From Field to Forum

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, June 23, 2014 on assistance, funding


The certification cost-share program is back! Thanks to the diligence of the organic community, certification cost-share is fully funded for 2014. This means that all certified organic entities in the United States are eligible to apply for a refund of 75% of their certification-related costs, including inspection fees, up to a maximum of $750 per certification or certified scope. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is responsible for administering this program in California, though the funds originate with the federal government. Everyone who is registered as organic...
Written by Jon Knapp on Monday, June 23, 2014 on Grants, water


The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) recently announced an estimated $10 million in competitive grant funding to provide financial assistance to agricultural operations for implementation of water conservation measures that result in increased water efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The CDFA is now accepting applications for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) until Tuesday, July 15, 2014. All applicants must access the Application Guidelines for information and program requirements. The CDFA has also hosted an online application...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, June 23, 2014 on education, export, international

Learn how to grow your organic business by cutting the red tape of export requirements. CCOF is partnering with the California Centers for International Trade Development to offer comprehensive training in exporting California specialty crops. The course, CalAgX, consists of a series of six half-day sessions and will be held at three locations, Sacramento, Clovis, and Lancaster, starting August 5 and ending September 25 (see schedule). The program is aimed at businesses new to exporting. CCOF Operations and International Programs Specialist Gamai Gregory will be presenting information on...
Written by Jon Knapp on Monday, June 23, 2014 on member news

CCOF Business Partner Global Organics Group is an international, integrated life sciences company engaged in the development and manufacturing of organic plant nutrition and natural ionic minerals for human and animal health. For more than 34 years Global Organics’ BioFlora division has been committed to environmental sustainability by preserving ecosystems while providing superior plant nutrient systems. Recently, Global Organics was recognized by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker with the President’s “E” Award for Exports. The prestigious “E” Award is the highest recognition any U....
Written by Zea Sonnabend on Friday, June 13, 2014 on advocacy, genetic engineering, NOP, NOSB, policy


In an environment where Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and their derivatives are widely distributed throughout the food chain, it is imperative that organic producers and handlers have strategies and plans to keep them out. A key tenet of "coexistence" is shared responsibility for the exclusion of the methods and products of genetic engineering. The organic part of this shared responsibility is extensive already, but specific new guidance from the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) adopted by the National Organic Program (NOP) would make these practices more transparent to others...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, June 9, 2014 on help and tips

With the increasing cost of organic nitrogen inputs and regulatory restrictions on nitrogen applications in agriculture, it is important to maximize all sources of nitrogen to minimize cost, environmental impact and regulatory headaches. Here is a summary of important strategies to increase nitrogen efficiency: • Test soil, crop, and water to determine nitrogen status before adding nitrogen, of any source. • Use legume cover crops: Inoculate legume seeds at planting with fresh, living Rhizobium of the correct species. Plant immediately. Irrigate as needed to aid establishment and inoculation...
Written by Jessy Beckett on Monday, June 9, 2014 on foundation, funding, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, Grants


The deadlines for two categories of the CCOF Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund is fast approaching. In a statewide partnership with the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom, kindergarten through eighth grade grants of $1,000 are currently available for organic classroom projects in California schools. Applications Due: Friday June 13. Apply now! Made possible through a collaboration with UNFI, direct grants of $2,500 for vocational and higher education in organic agriculture are now available for students across the United States. Applications Due: Friday June 13. Apply now...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, June 2, 2014 on advocacy, genetic engineering, policy


The CCOF Board of Directors voted in mid-May to adopt a strong GMO policy shared by CCOF’s strategic partner, the Organic Trade Association. The policy calls for a moratorium on production of genetically modified crops until more research on their environmental and potential health issues has been conducted, and a meaningful regulatory framework is in place. The CCOF board also reiterated its support for mandatory GMO labeling. Earlier this year, CCOF wrote a letter to California Congresswoman Noreen Evans expressing support for her bill that would require labeling of GMOs in all foods...
Written by Jon Knapp on Monday, June 2, 2014 on member news


Woodleaf Farm and Pomotierra are celebrating 32 years of certification with CCOF. Only 23 of nearly 2,800 clients have been certified for over 30 years. This is a monumental accomplishment and we wish them continued success in the coming years! Woodleaf Farm Woodleaf Farm produces almost 200 varieties of fruit that all provide excellent fruit in their Mediterranean-like environment. They pride themselves in being a leader in two important areas of organic fruit production: farm design, to suppress insect and disease pests; and systems soil management, to improve plant health. They also...
Written by Zea Sonnabend on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 on grower, inputs, materials, pests and pesticides


Organic citrus growers have spent more than a year now wading through the decision-making process for policies regarding the spread and eradication of Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP) and the deadly disease it can spread, Huanglongbing (HLB) or Citrus Greening. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) relies on a group of scientists known as the Science Advisory Panel (SAP) for recommendations about trapping and testing protocols, eradication zones, quarantines, and which materials are approved for control and/or eradication. The SAP met in December in Ontario, CA and issued their...
Written by Laura McKissack on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 on directory, marketing, MyCCOF

CCOF is the only full-service organic certification agency and trade association. Our certified members receive full trade association benefits, including advocacy, education, networking opportunities, and marketing support. We want to help our certified members grow their businesses, and in doing so the organic marketplace. One way we promote our members is by maintaining a searchable online directory of our certified operations. Those looking to find organic products or services can search by keyword, location, or sales method, including Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), farmers'...
Written by Cathy Calfo and Jake Lewin on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 on advocacy, NOP, NOSB, standards

In recent weeks we at CCOF have observed a variety of activities and discussions about organic certification and organic standards. In the week following the April National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting, the Accredited Certifiers Association issued a noteworthy letter supporting the USDA and NOP. See CCOF’s thoughts on the sunset process change when they were announced last fall. At CCOF we believe that everyone is welcome to their opinions. We know that organic standards and certification systems are stronger and stricter than they’ve ever been. Our focus is making meaningful...
Written by Gamai Gregory on Thursday, May 8, 2014 on Brazil, export, international


On April 29-30, 2014, three federal inspectors from the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture (MAPA), and a USDA/Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS) Brazil Agricultural Marketing Specialist, toured CCOF-certified farms in the Davis, CA area. The tour was organized through the USDA Cochran Fellowship Program, with the help of CCOF’s Gamai Gregory and Sean Feder. During their visit, the federal inspectors were guided through the U.S. Organic certification process, and CCOF programs and procedures. They visited the UC Davis Student Farm, hosted by Raoul Adamchak; and Dixon Ridge Farms, hosted by...
Written by Jane Sooby on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 on grower, pests and pesticides

The bagrada bug, referred to as an “invasive stink bug” by researchers, is often seen as a mating couple on brassica family plants. A native of the African and Asian continents, this insect first made its appearance in the western United States in 2008. Since then, its American range has spread east from Los Angeles County to Arizona and areas of southern Nevada, Utah, and west-central New Mexico. It has been found as far north as Monterey County. The insect has orange and white markings on its body and can be mistaken for the harlequin bug; however, it is much smaller than the harlequin bug...
Written by Brise Tencer on Monday, May 5, 2014 on advocacy, livestock, NOP, NOSB, policy, standards


CCOF believes that organic livestock standards should require humane and ethical treatment of animals during all stages of production, including transport and slaughter. CCOF, consistent with our mission and principles, has long advocated for NOP standards that ensure outdoor and soil access. In December 2011, the NOSB unanimously passed a recommendation on Animal Welfare and Stocking Rates that capped off several years of work on these subjects. The NOSB recommendations were consistent with CCOF and other organizations’ recommendations. In June 2013, the NOP released a report on the...

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