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What's being said

"This is a very complex and comprehensive rule. It covers everything from the time the seed goes into the ground to when it goes into a package for retail sale -- it's the entire food system in one single rule....One of the reasons for the rule is to get a uniform standard. There are some private certifiers who have differing rules, (but) we're talking minute differences -- differences at the margin." -- Keith Jones, National Organic Program Director, USDA




"The need for these standards rose out of the exponential growth of organic agriculture. It is a sector that is here to stay -- growing from $78 million in 1980 to about $6 billion today, with continuing growth of 20 percent a year." -- U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman




"USDA oversight of the certifying agents needs to be clearly stated with mechanisms put in place to sanction or remove parties that do not meet the set requirements....We are concerned about how the exclusion of genetically modified organisms will be determined. There is no current state law in California that requires that food sold as organic in California must be GMO-free. Standards for verification vary widely and are not uniform." -- Cynthia Cory, marketing and labor policy director, California Farm Bureau Federation




"It has taken 10 years to get to this point. We're headed in the right direction, but I don't think it would have happened if growth in these markets hadn't taken off." -- K. Dun Gifford, founder and president of the Oldways Preservation and Exchange Trust




"Naturally, it's important from a health perspective. We should not consume any more chemicals than we already do." -- Floataway Café executive chef Anne Quatrano, who is also co-owner of Bacchanalia in Atlanta, Georgia




"Everything used to be organic. What's driven it the other way is what people will buy. What the U.S. demands is entirely different from Europe and some other places." -- Joe Fink, corporate purchasing manager, Tanimura and Antle, a large vegetable grower, packer and shipper in Salinas, California




"In the grocery store, processed food may say 'organic' but consumers don't know if it's 30 percent or 100 percent. Now there will be clear demarcations so they'll know exactly what they're buying." -- Kathleen Merrigan, administrator, USDA's Argricultural Marketing Service




"I have more concerns about how (the new rules) will affect overall farming. The things I do will remain the same, but the worry is with some of the bigger corporate farms (maybe) trying to sneak in under the certification label." -- Ryan Cohen, farm manager, East Lake Commons




"Organic is a good niche market, but people need to realize that organic farming is not going to feed the world. Trying to do that and be organic, we'd have to cut down millions of acres of forest." -- Dean Boyer, director of public relations, Washington State Farm Bureau