Time limitations really slam us up side the head, and in the pocketbook, sometimes.
Seconds ago I completed and emailed all the paperwork required for our Organic Recertification along with $150 late fee. Ouch.
We are delinquent no more.
Every year we get the forms with plenty of time to complete them and every year I get them in on time. Often just hours before the deadline but still on time. This year, faced with all the work required to fight IDPH in regards to the raw milk rules they are trying to pass, we made the very informed decision to put our time and money into that issue.
Still, it was a real kick to get the letter from our organic certifying agency telling us we were officially "delinquent" Not the first time that term has been thrown my way but certainly the first time I've seen it in writing.
But, no worries. We talked to the higher ups, explained we still desired organic certification and promised to get the paperwork done and the late fees paid. And we did. So it's all good. Not only have we earned the Certified Organic label by meeting the hundreds of standards but we've paid for the designation as well.
Frustrating though to think that our late fees will go right back to the government who will then use those monies to pay the salaries of those who are often not on the side of the small farmer. Perhaps a farmer with shared frustration will start their own Organic Certification Program. Right now we have just one choice, the USDA National Organic Program
But other major agricultural certifications have been taken on by individuals before such as with grass fed certification. A farmer can elect the USDA Grass Fed Certification or go with a private party, The American Grass fed Association whose standards by the way are far better than the USDA's. It is a goal of ours to apply for this certification one day. Right now I need a paperwork break.
In the meantime "Certified Organic" can only be done one way in this country, through the USDA. So for now we follow their rules and pay their fees and also that painful late fee.
After all, it is our choice.