Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) and the Ohio Produce Growers and Marketers Association (OPGMA) continue to make the U.S. Department of Agriculture aware of concerns that Ohio farmers have with a proposed National Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (NLGMA).
The voluntary agreement is aimed at improving food safety. While Ohio organizations have acknowledged improvements to the original proposal, they say there is more work to do.
Ohio Farm Bureau has questioned whether the agreement is even necessary given other programs already in place to address food safety.
“With the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act and its similar purpose, we question the need to continue developing and finalizing this marketing agreement,” OFBF and OPGMA wrote in joint comments to USDA. The organizations said the standards developed under this agreement appear duplicative and possibly confusing to growers.
OFBF also believes any new practices developed under NLGMA should be based upon proven food safety practices and sound science, that farmers should not be regulated in a manner that is unrealistic to achieve and the proposal must be flexible and meet the needs of all sizes of growers.In its comments, the organizations said the USDA must also consider regional differences in growing practices.
“To this point, we want to make it clear that Ohio, and several other states, are at a distinct disadvantage with respect to cost of compliance because these states, including Ohio, must spread compliance costs over a shorter growing season,” the comments stated.
“Any future rulemaking regarding leafy greens should not be proposed without careful consideration of the issues we have raised,” the groups said. “The leafy green industry is an important component of Ohio agriculture.”