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National Organic Program
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National Organic Program
NOSB Members: Harold Austin  
Harold Austin
Zirkle Fruit Company | Selah, WA
Handler | January, 2012 Ė January, 2017

As the Director of Orchard Administration for Zirkle Fruit Company, Harold Austin is responsible for overseeing their organic production and compliance programs for over 2,000 acres of certified organic apples, cherries, blueberries, and pears. These compliance programs include both their organic and conventional crops and includes domestic and export organic certifications, Global Gap and USDA Gap certification and overseeing compliance with various fruit export program criteria. He must also ensure that all parts of their operations are in full compliance with all state and federal rules and regulations that govern the various components of their very complex business operation. Harold is responsible to see to it that all internal and third party audits are properly prepared for and that organic integrity and food safety are always a top priority and focal points for all. The smooth and continuing growth of their organic systems plans for both the farm and the packing plant is a top priority, as they continue to grow and expand their organic program. He is just starting his 18th year of working for the Zirkle family, working as their I.P.M. consultant for 9 years prior to that.

Previously, as a Washington State Department of Agriculture licensed pest consultant (licensed for over 30 years) implemented tree fruit IPM and organic production practices with over 80 growers in the orchards of south-central Washington working with apples, pears, cherries and stone fruits. He helped these growers to meet the necessary regulatory requirements to bring their crops into certified organic compliance, or in other cases to practice Integrated Pest Management on their farms.

Harold was born and raised on an apple orchard in the upper Yakima Valley of Washington State. He enjoyed spending much of his free time growing up helping out on his grandparentís small dairy farm. Harold farmed his own apple orchard for 25 years, while working off the farm full time to support his family.

Harold currently is on the Washington State Department of Agricultureís Organic Advisory Board. He also serves on the Northwest Horticultural Councilís Science Advisory Board.

He hopes to be able to represent a broad cross-section of organic growers and handlers in various cropping systems and of all size operations in ensuring that the NOSB can try to meet the needs of a vibrant, growing, and complex sector of agriculture that is now providing a much larger portion of consumer food choices. To bring stability and continued integrity to our nationís organic production and for those that work so hard to make it happen.

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  Last Modified Date: 07/24/2013