This year, 2022, has been a banner year for California statewide investment in organic transition. The state budget allocated $5 million to create an Organic Transition Program; the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) awarded $1.85 million to the University of California Organic Agriculture Institute to increase organic technical assistance; and CDFA is also reserving $6 million to support organic planning under the new Conservation Agriculture Planning Grants Program. Combined, this is an unprecedented level of investment in organic agriculture.
CCOF has been steadily advocating for more state-level investment in organic transition, including partnering with Assemblymember Brian Maienschein on AB 2499. This bill would have complemented the $5 million Organic Transition Program funding by setting guidelines for the program's structure and funding a statewide market analysis of the organic sector.
We’ve learned many lessons from the CCOF Foundation’s Organic Transition program, and we advocated for AB 2499 to incorporate many of the same offerings from our program: direct assistance to farmers and ranchers, technical assistance, mentorship support, and market development. AB 2499 also prioritized funding historically disadvantaged communities.
AB 2499 passed the California State Assembly on May 25, but unfortunately did not advance out of the California Senate Appropriations Committee. Although it did not become law, the content of AB 2499 provides valuable input since it includes proven strategies for organic transition that have already received bipartisan support.
CCOF will continue to work closely with CDFA to support the design of an Organic Transition Program that reduces barriers and promotes success for those transitioning to organic agriculture.
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