Welcome Back Pame!
Pamela Wolfe, NCAT’s Livestock Specialist, has returned from her travels to Binghamton, New York where she was specially choosen to participate in the International Organics Inspectors Association Inspector (IOIA)-Training Seminar. I sat down this week with Pame to discuss her educational experience.
The International Organic Inspectors Association was founded in 1991 and maintains its mission to “address issues and concerns relevant to organic inspectors, to provide quality inspector training and promote consistency and integrity in the organic certification process”. Pame said the IOIA provides onsite, as well as webinar, inspector training in three categories: crops, livestock and processing. Her time spent at the IOIA could be described as a rigorous crash course in all things livestock and management, but overall a great experiences for those who are looking to become inspectors or learn more about the guidelines to monitor and implement better farming practices.
“My training/classroom experience with IOIA was great since the moment I signed up to take the class. They acknowledge the participants that had not previously taken crop inspection training, so they insisted on and recommended us taking a short 6-hour organic crop webinar. We also had to fill out, besides our livestock pre-course assignment, an organic crop pre-course assignment. The fact that assignments were due before the training started (and graded) made us all study the NOP standards before and be better prepared for this very intense 5-day training.”
Although Pame was the only veterinarian and NCAT representative, this event was attended by representatives from several organization like The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, Pennsylvania Certified Organics, Fertrell, OMRI, Horizon Organic Dairy, and an organic farmer from Southern California who was interested in becoming an inspector.
“The overall combination of people and experiences made the interaction during class very interesting and lots of comments and participation, definitely a very rich learning environment. Despite the very long class days, quizzes, assignments, late hours report writing, and final 3 hour exam after a week of brain-squeezing work, I think this training was totally worth it to improve my work through a very precise understanding of the organic regulations and standards and how they apply to organic livestock production.”
Armed with new knowledge and more education on the organic process and livestock, Pame feels ready to face new challenges in her field. Although she did not take the course to become an inspector it has rounded out her understanding of the conditions in which to best raise livestock and to what standards farmers should be holding themselves.