CCOF Blog

Written by Adrian Fischer on Tuesday, September 15, 2020 on CCOF Foundation, financial assistance, general organic


Transition

It’s not always easy to transition to certified organic, and we don’t expect farmers to do it alone. That’s why we’ve partnered with Anheuser Busch and their Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Contract for Change program to provide financial support during the critical phase of becoming organic. The CCOF Foundation also offers a wealth of educational opportunities through our Organic Training Institute. Want to take your farm forward and transition to organic? Maybe you’re already practicing organic methods and needed that final incentive to get certified. Now is your chance to lessen the financial...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 on CCOF, crisis resilience, general organic


Resilience

Dear CCOF Family,2020 has been a wild ride. A national pandemic, a looming recession, a racial injustice reckoning, and now unprecedented wildfires sweeping through CCOF’s hometown of Santa Cruz, California and across Northern California.  But, despite it all, CCOF is stronger than ever before. We implemented successful emergency preparedness strategies, including securing our company and member data to ensure as little interruption in services as possible. Additionally, our skilled remote workforce ensures stability when staff and members experience geographic-specific natural disasters.We...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Tuesday, August 18, 2020 on general organic, NOP, policy

The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) released an official proposed rule for Strengthening Organic Enforcement (SOE). The proposed changes will constitute the most significant changes to organic regulations since the creation of the NOP.  Among other changes, the proposed rule will:Reduce the types of uncertified entities in the organic supply chain (importers, brokers, traders)Require the use of NOP Import Certificates for all organic products entering the United StatesClarify NOP oversight of certification activities, including that NOP oversight extends to the actions of any person...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Tuesday, August 18, 2020 on advocacy, financial assistance, general organic

California state legislative leaders and California Governor Gavin Newsom are considering how the state can assist communities in recovering from the coronavirus pandemic. As these conversations get underway, it is essential to promote food and agriculture as solutions to economic recovery. One of the ways the state can easily invest in California agriculture is through CDFA’s Healthy Soils Program. The program has been increasingly popular with the state’s farmers and ranchers, including organic farmers and ranchers. The Healthy Soils Program turns farm-based climate solutions into rural...
Written by Rebekah Weber on Tuesday, August 11, 2020 on advocacy, cost share, general organic, policy

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that they are reducing reimbursement rates for the Organic Certification Cost Share Program. Congress set the current reimbursement rates in the 2018 Farm Bill at 75 percent of the certified organic operation’s eligible expenses, up to a maximum of $750 per scope. FSA plans to lower the rate to 50 percent of eligible expenses, up to a maximum of $500 per scope. This reduction comes in the middle of a global crisis, at a time when it is critical to support our organic farms as essential to our recovery. Take action to save the Organic Certification...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, August 11, 2020 on advocacy, biodiversity, general organic, policy

Numerous scientific studies show that organic farming improves soil health and builds soil organic matter, which sequesters carbon in the soil and helps mitigate climate change.  This makes organic farming a good match for the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) Healthy Soils Program, which offers three-year grants to farmers and ranchers to implement conservation practices that build soil health, sequester carbon, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  CCOF has been working since last year to gain approval from CDFA to add an Organic Transition Option to the Healthy Soils...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Tuesday, August 11, 2020 on advocacy, CCOF, CCOF Foundation, policy

Dear CCOF Members and Supporters, Each summer, we write to you to tell you about all the things you’ve helped CCOF accomplish in the previous year. As we sit down now to reflect on 2019—in the middle of 2020 and the coronavirus pandemic—it almost feels like another lifetime ago with how much the world has changed in such a short time. But what we learned and achieved in 2019 can help us chart the path forward. We can’t know what healing and renewal for the world will look like after this crisis ends. But what I do know is that CCOF members will be there every step of the way to feed, nourish...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, August 11, 2020 on advocacy, biodiversity, general organic

CCOF Central Coast Chapter President Javier Zamora of JSM Organics was one of the featured panelists in the Climate of Hope Online Forum organized by Regeneración Pajaro Valley Climate Action, a climate justice organization based in Watsonville, California.  The Climate of Hope forum gathered experts to discuss how climate change is affecting agricultural communities, with a focus on farmworkers in the Central Coast’s Pajaro Valley.  California State University, Monterey Bay students presented the results of a community survey on climate change sponsored by Regeneración which found “the...
Written by Jane Wade on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 on CCOF, general organic

Have you ever been asked to make organic products? During these uncertain times it can be hard to envision change, but this might be the perfect time to consider adding organic products to your line. With the expanding consumer demand for organic products, brand owners are looking for co-packers to make their products and retailers are looking for organic versions of existing products.  The USDA organic regulations are not as complicated as they may seem. If you have a HAACP plan, SSOP, allergen control plan, or other traceability system, you already have the structure you need to handle...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 on general organic

The Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model has seen a resurgence since COVID-19. This mutually beneficial relationship provides the community with fresh harvested produce each week, supports the farmer with funds at the beginning of the season for growing their crops to harvest, and gives farmers the peace of mind knowing their crops are sold. The traditional CSA model requires the customer to pay in advance for a “share” in the farmer’s crops, over a period of 4 weeks, 12 weeks, or the full season.  During the pandemic, a CSA can be a good way to connect with your customers and be a...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 on advocacy, education, general organic, grower

A new technical but approachable guide developed by the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) offers small- and medium-scale organic growers valuable information on organic and sustainable seedling production. The 20-page guide describes how to effectively and efficiently grow vegetable and flower seedlings for organic operations using environmentally responsible practices. It offers an overview of greenhouse structures and basic cultural requirements and environmental management techniques to optimize germination and...
Written by Lulu Garcia on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 on advocacy, education, general organic, grower

Una nueva guía técnica, pero accesible, desarrollada por el Centro de Agroecología y Sistemas Alimentarios Sostenibles (CASFS), en la Universidad de California en Santa Cruz (UCSC), ofrece a los agricultores orgánicos a pequeña y mediana escala, información valiosa sobre la producción orgánica y sostenible de plántulas.   La guía de 20 páginas, describe cómo cultivar, de manera efectiva y eficiente, plántulas de hortalizas y flores para granjas orgánicas, utilizando prácticas ambientalmente responsables. Además, ofrece una visión general sobre las estructuras de invernadero y los requisitos...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 on biodiversity, general organic

What strategies do you implement in order to respond to climate change impacts? What regulations or programs have you found encourage or discourage you responding to the changes you face? My family’s involvement in agriculture through the dairy industry has long shown me that our farmers and farmland are essential to the livelihood of California and its people. A driving force of my research is to understand how climate change impacts agriculture, how the farmers involved in these businesses respond to those impacts through their actions, and why farmers make the decisions they do regarding...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Tuesday, July 28, 2020 on advocacy, CCOF, general organic, NOP

The Policy Team and Certification staff are gearing up for the release of proposed changes to the National Organic Program (NOP). While the official rule, called the Strengthening Organic Enforcement proposed rule, is not out yet, the NOP has released a pre-published draft and other resources on their website. OTA has also compiled a 10 page summary. We expect the proposed rule to:Reduce the types of uncertified entities in the organic supply chain (importers, brokers, traders)Require the use of NOP Import Certificates for all organic products entering the United StatesClarify NOP oversight...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Tuesday, July 28, 2020 on crisis resilience, financial assistance, general organic, producer

The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) is a USDA program that provides direct relief to producers who face economic losses due to COVID-19. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will accept applications for CFAP payments through August 28, 2020. According to USDA statistics, billions of dollars are still available for distribution to eligible applicants. Growers can apply online or download an application and fill it in. Detailed information on eligible crops, payment rates, and how to apply is on the CFAP website. USDA has added several previously ineligible commodities to the CFAP...

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