As we think back on everything that has happened this year, of course the pandemic is at the forefront of our minds. Covid-19 has presented many unforeseen hurdles across the organic industry, and the world. Despite all these challenges, as we look back, we have found many things to be proud of. We see examples of team-work and compassion, innovation, and courage wherever we look. As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, we want to take a moment to share and appreciate some of the best things that happened in 2020.
We are proud to be a part of an industry that pivoted and rose to the occasion whenever they could. There are so many examples just within OneCert’s client base, we could not even attempt to name them all. A few examples are the organic textile clients pausing their apparel production to mass-manufacture masks, or clients that shifted production to make hand sanitizer or ingredients consumers could use to make their own. Clients up and down the food supply chain have been doing whatever it takes to get products out to those who need it. It is clear that the organic industry is resilient.
We are also extremely grateful for productive collaboration. The Accredited Certifiers Association (ACA) and International Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA) joined together along with the NOP to hold an excellent training event in San Antonio mere weeks before the pandemic erupted across our nation. In the following months the two organizations again pulled together to develop a joint working group that resulted in a best practice for verifying compliance when on-site inspections are not possible. These best practices have guided many of us as we adjusted plans on the fly to keep our employees and clients as safe as possible while still maintaining organic integrity. The collaboration between the two entities is sure to continue for some time, as we look forward to joining together for virtual training again in 2021.
On a company level, we are so thankful for our entire team here at OneCert. We have pulled together and supported one another through a very difficult year, and we have still achieved many extraordinary things. One of the biggest successes was launching a new internal database/application and officially retiring our old system. Using this new application, we have also moved to a new certificate layout that easily allows our clients to verify their good standing using a link to the USDA’s Organic Integrity Database (OID). We are pleased that we were able to think on our feet and quickly develop new plans and guidance to make sure inspections were still able to happen this year, whether on-site, virtually, or a mix of the two. Our reviewers and inspections team have really had to “roll with it” and stay flexible this year, a sentiment we are sure many of you can identify with. Finally, we are so appreciative of each and every individual at OneCert. We were very happy to be able to add three new members to our already strong team this year, and we look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in the coming year.
In closing, we would like to ask that you provide us with some feedback. Please take this quick survey and tell us what you think we are doing well, and what we could be doing better. We are also looking for companies that are interested in being featured in a future OneCert newsletter. You can indicate interest within the survey.
Sam Welsch, President
Karlin Warner, Certification Manager