Only about half of the nation’s organic operations participate in the USDA’s organic certification cost-share program. Since the program was created in the 2002 Farm Bill, approximately $60 million has been allocated to it. Not all of the allocated funds have been spent, and due to a series of recent hiccups that have kept that money from reaching farmers, a great deal of money allocated in the 2014 Farm Bill remains available.
I submitted a FOIA request to the agency on March 10, asking for financial documents that would substantiate the allegations of frivolous spending. On April 20, the agency responded that no such document exists.
The FDA is refusing to say which companies received recalled shipments of Egyptian strawberries contaminated with Hepatitis B last year — an act the agency defends as protecting companies’ trade secrets.
Some government agencies just hate releasing their records. The FBI and the USDA recently have proved they’ll do just about anything to skirt transparent recordkeeping, and I’d like to add the Federal Aviation Administration to that list.