MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2004 Regular Session

To: Agriculture

By: Senator(s) Hyde-Smith, Lee (35th)

Senate Bill 2491

(As Passed the Senate)

AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 69-47-5, 69-47-17, AND 69-47-25, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CONFORM THE STATE ORGANIC FARM CERTIFICATION PROGRAM TO REQUIREMENTS OF THE NATIONAL ORGANIC PROGRAM AS ADMINISTERED BY THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

†††† BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:

†††† SECTION 1.† Section 69-47-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

†††† 69-47-5.† (1)† Any producer who sells or intends to sell organic food shall apply to the department for certification in accordance with this chapter.

†††† (2)† An applicant for certification must document that the land, individual field or greenhouse units to be certified shall be managed organically.† Documentation for certification shall be in the form of a detailed, three-year farm plan for land, fields or units and in a format acceptable to the department.† The application shall be reviewed by the organic certification program director.

†††† (3)† The farm plan shall include:

††††††††† (a) * * *† Rotation and nutrient-stabilization plans for each field or unit under organic management;

††††††††† (b)† One-year, agronomic field-by-field crop practice and spray plans for each field or unit of the farm which is organically managed;

††††††††† (c)† A map of the field to be organically managed which also indicates all buffer zones and their width, with * * * a * * * buffer zone separating land managed organically from other cultivated agricultural land and * * * a * * * buffer zone separating greenhouse units managed organically from other units;

††††††††† (d)† A description of facility and methods that shall be used to keep organically managed crops and livestock from post-harvest segregated from nonorganically managed crops and livestock;

††††††††† (e)† A description of facilities and methods that will be used to keep farm equipment from contaminating organically managed fields; and

††††††††† (f)† A description of facilities and methods that shall be used to store and handle prohibited materials separately from permitted materials.

†††† (4)† A crop grown in an organically managed field, any part of which is located in close proximity to a field to which a prohibited pesticide has been applied, shall be tissue-tested for residues of that pesticide before the harvest of the organic crop.

†††† (5)† The department shall not certify a field as organically managed that is part of a farm unless there exist distinct, defined boundaries between fields under organic management and other fields.

†††† (6)† The department shall not certify land that has no previous history as cultivated cropland, orchard or improved pasture, and that is being converted to organic for the sole purpose of replacing land abandoned because of chemical contamination or depleted fertility resulting from previous farm-management practices.

 * * *†

†††† (7)† An applicant for certification may present soil fertility test results for each field or greenhouse unit to be certified initially and every third year thereafter.

†††† (8)† An applicant may also present the results of water residue and plant-tissue tests as required by the department.

†††† (9)† The department * * * may use a certification rating system in evaluating the application.

†††† SECTION 2.† Section 69-47-17, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

†††† 69-47-17.† (1)† Applications submitted under this chapter shall be in writing on a form prescribed by the department.

†††† (2)† A separate application shall be submitted for each farm, farm unit, processing plant, distribution facility or retail operation, if operated as a separate entity by the owner.†

†††† (3)† Applications and verification documents shall be submitted to the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce.

†††† (4)† The department shall authorize retailers and distributors to use the Mississippi certified organic mark upon satisfactory completion and approval of a department application form.

†††† (5)† All applicants entitled to use the mark shall be subject to inspection by the department.

†††† SECTION 3.† Section 69-47-25, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

†††† 69-47-25.† (1)† The department may establish a fee schedule for application, inspection and annual certification fees.† The fee schedule shall be provided to all persons inquiring about the application process.

††††††††† (2)† Producers and processors participating in the departmentís organic certification program will be charged an inspection fee and an annual certification fee.† Retailers and distributors shall be charged an application fee for the initial inspection conducted by the department in accordance with this chapter and the regulations * * *.

 * * *

†††† SECTION 4.† This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.