PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
[Filed July 18, 2018, 11:16 a.m.]
Subject of Possible Rule Making: Chapter 16-157 WAC, Organic food standards and certification, the Washington state department of agriculture (WSDA) is considering changes to the certification fee schedules and changes to the organic and transitional logos.
Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: RCW 15.86.070
requires rules to include a fee schedule that will provide for the recovery of the full cost of the program. WSDA certification fees have not been significantly adjusted since the implementation of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic regulations over fifteen years ago.
Since 2002 the USDA organic regulation and the certification agency accreditation requirements have changed in response to emerging issues and markets; WSDA must implement additional requirements to ensure market access for WSDA certified organic products. Continued growth in the organic industry has caused a demand for services that are not outlined within the current fee schedules. Program operating costs have also changed significantly over the last fifteen years. The increase in expenses in addition to the inability to charge for services provided, has caused operating expenses to exceed the certification program's annual revenue.
WSDA is considering changes to chapter 16-157 WAC to ensure the continuation of quality services to all Washington business who want to produce, handle, and market organic products. An update to the WSDA organic program logos is being considered to increase public awareness and assist producers and handlers in the marketing of WSDA certified organic products.
Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: USDA National Organic Program (NOP) – WSDA will communicate any rule amendments with NOP.
Process for Developing New Rule: Agency study; and WSDA staff will discuss rule making with affected stakeholders. Affected stakeholders will also have an opportunity to submit written comments on the proposed rules during the public comment period and will also be able to present oral testimony at the public hearing.
Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Brenda Book, WSDA Organic Program Manager, 1111 Washington Street S.E., P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, phone 360-902-1805, TTY 800-833-6388 or 711, email firstname.lastname@example.org, web site agr.wa.gov/foodanimal/organic.
July 18, 2018
Food Safety and
Consumer Services Division