The National Organic Program (NOP) develops the rules & regulations for the production, handling, labeling, and enforcement of all USDA organic products. This process, referred to as rulemaking, involves input from the National Organic Standards Board (a Federal Advisory Committee made up of fifteen members of the public) and the public. The NOP also maintains a Handbook that includes guidance, instructions, policy memos, and other documents that communicate the organic standards.
In 2012, USDA commemorated and celebrated its 150th anniversary. Founded in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed into law an act of Congress establishing the United States Department of Agriculture.
Two and one-half years later, in what would be his final annual message to the Congress; Lincoln called USDA “The People’s Department.” At that time, about half of all Americans lived on farms, compared with about 2 percent today. But through our work on food, agriculture, economic development, science, natural resource conservation and a host of issues, USDA still fulfills Lincoln’s vision – touching the lives of every American, every day.
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