policy

Organic Trade Association Claims Hard-Won Victory in Check-Off Exemption for Organic

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 16, 2014) -- The Organic Trade Association (OTA) applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) announcement today of a proposed rule to exempt more organic farmers and handlers from paying into conventional commodity check-off programs, saying this is an important step that recognizes the organic industry’s unique needs, and lets the industry decide where its dollars are best spent.

Non-GMO Label Allowed for Organic Meat and Poultry Products

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.

Now is Your Chance to Comment on Food Safety Rules!

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:

New Crop Insurance Policy for Diversified Farms

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.

Seed a Challenge? Tell Us About It

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.

CCOF Signs “Living with GMOs: A Letter from America”

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.

Agricultural Orders Regulate California Irrigation Discharges

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:

A Timely Report on Public Breeding and Seed Varieties

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).

Guide to Federal Farm and Food Programs

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.

Last Call for Certification Cost Share

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.

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