Farms Still Organic After Flood
Date: April 1, 2008 Section: Local News
by The Chronicle, Centralia, WA
The 17 organic farms in Southwest Washington impacted by December's flood are still in line with organic standards, according to a press release from the Washington State Department of Agriculture.
Field inspections and laboratory analysis of plant samples have shown no contamination by pesticides or chemicals that would compromise the farms' organic status.
Organic inspectors from the WSDA visited each of the organic farms in December, checking where the water levels had been in the fields, sediment deposits and signs of petrochemical residues or other contaminants.
The inspectors' initial assessments found silt, mud and woody debris, but no areas of concern from synthetic contaminants, the release stated.
WSDA laboratory staff also tested 40 samples of plant material growing on the flooded farms, with results showing that the water did not cause any contamination that threatens the farms' organic status or prevents them from marketing this year's crop as organically raised.
"Organic farming involves improving soil quality and the biological activity of the soil, as well as preventative pest management that does not rely on synthetic fertilizers or pesticides," said Miles McEvoy, manager of the WSDA's Organic Program. "Sample results confirm that the flood did not adversely affect these farms' compliance with organic certification standards. The organic farms in the Chehalis River Valley continue to follow organic management practices and comply with the National Organic Standards."
The organic sector in Washington has grown dramatically in recent years. Organic-certified acreage increased by a third to more than 100,000 acres in 2007, and the value of all organic products in Washington reached $388 million in 2006.
More information about the WSDA Organic Food Program can be found at: www.agr.wa.gov/FoodAnimal/Organic.
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, Centralia, Washington. Reprinted with permission.