WSR 02-16-098

PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


[ Filed August 7, 2002, 11:29 a.m. ]

Subject of Possible Rule Making: The state Department of Agriculture is proposing to amend chapter 16-157 WAC to increase organic certification fees and to revise organic standards to be compliant with the national organic program.

Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: Chapter 15.86 RCW.

Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: The state Department of Agriculture's organic food program is required by statute to collect fees to cover the cost of the program. Fee increases are necessary in order to cover the costs of the program. The legislature authorized the department to increase fees in excess of the fiscal growth factor.

The organic food program was audited on July 9-11, 2002, to determine compliance with the national organic program. It was determined that the state organic standards are not fully compliant with the national organic program and need to be amended to fully comply with the national organic program.

Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is implementing the national organic program. The state Department of Agriculture is working with the USDA national organic program to coordinate changes to the state organic rules so that they are compliant with the federal program.

Process for Developing New Rule: The agency is developing the proposal in coordination with the Organic Advisory Board.

Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Miles McEvoy, Washington State Department of Agriculture, Organic Food Program, P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, phone (360) 902-1924, fax (360) 902-2087, e-mail mmcevoy@agr.wa.gov. Comments should be made by September 20, 2002.

August 5, 2002

Kathryn Kravit-Smith

Assistant Director

Washington State Code Reviser's Office