COPAC Welcomes Newest Members and Chair

On January 26, the California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC) held its first meeting of the year where it welcomed six new committee members and elected Mindee Jeffery of Good Earth Natural Food as committee chair.

COPAC advises the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) on organic issues. Current Secretary Karen Ross recently appointed six new members to the committee, including three producer seats, two alternate producer seats, and an environmental seat.

Several seats remain open for appointment, including a processor seat, a newly created certifier seat, and numerous alternate seats. CDFA accepts applications on a rolling basis. To apply, fill out the application form and return it to Laurel Rudolph via email at laurel.rudolph@cdfa.ca.gov or by mail to 1220 N Street, Sacramento, CA 95814. A letter of recommendation is also required. CCOF policy staff are available to talk with you about serving on COPAC. Direct questions to policy@ccof.org.

At the January 26 meeting, COPAC elected Mindee Jeffery of Good Earth Natural Foods as the new chair of the committee, while presiding chair Melody Meyer of UNFI was elected as vice chair. CCOF salutes Meyer for her 12 years of service to COPAC, many of them as chair, and congratulates Jeffery on her new position as chair.

Other business at the meeting included an update from Danny Lee, Supervising Special Investigator at CDFA. Lee reported on 2016 enforcement actions and registration data.

Additionally, CDFA staff reported on the implementation of the California Organic Food and Farming Act (COFFA). As a result of this legislation, online State Organic Program (SOP) registration renewal has been reduced from between six and 30 forms (depending on the number of different crops grown) to two simple forms. Growers in attendance reported significantly reduced time spent renewing their registration.

COPAC also voted to approve recommendations made by an organic stakeholder work group that was tasked with evaluating SOP efficiency and responsiveness and formed two new subcommittees: one to explore the possibility of gathering extra data from registrants and one to work with SOP staff to develop a communications and outreach plan.

The next COPAC meeting will be Wednesday, May 3 at the SOP office, 2800 Gateway Oaks Drive, Sacramento, CA. CCOF will post more details as the date approaches. For more information on COPAC, contact the CCOF Policy Team.

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