Aug 3, 2020
National strategy for hiring organic inspectors, reviewers up for discussion
Stephen Kloosterman

The National Organic Program (NOP) recently sent a memo to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) asking the board to start a public discussion about a “Human Capital Strategy for Organic Inspectors and Reviewers.”

Jennifer Tucker.
Photo: USDA/Bob Nichols.

“Engaging in near-term and long-term efforts to develop, recruit, and retain a strong community of well-trained and well-qualified inspectors and reviewers is essential for organic integrity,” NOP wrote in one of its Organic Insider newsletters.

Deputy Administrator of the National Organic Program Jennifer Tucker wrote a memo that she hoped to “initiate a dialogue within the organic community about the broad set of human capital dimensions that may support the ongoing development of a robust and well-supported pipeline of organic professionals over time.”

Some of the questions for the community to consider could include, she said:

  • “What services are most needed by independent inspectors or reviewers in the organic community that are not currently provided by an existing entity?
  • “What might some options for providing these services be? What type of organization(s) may be able to help?
  • “In addition to current resources, what other continuous learning and training and development opportunities are needed to support and retain well-qualified organic inspectors and reviewers?
  • “How could academic institutions, particularly those with specialized programs in organic and/or sustainable agriculture, be engaged in providing ongoing educational resources and/or community support for organic inspectors and reviewers?
  • “How could the community overall support the retention of well-qualified professionals in the organic community, even if they move between organizations?”

The NOP is in the middle of efforts to beef up its regulatory work, and those efforts include hiring more staff.

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Stephen Kloosterman is the managing editor of Organic Grower.
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