A group of Nevada businesses are joining forces to form their own organic certification program in the wake of the state ending its certification.
The new, privately-run program, Basin and Range Organics, will be financially operated by the Healthy Communities Coalition nonprofit, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported (http://on.rgj.com/1KrjMOd ).
The Nevada Department of Agriculture announced last month that it will end its organic certification program, effective June 2016. It had been operating at an annual $70,000 deficit.
The organic certification has been an option since 1997.
Although only 45 of the 80 certified organic businesses in Nevada get their approvals through the state, many organizations had relied on the state program to certify produce, meat, tea, hay and other goods.
Some businesses said they were worried about the financial impact of the change. One company said it was left with around half a million dollars of obsolete packaging.
Basin and Range Organics said it will follow federal guidelines established by the United States Department of Agriculture. Organic certification often requires extensive inspections to make sure the products are kept separate from conventional products. It also usually involves confirming that the products do not contain pesticides or growth hormones.
The new group said its current plans include getting a funding grant, compiling a distribution list, establishing a membership and donation structure and creating a website with information for organic businesses and supporters.
Basin and Range Organics has created an advisory council that will last until a permanent board of directors is established.