From Field to Forum

Written by Jon Knapp on Monday, September 29, 2014 on biodiversity, grower, member news


Massa rice house

Massa Organics has had an incredible journey to sustainability. It began shortly after college when Greg Massa and his wife, Racquel Krach, returned to Greg’s family rice farm. They utilized their tropical ecology background to prime themselves for their next venture: organic farming. Massa Organics harvests organic almonds and rice on their 200+ acre span of land and employs a very interesting system of sustainable. In addition to their organic crops, they have introduced an animal element to their farm. In the past, their flock of ducks helped control the weed population in the rice fields...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, September 22, 2014 on assistance, livestock


The Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) provides compensation to livestock producers that suffered drought-related grazing losses on specific types of pastureland. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages eligible livestock producers to enroll in the LFP now. The USDA must reduce payments to producers who do not take action by September 30, 2014.  Livestock producers who may be eligible for disaster assistance include producers who have experienced grazing losses since October 2011. If you believe you are eligible, contact your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) and set an...
Written by Robin Boyle on Friday, September 19, 2014 on food safety, policy

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued updates to four proposed rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). FDA is accepting comments on the updates now through December. The updated rules include significant changes, such as: revised water testing standards, deferred manure treatment standards, and a more collaborative approach to regulating parts of mixed-type facilities — e.g. operations that grow, pack, and/or process on the farm. FDA issued the updated rules after receiving extensive public comments and information on the originally proposed rules, which the...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, September 15, 2014 on materials and inputs, NOSB, standards

Now is the time to share your story and help shape the future of organic. Two times a year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) invites all members of the public to submit comments on what the organic standards should include and exclude.   The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB)—a committee of certified organic farmers, processors, and other representatives—review the public comments. Then, the NOSB recommends changes and adjustments to the USDA.     The NOSB will meet this fall to review a number of materials and documents set forth in its meeting agenda, and members of the public...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, September 15, 2014 on assistance, fees

The eligibility period for reimbursement under the Organic Cost Share Program closes September 30 for the 2014 fiscal year. The Cost Share Program helps operations manage the costs of organic certification. Under the program, an operation may be reimbursed for up to 75% of their certification costs, not to exceed $750 per certification. Certification expenses paid by September 30 are eligible for 2014 reimbursement, and expenses paid after September 30 are eligible for 2015 reimbursement. For more information, visit the program’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page or contact your state...
Written by Sarah Watters on Monday, September 8, 2014 on events

The summer season is coming to a close, and if you haven’t made it to a “farm-to-fork” dinner yet this year, now is your chance! Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) is hosting a fundraiser dinner on Sunday, September 14, in Morgan Hill, California. The “Taste of the Santa Clara Valley” multi-course dinner — prepared by Chef Nicolai Tuban of Bon Appétit Management Company — will highlight the bounty of the farmers in the Santa Clara Valley. Support CAFF’s program work as well as local farmers attending the event while experiencing fresh, local, and delicious food at the peak of the...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, September 8, 2014 on inputs, pests and pesticides

CCOF encourages you to review California’s proposed plan for invasive plant pest management. A draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) describing the plan is open for comment through October 31, 2014. In a recent press conference, Sandy Schubert, undersecretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), stated that the plan offers CDFA’s best assessment of on-the-ground pest management practices and details the state’s decision-making process in taking pest management actions. Laura Petro, CDFA’s Senior Environmental Scientist, said, “This report reflects California’s...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, September 8, 2014 on education

The Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) at UC Santa Cruz is accepting applications for its 2015 Apprenticeship Program. A range of scholarship funding is available for interested applicants, and the deadline to apply is September 30th. The 2015 Apprenticeship Program The Apprenticeship Program is a six-month, full-time residential training at the 30-acre organic farm and 3-acre Alan Chadwick Garden on the UCSC campus. Each year, the apprenticeship program trains 39 adults in the concepts and practices of organic gardening and small-scale sustainable farming through...
Written by Jon Knapp on Tuesday, September 2, 2014 on CCOF, marketing

As 2014 is quickly passing, our magazine team is busy planning the 2015 Editorial Calendar for Certified Organic magazine. We diligently fashion our magazine topics to best suit organic farmers, processors, and consumers. If you’re not familiar with our quarterly publication, Certified Organic includes the latest hot topics in organic. Our vision is to inspire, build community, and educate certified-organic producers on the full breadth of CCOF and organic industry activity. These are some of the topics to look forward to in 2015: Spring 2015: Future Organic Farmers – Making the Difference!...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Tuesday, September 2, 2014 on farming: materials and inputs, inputs, NOSB

Please complete the following surveys prepared by the Organic Trade Association (OTA). The surveys compile information on crop and processing materials pending review before the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). Your feedback on these materials is critical because it will help shape CCOF comments and testimony to the NOSB.   Background NOSB advises the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on which substances should be allowed or prohibited in organic farming and processing based on criteria under the Organic Foods Production Act. Generally, synthetic substances are prohibited...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, September 2, 2014 on CCOF, policy

IntroductionKelly Damewood, CCOF Policy Director David Lester, student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, recently completed a summer internship with CCOF. Over the course of two months, he completed an in-depth review of county regulations that may support or encourage certified organic agriculture. Read on for an interesting and worthwhile summary of his findings. For over thirty years, CCOF – one of the first organic certification agencies in the United States – has worked on landmark law and policy such as the California Organic Food Act of 1979 and the National Organic Program (NOP). CCOF...
Written by Jon Knapp on Monday, August 18, 2014 on

The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has been sponsoring organic farming research, education, outreach, and competitive grant making programs for over 20 years! They are currently hiring for three positions in Santa Cruz, California. If you want to join this fantastic organization, email your résumé to jobs@ofrf.org. The positions are detailed below: Research Program Director This new, senior level position provides an exciting opportunity for the right candidate to build on OFRF’s body of work, to develop programs that encourage more...
Written by Jon Knapp on Monday, August 18, 2014 on directory, marketing

The CCOF Organic Directory is the largest publication of its kind in the organic industry, listing over 1,500 products and services from more than 2,700 certified members. Help your listing stand out by adding a full-color business logo to your free client listing in each upcoming edition of CCOF's Organic Directory & Resource Guide, which is distributed annually to more than 4,000 organic consumers, producers, buyers, and suppliers. The one-time $100 Enhanced Directory Listing fee places your logo alongside your standard listing, highlighting and promoting your product to customers and...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 18, 2014 on fees

Military veterans may be eligible for fee waivers under the California State Organic Program. Notably, the fee waiver only applies to fees associated with the California State Organic Program; the waiver does not apply to fees associated with the National Organic Program. Under the Business License, Tax, and Fee Waiver benefit, California state agencies may waive certain business license fees, taxes, and other fees for honorably discharged veterans who sell goods, wares, or merchandise owned by the veteran, except for alcoholic beverages. In some cases, the benefit covers agricultural goods,...
Written by Jon Knapp on Monday, August 18, 2014 on CCOF, inspection


We’re excited to share blog resources with the FarmsReach community! Every two months, we will highlight a roundup of each other’s blog features. Their most recent blog series focused on Labor & Worker Safety. Below is a summary of the practical information they shared. Enjoy! How to Survive Labor Audits & Avoid Big Fines “In July 2011, Paul was expecting a visit from the California State Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), as they were in the area inspecting farms for heat safety issues. When the DIR arrived at his farm and began interviewing his employees, they didn’t find...

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