2007 17:33:29 -0500, "Dan Bollinger"
> <danNObollinger@insightSPAMbb.com> wrote:
>
>>> Asking small organic farmers to submit to yearly inspections is to
>>> basically kill organic coffee.
>>
>> What is your justification for this terminal claim? How do organic
>> inspections close down businesses?
>>
>> Dan
>
> Coops have to pay for their own certifications. Up until now they have
> been permitted to inspect a relatively small proportion of their
> member farms, so long as they had proper internal controls. The new
> rules require each member farm to be inspected each year. Some coops
> have thousands of members and will not be able to pay for this. Among
> knowledgeable coffee people, it is widely believed that this will put
> a nail in the coffin of Fair Trade organic, as all Fair Trade coffees
> come from coops, and will kill off much of the rest of the organic
> coffee market as well.
>
> Marshall

I wonder if there could be a business model where the demand for organic
coffee would shift the costs of certification from the grower up the
exporter / importer / roaster / consumer chain. In other words, importer A
says to exporter B, " I'll pay $x more for certified organic" so now B says
to the farmers, "I'll pay for the organic certification but you have to sell
your whole crop to me" The downside to this of course is the increased risk
at the importer / exporter level. A poor crop could (will) drive the cost
through the roof. OTOH Whoever is paying for the certification will be able
to charge whatever they want if the lock up enough of the crop.
But I am not a business major so I may be talking out of the wrong orifice.
Bob


--
--
Coffee worth staying up for - NY Times
www.moondoggiecoffee.com



  
Date: 03 Apr 2007 15:01:12
From: Danny O'Keefe
Subject: Re: New Organic Inspection Rules
Costs. Many small farmers are opting out of organic certification because
they can afford the certification costs. I was passing on a letter from Bob
Fulmer of Royal Coffee.

D. O'Keefe


"Dan Bollinger" <danNObollinger@insightSPAMbb.com > wrote in message
news:io6dnalLPouuVY_bnZ2dnUVZ_vShnZ2d@insightbb.com...
>> Asking small organic farmers to submit to yearly inspections is to
>> basically kill organic coffee.
>
> What is your justification for this terminal claim? How do organic
> inspections close down businesses?
>
> Dan




 
Date: 02 Apr 2007 20:25:13
From: Marshall
Subject: Re: New Organic Inspection Rules
On Mon, 2 Apr 2007 09:49:42 -0700, "Danny O'Keefe"
<oksongbird@centurytel.net > wrote:

>http://royalcoffeenews.blogspot.com/
>
>Here's a link to a letter Bob Fulmer of Royal Coffee wrote on his blog and
>has sent to various specialty coffee interests.
>
>Asking small organic farmers to submit to yearly inspections is to basically
>kill organic coffee. Please contact your Congresspeople and ask them to help
>stop this amendment. It looks to me like the USDA is gaming the field in
>favor of big soybean producers at the expense of small growers of both
>soybeans and coffee.
>
>D. O'Keefe

Unfortunately it wasn't just soy farmers who were cheating, as Bob
would have it. Some "organic" coffee farmers were caught red-handed
using inorganic fertilizers. This caused the USDA to reconsider its
whole periodic inspection practice. But, the new rules are so onerous
they would probably kill the organic coffee market.

SCAA and NCA are lobbying to soften the rules and avoid this.

Marshall


 
Date: 02 Apr 2007 10:05:33
From:
Subject: Re: New Organic Inspection Rules
On Mon, 2 Apr 2007 09:49:42 -0700, "Danny O'Keefe"
<oksongbird@centurytel.net > wrote:

>http://royalcoffeenews.blogspot.com/
>
>Here's a link to a letter Bob Fulmer of Royal Coffee wrote on his blog and
>has sent to various specialty coffee interests.
>
>Asking small organic farmers to submit to yearly inspections is to basically
>kill organic coffee. Please contact your Congresspeople and ask them to help
>stop this amendment. It looks to me like the USDA is gaming the field in
>favor of big soybean producers at the expense of small growers of both
>soybeans and coffee.
>
>D. O'Keefe
>

Oh my goodness, they have my total sympathy.

Similarly, even at the lower Hawaii State Legislature, there is a
Resolution slowing moving through that wants inspectors to come to
each of our small Kona "Estate" farms, certify our green is Kona and
then if we roast, re-certify that it is Kona. That will ruin many
farmers. Added cost with no financial gain. More bureaucratic
layering.

It is advocated by the processors and Blenders and big growers who
seemingly want to put the small "estate" farmer out of business by
using financial means.

Lies like these two were given to our State Legislature last week by
big Blenders & Growers & Processors!

Dave Bateman KCC(Kona Coffee Council) Legislative Chairman &
Secretary of the HCA (Hawaii Coffee Association)
"There are numerous instances of Kona estate farmers selling poor
quality uncertified coffee. We need to get that stopped by having
mandatory inspection, certification and audit requirements for both
green and roasted Kona coffee for small farmers."

Roger Kiawi Manager of Capt Cook Coffee, KCC Board member &
Vice-President of HCA
"Coffee quality is the big issue - small farmers are roasting in
origin under no controls. There are a lot of folks out there not
grading their coffee, roasting it and selling it its inferior coffee
and we need to stop it."

That is so untrue. The State when asked, has utterly no such
documentation. It is hateful! If someone did not like the coffee of an
Estate, they would stop buying it, and the farmer would go out of
business.

The big growers and processors are out to get the competition which
sounds similar to what Danny spoke of. I wonder if the parallel is
just imagined?
enough rant.

aloha,
cea
roast beans to kona to email
farmers of Pure Kona