From Field to Forum

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, February 27, 2017 on farm bill, policy

The United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry held its first 2018 Farm Bill hearing in Manhattan, Kansas, on February 23, 2017, kicking off what committee chair Pat Roberts (R-KS) characterized as the “farm bill journey.” The farm bill is a hefty piece of legislation passed by Congress every five years that sets the nation’s food and agriculture policies. Consisting of 12 major sections or titles, the farm bill sets the rules for commodity, conservation, trade, nutrition, credit, rural development, research, forestry, energy, horticulture, and crop insurance...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, February 27, 2017 on materials and inputs, NOSB

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) has released the list of substances up for review at their spring meeting in Denver, Colorado, on April 19-21, 2017. Members of the public are encouraged to submit public comment via www.regulations.gov using docket number AMS-NOP-16-0100-0001 by March 30, 2017. Oral comments will also be received in person at the meeting and through an online webinar occurring April 13, 2017. Those interested in giving an in-person comment at the meeting or through the webinar must register before March 30, 2017. NOSB reviews all substances on the National List of...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, February 27, 2017 on materials and inputs, NOSB

Your feedback is needed! Over the course of its next two meetings, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will review several of the fertilizers, pest control products, livestock treatments, processing aids, and ingredients currently allowed for use by certified organic operations, which are recorded in the National List of Allowed & Prohibited Substances (National List). These production and handling inputs will be reviewed and voted on by NOSB based on their Sunset timeline (renewal date), and may not be renewed if new information indicates these substances are incompatible with...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, February 27, 2017 on events

The Organic Trade Association is now accepting nominations for its annual prestigious Organic Leadership Awards, which recognize organic individuals who have made a significant difference to organic agriculture, industry and trade. For 2017, the award categories will once again be Growing the Organic Industry, Organic Farmer of the Year, and Rising Star. Think about the movers and shakers, the well-known and the unsung, and those who are playing an instrumental role in the organic sector. Nominees must have demonstrated skills, innovation, personal commitment, leadership, and vision to grow...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, February 27, 2017 on regulatory, water

The Central Coast Water Board will consider adoption of a new Agricultural Order at their March 7-9, 2017 meeting in Watsonville, California. The Agricultural Order is item number 6 on the agenda, which is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, March 7, at 8:30 a.m. The Water Board anticipates that the discussion will be completed by Wednesday, March 8. Spanish translation will be provided at the meeting. As noted in a previous blog post, the changes under consideration could result in significant new reporting requirements for all growers who produce commercial crops under irrigation, including...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, February 27, 2017 on CCOF Foundation, education, events, food safety

On Monday, produce growers from across Northern California gathered in Sacramento for a workshop on on-farm food safety. Taught by Atina Diffley—organic farmer and author of the book Turn Here Sweet Corn: Organic Farming Works—workshop participants put together action plans to address food safety on their individual operations. In building their plans, growers considered market needs, as well as the new federal food safety regulations. Particularly relevant to organic farmers, participants used maps of their farms to conduct field and land use risk assessments so they can balance on-farm...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, February 27, 2017 on CalCAN, policy

The Strategic Growth Council (SGC) and the Department of Conservation (DOC) recently released the draft program guidelines for the third round of funding for the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program (SALCP). Part of the council’s smart growth climate programs, SALCP funds easements on agricultural lands at risk of sprawl and rural ranchette development. The program also provides funding for local governments to adopt land use policies that protect at-risk agricultural lands. No significant changes were made this year to the draft program guidelines. While the draft program...
Written by Josaphine Stevenson on Monday, February 27, 2017 on CCOF Foundation, FOFGF Vocational & Higher Ed, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, future organic farmers


Growing up, Sierra Torres' mother never failed to come home after working all day to cook dinner for herself and her two brothers. She cherished the sense of community eating together brought to her family and the way it seemed to unite them. It is this feeling of comfort and warmth while cooking and eating with the people you love that has inspired Torres to do everything she can to make her community a healthy and sustainable place through food and agriculture. After spending four years working in the food industry–working in wide variety of roles from a line cook to a farm hand–she has...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 on advocacy, marketing, policy, research

The proposed organic check-off program is open for comment through March 20, 2017. CCOF members are strongly encouraged to comment. Comments should include any recommended improvements to the proposal as it is now published and whether the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) should move forward with putting the proposal to a nationwide referendum. About the Organic Check-off The proposed Organic Check-off program is projected to raise at least $30 million per year to fund organic research, technical assistance, and promotion of the organic brand. The funding would come from a...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 on advocacy, policy, water

In the wake of 2014’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), counties, water management districts, and other water agencies around the state are organizing regional groups to formulate plans by the year 2020 that will guide groundwater management with the goal of achieving sustainable use by the year 2040. SGMA is the first state law ever to regulate groundwater use in California. SGMA requires that a local Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) be created to manage the 127 high and medium priority groundwater basins identified by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR)....
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 on advocacy, cost share, financial assistance, policy, State Organic Program


The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) State Organic Program (SOP) is pleased to announce a federal funding opportunity of $12.5 million for eligible applicants under the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP). The SOP has applied to the Farm Service Agency (FSA) under the United States Department of Agriculture to assist in distribution of these funds. This money assists organic producers and handlers by offsetting costs related to SOP registration, certification, and transitional fees paid to certifiers as producers transition to organic. The cost share...
Written by Peter Nell on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 on advocacy, policy, regulatory

The California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation (BMCR) is now accepting applications for the Cannabis Advisory Committee. Applications are available online. The committee will advise the BMCR, California Department of Food and Agriculture’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing, and California Department of Public Heath’s Office of Manufactured Cannabis Safety on both the medical and adult recreational use of cannabis. Representatives from the cannabis industry, labor, state, and local agencies, public health experts, experienced individuals representing other...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 on advocacy, financial assistance, policy, water

Grant applications for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) are now being accepted through March 14, 2017. SWEEP provides financial assistance for farmers and ranchers to implement irrigation systems that save water and energy while reducing greenhouse gases on California agricultural operations. This week, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) announced an additional 22 grant application assistance workshops for farmers interested in applying to the program. The workshops are being hosted mostly by local Resource Conservation Districts and Extension...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 on advocacy, materials and inputs, NOSB, policy

The National Organic Program announced that two comment periods have been extended. Comments on the draft guidance on Calculating the Percentage of Organic Ingredients in Multi-Ingredient Products are now due April 7, 2017. CCOF urges all processor/handler members to review this draft guidance as it could impact product labels depending on how the calculations are made. CCOF will submit a comment on the draft guidance. Additionally, the comment period on changes to the National List for the 2017 Sunset period was also extended to April 19, 2017. Contact CCOF’s Policy Team for additional...
Written by Josaphine Stevenson on Monday, February 20, 2017 on CCOF Foundation, FOFGF Vocational & Higher Ed, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, future organic farmers


Akello Karamoko has always had a green thumb. He planted his first apple tree when he was 11 years old and sold peppermint and sage at his church at the age of 13. Farming as a career path was not on the minds of many of the children Karamoko grew up with in Detroit, Michigan, but he sought out programs to learn how to grow, plant, harvest, and sell his own organic crops. He participated in agricultural programs, including 4-H Gardens with Dr. Wesley Godfrey, Keep Growing Detroit's Urban Agriculture Youth Apprenticeship, the Food Warrior Program with Detroit Black Community Food Security...

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