The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Executive Standards Council (ExSC) has denied the USDA’s appeal of the Leonardo Academy’s status as an ANSI-accredited standards developer.
The focus of the appeal before ANSI’s ExSC was Leonardo Academy’s management of the standards development process for the national draft standard for sustainable agriculture.
However, the USDA has raised concerns regarding the propriety of Leonardo’s practices and processes regarding the much-debated draft standard, citing flawed interest categories that lacked appropriate input from affected stakeholders as well as a lack of administrative abilities as points of contention.
Although the appeal was denied, the ExSC identified several issues that warrant attention before this standard is submitted for approval as an American National Standard, which the Leonardo Academy will take into consideration moving forward.
“We consider appeals to be a vital part of the ANSI standards-setting process,” said Michael Arny, president of Leonardo Academy. “The appeal process demonstrates the important role of ANSI in reviewing procedural concerns, providing process improvement suggestions and ensuring an open and fair process.”
Meanwhile, development of the national standard for sustainable agriculture is moving forward. Standard committee members and interested observers are currently engaged in six task forces that are working to gather relevant data and resources to guide the development process as well as to engage additional stakeholder involvement. The task forces will report their findings and recommendations to the full Standards Committee in May 2009.
To ensure openness and transparency in the standard development process, observers are invited to participate in the task forces, where they will have the opportunity to interact fully on all aspects of the work being undertaken. “We are pleased by the range of stakeholder participation, including the active involvement of the USDA in the task force discussions,” added Arny.
Leonardo Academy is currently seeking charitable contributions to fund its work on this standard development initiative and to support active participation by the full range of stakeholders in the process.
For more information on participating as an observer or to make a donation to the Leonardo Academy, contact Amanda Raster at firstname.lastname@example.org  or (608) 280-0255.
The full appeal decision is available at http://www.leonardoacademy.org/download/USDALeonardoExSCdec011309corrected.pdf .