From Field to Forum

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, November 17, 2014 on policy, seeds

Public breeding programs are needed now more than ever before, according to a recently released report titled Proceedings of Summit on Seeds and Breeds for the 21st Century Agriculture, published by the Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI). The publication is a collection of essays and information gathered from RAFI’s two-day summit on seed varieties and public breeding. Held earlier this year, the summit brought together over 35 researchers, plant and animal breeders, farmers, academics, and other stakeholders to discuss our nation’s seed supply and develop recommendations for...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, November 17, 2014 on policy

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) recently released its 2014 Grassroots Guide to Federal Farm and Food Programs. The guide is a free digital resource for farmers, conservationists, and other members of the sustainable agriculture and food community. The comprehensive guide breaks down federal programs and policies into plain-language explanations and includes valuable resources. The guide is organized into nine chapters and details over 40 federal food and farm programs, along with a quick-reference overview chart, glossary, and other resources – all accessible via NSAC’s...
Written by Jane Sooby on Friday, November 7, 2014 on certification process, policy

CCOF is excited to announce that 33% of its members in California have successfully applied for the organic certification cost-share rebate, which refunds 75% of certification-related expenses up to a maximum of $750 per certified scope of operation.  We encourage the remainder of CCOF-certified members to apply for certification cost share in California before the postmark deadline of November 29, 2014. We also encourage members in other states to submit applications for cost share according to their state deadlines. A few things to keep in mind about certification cost share: Growers,...
Written by Jane Sooby on Friday, November 7, 2014 on pests and pesticides

The Pest and the Damage Done The invasive stinkbug known as the Bagrada bug continues to hopscotch its way through California. First found in Los Angeles County in 2008, it is now found throughout the state as far north as Yolo County. The pest has caused damage to many organic crops this summer and fall, primarily to mustard family crops including kale, arugula, broccoli, cabbage, collards, and other mustard greens. Bagrada bug also has caused damage to peppers, melons, tomatoes, corn, snap beans, and sunflowers. Female (top), mating pair (middle), and a mature nymph (bottom) of Bagrada bug...
Written by Jessy Beckett on Monday, November 3, 2014 on assistance, foundation

Had an extremely hard year? Drought? Illness? Hurricane? CCOF’s Bricmont Fund may be able to help!  Bricmont Fund will give away $25,000 to organic producers who have experienced hardship in 2014. This fund provides direct financial assistance exclusively to organic producers and processors/handlers who suffer losses due to extreme hardship by refunding part or all of a producer’s certification fees. The Bricmont Fund is the only hardship assistance fund specifically targeted towards organic producers in the United States. Last year, the fund sent checks to dairies, growers, and processors to...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, November 3, 2014 on NOSB, policy

Last week, several CCOF staff and members attended the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting in Louisville, Kentucky to share their expertise and weigh in on the future of organic standards. The NOSB meets biannually to review organic standards and to determine what recommendations it will make to the National Organic Program (NOP) for future rulemaking. Members of the public are encouraged to attend these meetings because they have the opportunity speak and share their opinions on farming and processing inputs and practices. CCOF also participated in the National Organic Coalition’...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, November 3, 2014 on policy

On October 31, CCOF submitted a public comment to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) regarding its draft Statewide Plant Pest Prevention and Management Program (the Statewide Program) Environmental Impact Report (PEIR). CDFA implements the Statewide Program to prevent the introduction and spread of injurious insect pests, plant diseases, and noxious weeds in California. For the Statewide Program, CDFA uses an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach, which is the coordinated use of information about pest biology, the host environments, and available control methods to...
Written by Cassandra Christine on Monday, November 3, 2014 on Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund

As a gesture of solidarity, Sambrailo Packaging will donate a portion of sales from their recently-launched Go Greener!™ clamshells to CCOF in support of the Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund. This fund aids kindergarten through eighth grade, high school, and vocational and higher education students in their journey to become organic farmers. You can find the Go Greener!™ clamshells in the CCOF web store, and donations will be calculated from sales through the store between November 3, and December 31, 2014. Go Greener!™ clamshells are made with 100% post-consumer recycled PET from clear and...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, October 27, 2014 on farmers markets

California is the heart of our nation’s food and agricultural innovations, from popularizing farmers’ markets and organic agriculture in the 1970s and 1980s, to a renewed focus in recent years on fresh produce and local foods. As California goes, so goes the nation, right? With more than 800 farmers’ markets now operating in the Golden State, it is fair to say that California represents “ground zero” in the ever-evolving policy and operations issues that farmers’ markets face in the United States. Given this, the significance of Governor Jerry Brown signing Assembly Bill (AB) 1871 into law...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, October 27, 2014 on policy

Are you up-to-date on the latest Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) proposed rules? On Thursday, November 6, in Sacramento, California, the California Department of Food and Agriculture will host a free listening session on the FSMA Updated Proposed Rules for Produce Safety, Preventive Controls for Human Food, and Preventative Controls for Animal Food. CCOF is co-sponsoring the listening session and encourages all members to take advantage of this opportunity to hear an overview of the updated proposed rules, ask questions, and learn more about food safety rules. The listening session will...
Written by Cassandra Christine on Monday, October 27, 2014 on directory

Tuesday, November 4 is the deadline for your ad space reservation in the 2015 Organic Directory & Resource Guide!  View our advertising rates.  Prices at-a-glance:  Business card - $425  Quarter page - $750  Half page - $1195  Full page - $1750  The Organic Directory & Resource Guide is a full color publication that we print annually. This directory includes all of our certified organic farmers, processors, handlers, packers, and retailers, and lists organic crops, livestock, processed products, and business services. In addition to our certified members and Business Partners who...
Written by Jon Knapp on Monday, October 27, 2014 on member news, trade

Did you know that as a CCOF member, you are eligible to join the Organic Trade Association (OTA)? And now you can do so at a discounted cost. OTA is now offering Farmstead Membership to small-operation farmers with a gross organic income less than $250,000 a year. If this is YOU then you’ll be eligible for full OTA membership at a discounted price of $50 a year. OTA membership gives organic operations the opportunity to engage the OTA on important organic topics and allows you to stay completely up-to-date on all issues in the organic industry. Read the full press release from OTA.
Written by Laura McKissack on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 on certification process, renewal

Every year, you are required to submit the annual Continuation of Certification contract and pay your certification fee. In early November, we will mail your renewal package—including the annual renewal contract and invoice—and email you all the necessary information. By submitting the completed renewal contract and payment or payment plan by January 1, you’ll automatically be entered to win a free inspection up to $500. You’ll also receive 10% off of ALL CCOF merchandise through the month of January! Good luck!
Written by Jon Knapp on Monday, October 20, 2014 on directory, marketing

Don’t miss the opportunity to get your information in the 2015 edition of our most popular publication, the Organic Directory & Resource Guide!   The Organic Directory & Resource Guide is a full color publication that we print annually. This directory includes all of our certified organic farmers, processors, handlers, packers, and retailers, and lists organic crops, livestock, processed products, and business services. In addition to our certified members and Business Partners who receive the Organic Directory & Resource Guide, we have retail buyers, manufacturers, wholesalers,...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, October 20, 2014 on funding, research

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently awarded the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) a grant to evaluate federal organic research programs.    USDA awarded the grant through the Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI). This year, USDA awarded $23 million in grants under OREI and the Organic Transitions program to improve the competitiveness of organic crop and livestock producers.   OFRF will use the OREI grant to conduct topical and regional evaluations of OREI-funded programs. The project will assess to what degree each project involved organic producers and...

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