From Field to Forum

Written by Jon Knapp on Monday, January 12, 2015 on events, livestock


Learn to grow more grass, animals, and community at the first Western Regional Grazing Conference: Grazing for Change, on February 27 and 28, 2015, at the Chico State University College of Agriculture Farm Pavilion. Farmers and ranchers face enormous challenges today, from the drought conditions in the western United States to rising costs of production, regulations, family succession hurdles, and feed availability for livestock. Livestock producers are seeking lasting solutions to these issues Livestock producers need a way to increase production of the land they have instead of seeking more...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, January 12, 2015 on advocacy, policy, research, State Organic Program

Many CCOF members feel strongly that fees charged by the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) Organic Program are duplicative of the fees that they pay for organic certification to the National Organic Program (NOP) and that the state program should be eliminated. In response to these concerns, CCOF’s policy team is undertaking a research and review process to examine the role of the California state organic program relative to the NOP and develop a set of policy recommendations. CCOF’s findings will be compiled in a comprehensive report titled The California Organics Review...
Written by Jessy Beckett on Monday, January 5, 2015 on events


CCOF members, academics, journalists, and organically-interested conventional producers had the privilege of touring through some of the Bay Area’s premier wholesale operations on Wednesday, December 10. Long time organic food purveyor Veritable Vegetable brought the tour group into the inner recesses of their South San Francisco warehouses to give participants a firsthand experience of the ‘cold-chain.’ Participants bundled up to witness old and new Veritable Vegetable wholesale warehouses in action and learn what a good-pack versus bad-pack means for Veritable standards. They also learned...
Written by Cathy Calfo on Monday, January 5, 2015 on foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, Grants

Last year, CCOF members invested in the CCOF Foundation and the Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund. By partnering with organic sector business leaders, the fund addresses the need for new organic producers through investing in organic agriculture education. Beginning in grade-school classrooms, extending through high school, and into higher education and vocational studies, this year the national fund will award: 25 grants to ​K-8 teachers who integrate organic agriculture into their curriculum through a special partnership with the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom. 25...
Written by Jon Knapp on Monday, January 5, 2015 on Employment

The California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC) is currently hiring for multiple vacancies. Please note that these committee positions are three year terms with no compensation — travel expenses are covered. The current vacancies include: Six Producer Alternates Two Processor Alternates Two Consumer Representative Alternates Two Technical Representative Alternates One Retail Representative One Wholesale Alternate Additionally, they’ll be hiring for positions that will become vacant on November 15, 2015. These positions are: Three Producer Members One Processor Member One...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, December 15, 2014 on genetic engineering, labeling and packaging, policy

The federal agency in charge of the nation’s commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products recently implemented a procedure that allows labels for certified organic meat and poultry products to include a “Non-Genetically Engineered” statement. The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)—a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)—unveiled a 3-step procedure for the labels earlier this year. The first step is for a company to write a letter to FSIS on the company letterhead that includes the FSIS approval number for their current organic label, a copy of the label, and the...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, December 8, 2014 on food safety, policy

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is accepting public comments on its recently updated food safety rules now through December 15. To comment, CCOF highly recommends that you use the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s (NSAC) comment template and instructions. 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...
Written by Jane Sooby and Kelly Damewood on Monday, December 8, 2014 on policy

Historically, few crop insurance options existed for diversified organic farms. Now, under a new policy called Whole-Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) diversified farms can insure crops, livestock, nursery, and greenhouse crops under one comprehensive policy. Until WFRP, diversified organic farms could not take full advantage of crop insurance policies. Individual policies and price elections were often not available for organic crops or for the counties where the crops were grown. Additionally, highly diversified farms could not justify the expense of separate insurance policies for each type...
Written by Laura McKissack on Monday, December 1, 2014 on CCOF

Happy holidays! CCOF will be closed Wednesday, December 24, and will reopen Monday, December 29. We will also be closed January 1-2. Please allow additional time for processing requests during this holiday season. We look forward to working with you in 2015 and wish the best for your business and family in the new year.
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, December 1, 2014 on policy, seeds


We need your help gathering data on organic seed use! The Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) is a non-profit organization focused on furthering on-farm breeding through education and advocacy. Their work is informed by organic farmer experience with seeds, which they collect through a survey. OSA is now gathering data from organic farmers in California. Please take the survey. For organic farmers, something as basic as buying seed can be an annual challenge. Organic farmers must use organic seed, and seed industry consolidation has resulted in a drastic reduction of seed varieties available in the...
Written by Laura McKissack on Monday, December 1, 2014 on events, export

Next week, the Western United States Agriculture Trade Association (WUSATA), in partnership with California Department of Food and Agriculture and the Centers for International Trade Development, will provide an overview of export resources and training for interested food businesses. This event will be held on Tuesday, December 9 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the California Department of Food and Agriculture: 1220 N Street – Main Auditorium, Sacramento, CA 95814. Registration is required. The program will include an overview of WUSATA's Branded Program (matching funds program for export...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, November 24, 2014 on genetic engineering, policy


CCOF joined individuals and groups representing some 57 million Americans in signing a letter that warns citizens, politicians, and regulators in the United Kingdom and in the rest of the European Union about the hazards of genetically modified crops (GMOs). The letter describes the history of GMOs in the United States, including the struggle of farmers and concerned citizens to increase oversight and regulation of GMO crops. The letter not only points out environmental concerns, but it also notes that GMO drift continues to plague non-GMO producers across the United States. CCOF proudly...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, November 24, 2014 on policy, water

Farmers and ranchers statewide must submit water test results and develop nutrient management plans for their land holdings under California state law. Why these regulations exist: In 1969, California passed the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act, which gave the State Water Resources Control Board authority over the state’s water rights and water quality policy.1 Porter-Cologne also established nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards (RWQCBs) to manage water quality on a regional basis. The regional boards are responsible for preparing and updating Basin Plans for their geographical...
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...

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