From Field to Forum

Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, August 29, 2016 on advocacy, policy, water

Farmers and ranchers in California must submit water test results and develop nutrient management plans for their landholdings under the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program. How California Regulates Water Quality in Relation to Irrigated Lands California’s nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards (RWQCB) manage water quality on a regional basis. RWQCB responsibilities include regulating all pollutant discharges that may impact surface or ground water quality. In 2003, California created the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program to address wastes discharged from agricultural irrigated lands,...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, August 29, 2016 on advocacy, policy, regulatory

AB 1066, the Phase-in Overtime for Agricultural Workers Act of 2016, is a bill authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) that would set new overtime pay requirements for California farm workers. The bill is sponsored by United Farm Workers (UFW), which argues that farm workers are unfairly excluded from federal wage protections and maximum hour standards. According to bill supporters, farm workers do not receive fair pay and yet have one of the most physically demanding occupations. Many agricultural groups oppose the bill, including the California Farm Bureau Federation and the...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 29, 2016 on advocacy, general organic, policy

A public roundtable on October 20 in Washington, D.C., will consider the findings of a new study on consumer understanding of which products are covered by the organic label. The roundtable will feature invited panelists including consumer advocates, organic representatives, and academics. It will be free and open to the public. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in response to industry requests, conducted a study to assess consumer response to “organic” labels on products that fall outside the scope of the federal National Organic Program. The survey looked at how consumers responded to...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 29, 2016 on advocacy, policy, regulatory

The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Medical Cannabis Cultivation Program (MCCP) is conducting a series of workshops to gather public input on a licensing program for medical cannabis cultivators. Eight workshops will be convened at various locations in the state beginning September 13, 2016. The full schedule is online. The MCCP was created this year in the wake of the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, passed in 2015 by the state Legislature. A first step for the program is to create a Programmatic Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) that assesses the program’s...
Written by Jessy Beckett Parr on Monday, August 22, 2016 on education, events, livestock

Join CCOF to hear about the costs and benefits of organic certification at the Holistic Management International’s (HMI) Cultivating Community conference in Paicines, California, on October 16. The conference will offer thought-provoking presentations, on-the-ranch learning, unforgettable landscapes, and local, nutritious food. Some of the many topics include: Harnessing the power of livestock through holistic planned grazing; How holistic management benefits our agricultural entrepreneurs; and How to create profit in any business. Val Davis, CCOF’s farm program manager, will talk about how...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 22, 2016 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

The California State Board of Food and Agriculture is now updating its strategic plan, Ag Vision, developed eight years ago for the state’s agriculture and food systems. An online survey is gathering public input into the plan through August 26. We encourage the organic community to participate in the survey so that the organic perspective is well-represented in the findings. Share your thoughts and take the survey!
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, August 22, 2016 on advocacy, policy

Our State Legislature is taking on the future of California’s climate change laws and we need you to weigh in! Will California continue to embrace increased renewable energy production, smart growth that protects our farmland, and sustainable agricultural solutions to climate change? Or will the oil industry prevail and prevent needed solutions to greater weather extremes and rising temperatures? Your calls or emails to your Assemblymember are needed today. Let your representative know you support Senate Bill 32 (D-Pavley), which extends California’s climate change law to the year 2030, and...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 22, 2016 on advocacy, policy, research

The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) has completed its analysis of federally-funded organic research projects and released the findings in the report Taking Stock: Analyzing and Reporting Organic Research Investments 2002-2014. OFRF analyzed 189 organic research projects that were funded by USDA’s Organic Research and Extension Initiative and Organic Transitions competitive grants over the course of 13 years, representing $142.2 million of research funds. About 70 percent of the studies looked into organic crop production, another 20 percent examined crop-livestock systems, and 10...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, August 15, 2016 on pests and pesticides, research


Cole Crops

As part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service’s efforts to develop a biological control program for the bagrada bug, the laboratory of Dr. Brian Hogg at the USDA in Albany, California, is investigating whether any native predators or parasitic wasps attack bagrada bug eggs. The laboratory is currently looking for organic farms growing cole crops in the Central Valley to include in its survey. Any cole crops will work for the study, although fields with a history of bagrada bug infestation would be ideal. The study involves placing frozen bagrada bug eggs (...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 15, 2016 on marketing, organic market

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has integrated organic price data into its market news reporting system. AMS price data reporting helps organic producers assess markets and establish price points for their products. These data are a useful resource for those who are considering entering the organic marketplace and are formulating a business plan. The information also assists buyers and processors who need to know the price of raw materials they use in their products. AMS issues a daily report on organic specialty crop prices based on information...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 8, 2016 on materials and inputs, NOP, standards

The National Organic Program is removing the following materials from the National List: egg white lysozyme; cyclohexylamine; diethylaminoethanol octadecylamine; and tetrasodium pyrophosphate. The rule goes into effect Sept. 12, 2016. Organic products made with these materials that are already in the stream of commerce can still be sold as organic after the effective date, but products manufactured on or after Sept. 12 may not be made with these substances. For questions about how this rule may impact your operation, contact your Certification Service Specialist. For general questions...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 8, 2016 on livestock

A new report from the Organic Center, Organic Food and Farming as a Tool to Combat Antibiotic Resistance and Protect Public Health, addresses the problem of the widespread use of antibiotics in conventional animal production, which threatens human health because it creates disease-causing organisms that are resistant to antibiotics. The report, written by Organic Center staffers Tracy Misiewicz and Jessica Shade, demonstrates that organic farming is the most effective way to address this problem, particularly in the absence of meaningful regulation of antibiotic use in conventional livestock...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, August 1, 2016 on advocacy, genetic engineering, policy, regulatory

Last Friday, President Barack Obama signed the GMO labeling bill into law. The president’s signature comes after the Senate passed the bill in a 63-30 vote, and the House passed it in a 306-117 vote. The new law will require mandatory labeling of GMOs on certain product labels. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) must now begin formulating regulations to implement the law.  CCOF is closely monitoring regulatory developments and will alert members and encourage the submission of public comment when the USDA releases proposed rules. For more information, contact CCOF Policy Director Kelly...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 1, 2016 on pests and pesticides


The disease-carrying pest Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) has moved north from southern California and now threatens the central and northern regions of the state. To combat the pest, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has increased areas under quarantine, mounted a comprehensive search-and-destroy effort, and is preparing to release swarms of psyllid-killing wasps to route the pest. ACP Impact and Challenges ACP carries a bacterium that causes a deadly disease in citrus trees and related tree species called huanglongbing or citrus greening disease. Infected trees first...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, August 1, 2016 on materials and inputs, NOP, regulatory

Last month, a court ruling invalidated a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) guidance regarding the allowance of green waste in organic systems (NOP 5016). The ruling was based on a determination that USDA violated administrative procedures when issuing the guidance. The final impact of this ruling on the use of compost will be determined in the future pending an appeal of the decision by USDA or the issuance of new guidance. More information will be made available in the coming weeks. CCOF is closely monitoring regulatory developments and will alert members...

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