Despite many industry-wide challenges, CCOF’s certified dairies are demonstrating their strong compliance with organic standards through several measures of additional oversight.
- During the past three years, over 30 percent of our 58 certified dairies have received an unannounced inspection that was either random, for a specific cause, or part of our innovative Livestock Unannounced Compliance Initiative (LUCI) that involves observation of animals on pasture according to the operation’s grazing plan.
- CCOF also conducts records-based Pasture Compliance Feed Audit (PCFA) inspections. PCFA inspections occur in addition to an operation’s required annual inspection. They are either automatically required due to the complexity or size of an operation, or they are undertaken due to concerns around pasture availability, feed, or dry matter intake from pasture. CCOF has completed over 22 PCFA inspections over the past three years.
- In addition, the National Organic Program (NOP) has implemented the Livestock Organic Compliance Initiative, which includes additional unannounced, on-the-ground visits by federal and state organic program auditors to ensure ongoing compliance of both dairies and their certifiers.
With these increased measures, CCOF has been able to demonstrate the diligent, daily work of our dairies dedicated to organic principles.
To support our operations facing dire drought conditions this year, CCOF spearheaded a collaborative multi-state, multi-certifier application for a temporary variance on behalf of our certified ruminant operations throughout California and Oregon. The NOP granted this temporary variance throughout the 2021 grazing season, which requires that ruminants graze for at least 90 days and receive at least 20 percent dry matter intake from pasture. CCOF’s certified operations have thus far met or exceeded this updated requirement, and we appreciate the collaborative effort with organic certifiers and the Marin County Department of Agriculture in this process.
We understand that several additional factors are affecting the welfare of our certified livestock operations, such as a lack of access to slaughtering facilities, loss of contracts, and climate change. CCOF’s policy team has spearheaded a Meat Matters campaign that recognizes longstanding bottlenecks in the meat supply chain and seeks policy solutions toward improved infrastructure, on-farm slaughter allowances, training, and additional resources. The California Meat Processing Coalition, of which CCOF is a member, successfully targeted their efforts to get AB 888 signed into law, which allows goats, sheep, and swine to be slaughtered on the farm. On May 18, 2021, representatives from CCOF’s policy and livestock teams, as well as CCOF-certified livestock operations, presented a webinar for meat producers that addressed marketing strategies, organic labeling requirements, and the current lack of certified slaughtering facilities. This webinar is part of EcoFarm’s Dirt First! Conversation Series, and the recording can be found on EcoFarm’s website.
As we venture into 2022, CCOF awaits a final ruling on the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) and Origin of Livestock (OOL) so that we can proceed with implementation across our livestock and poultry operations. We are proud of the cross-organizational efforts of our inspection operations team, handler department, and policy team to ensure our initiatives are thoughtful, collaborative, and intentionally designed to simultaneously uphold the organic standards and meet the unique needs of our livestock clients. If you have any questions or concerns regarding CCOF’s livestock certification program, please reach out to Kelly Korman, livestock certification supervisor, at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at (831) 346-6316.