From Field to Forum

Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, January 9, 2017 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

On January 1, 2017, the CCOF-sponsored California Organic Food and Farming Act (COFFA) went into effect. This law updates the California State Organic Program (SOP) by streamlining registration for farmers, reducing registration fees for small organic farmers, and making changes to the role of the state’s organic advisory committee. Improved SOP Registration Process This year, organic farmers will immediately experience a significantly improved SOP registration and renewal process. Rather than report acreage and sales for each crop grown, farmers will only report six categories of crops and...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, January 2, 2017 on cost share, fees, financial assistance, State Organic Program

On December 21, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that certified organic producers will be able to apply for reimbursement of State Organic Program (SOP) fees as an additional scope of certification through the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (Cost Share). SOP fees are an additional cost of certification for organic producers operating in the state of California, where producers must pay SOP fees to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) in addition to paying fees to their accredited certifying agent. In 2016, CCOF worked with the...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, January 2, 2017 on research

The Drake University Agricultural Law Center is collecting data on farmer experiences with production contracts—legal agreements under which they care for poultry or livestock owned by another party or grow a crop under a contract. This survey is being conducted on behalf of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. Results will be used to prepare a new guide to help farmers better understand and utilize production contracts. The data we are collecting is important to provide new resources to farmers on production contracts. The survey should take participants less than 10 minutes to...
Written by Rachel Witte on Monday, December 19, 2016 on CCOF

As you gather close to family this time of year, our staff will be doing the same. Please note that the CCOF office will be closed for the holidays from December 26th through December 30th. We’ll be sure to get back to your messages and requests right away when we return. Thank you for your support of organic in 2016! Happy holidays!
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, December 19, 2016 on advocacy, policy, water

The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (Central Coast Water Board) is proposing to update its Agricultural Order (Ag Order), which may result in significant new recordkeeping requirements for some farms in the region.1 Impacted farmers can submit a comment by January 3 or attend an upcoming public hearing on March 7-9, 2017, at the Watsonville City Council Chambers. Spanish translation will be provided at the meeting. Background The California state Irrigated Lands Program regulates discharges from irrigated agricultural lands statewide. Each of the state’s nine regional water...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, December 19, 2016 on advocacy, general organic, policy

Based on data collected from organic certifiers, the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service just released a summary of organic statistics from 2014 and 2015. The summary includes data on certified organic crop and livestock operations. It shows that the number of certified organic operations increased from 13,174 in 2014 to 14,861 in 2015, a growth rate of 13 percent. Certified organic pasture and rangeland acreage increased by 47 percent, from 1,467,874 acres in 2014 to 2,160,764 acres in 2015. Acreage of most organic crop types increased between...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, December 19, 2016 on advocacy, policy

The proposed mergers of Dow Chemical with DuPont, Monsanto with Bayer, and Syngenta with ChemChina could potentially reduce competition and farmers’ choices and will likely make inputs (including seeds and animal feed) more expensive. Join us in opposing this concentration of power by signing a sign-on letter on agrochemical and seed industry mergers. An alliance of environmental and farm groups, including Friends of the Earth, is asking for participation from all concerned constituents, but especially farmers, to make our voices heard. We are pushing for an investigation into and halt of the...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, December 19, 2016 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

The California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC) advises the Secretary of Food and Agriculture on issues related to organic standards enforcement and on support for organic agriculture in California through education, outreach, and other activities. CCOF encourages its members to consider applying to serve on COPAC. There are currently open seats for: 3 producers, 1 processor, 1 environmental representative, and 1 technical representative. Numerous alternate positions are also open. View the current COPAC roster online. Producer, processor, and wholesaler members must have...
Written by Madelaine Baer on Monday, December 12, 2016 on CCOF Foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, future organic farmers


On November 17, CCOF Foundation Trustees Allen Harthorn (Harpos Organics), Phil LaRocca (LaRocca Vineyards), and Malcolm Ricci (Bolthouse Farms), and CCOF staff Cathy Calfo, Jessy Beckett Parr, and Madelaine Baer visited with students, teachers, and parent volunteers at Pacific Elementary School in Davenport, California. All of Pacific School’s students are participating in the planting and care of a 16-tree organic fruit orchard, with a boost from their $1,000 grant from the 2016 Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund. The grant will cover the costs of tress, automated irrigation, and educational...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, December 12, 2016 on advocacy, pests and pesticides, policy

The fourth issue of Bagrada Bug News, a free newsletter dedicated to developing organic management strategies and biocontrol of the bagrada bug, is now available online. Bagrada bug, Bagrada hilaris, is an invasive stinkbug that first appeared in California in 2008. A prolific breeder with few organic control options, the pest has caused significant economic losses for organic growers, particularly in brassica crops such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and other mustard family members. CCOF joined with the California Department of Food and Agriculture to form a Bagrada Bug Working Group in...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, December 12, 2016 on advocacy, events, policy

Learn about the latest science, policy, and practice of climate-friendly farming in California at the CalCAN Summit on February 28 and March 1, 2017, in Davis, California. The Summit begins February 28 with a conference at UC Davis featuring a wide variety of workshops, plus keynote speakers California Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross and University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources Vice President Glenda Humiston. On March 1, participants will tour three innovative Yolo County farms that use integrated farming practices to improve soil health, increase...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, December 12, 2016 on advocacy, policy

The National Organic Program has issued a draft guidance "Calculating the Percentage of Organic Ingredients in Multi-Ingredient Products (NOP 5037)" that is available for public comment through February 6, 2017. Although the USDA organic regulations establish labeling categories for organic products based on the percentage of organic ingredients in the product, certifying agents have interpreted the requirements for calculating the percent of organic ingredients differently. The draft guidance clarifies the standards for calculating organic percentages for finished products, including multi-...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, December 5, 2016 on advocacy, materials and inputs, NOSB, policy

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) met in mid-November to hear public comment, vote on the 2018 Sunset Materials, and discuss and vote on various proposals. NOSB also held officer elections, and the board elected CCOF member Jesse Buie to serve as their new secretary. NOSB thanked outgoing members for their service, including CCOF member, inspector, and policy specialist Zea Sonnabend. Carmela Beck, representing Driscoll’s, also completed her term on the board. Proposals Passed by NOSB NOSB discussed and voted on seven proposals during the fall 2016 meeting. While most proposals...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, December 5, 2016 on advocacy, policy, regulatory, water

The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board has issued tentative Order # R5-2016-XXXX Waste Discharge Requirements General Order for Poultry Operations, which may impact organic poultry operations. The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board will be holding a hearing on December 5th and 6th in Rancho Cordova, for those that wish to comment on the proposed Order. The tentative order impacts poultry operations within the Region 5 Water Quality Control Board, which includes Modoc, Shasta, Lassen, Plumas, Butte, Glen, Colusa, Lake, Sutter, Yuba, Sierra, Nevada, Placer,...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, December 5, 2016 on funding

A major farmer and rancher funding opportunity is now available! USDA is currently accepting initial applications for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), a national program that rewards farmers for protecting and enhancing natural resources on their working lands. CSP funding includes expanded options for conservation activities and an increased minimum payment to help smaller-scale producers. Contracts may include a range of practices from cover crops and rotational grazing to ecologically-based pest management. Interested farmers should visit their local NRCS office to fill out a...

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