From Field to Forum

Written by Josaphine Stevenson on Monday, July 10, 2017 on CCOF Foundation, FOFGF Vocational & Higher Ed, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, future organic farmers


Shawn Miller loves being a farmer! He grew up in the Midwest in a traditional farming community and loved being on the farm as a child, but quickly lost interest in growing only corn and soybeans. After high school, Miller moved to the West Coast and discovered a whole new world of agriculture. In 1999, Miller came across a CCOF booklet that contained a huge database of California farmers. He carried the book with him everywhere and used it to find his first farm jobs on organic farms. Since then, Miller has been farming all over the world to gather experience. He is currently farming a small...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, July 3, 2017 on education, general organic, policy

Applications for California’s highest environmental honor, the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Awards (GEELA), are now being accepted until August 11, 2017. GEELA honors individuals, organizations, and businesses that have demonstrated voluntary contributions in conserving California’s resources, protecting and enhancing the environment, building public-private partnerships, and strengthening the state’s economy.   Projects/programs must fall into one of five categories and subcategories: Climate change Ecosystem and land use stewardship Environmental education Sustainable...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, July 3, 2017 on advocacy, policy

The bill to create the California Beef Commission, AB 243, will be discussed at the next Judiciary Committee hearing on July 11, 2017.   CCOF does not have a position on AB 243 but will continue to track AB 243’s progress through the senate, as the creation of the California Beef Commission would affect members.   Supporters of AB 243 state that Californian cattle producers are interested in increasing the mandatory assessments on the sale of cattle but want to ensure that any increase in fees benefit California and Californian producers. Funds collected through the proposed check-off program...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, July 3, 2017 on advocacy, genetic engineering, policy, standards

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has released 30 questions for input from the public regarding GMO labeling (National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard). CCOF plans to respond to the proposed questions and encourages its members to also provide input to USDA. Submit responses to GMOlabeling@asm.usda.gov by July 17, 2017.   USDA is seeking input for a proposed rule on GMO labeling to fulfill its congressional mandate to implement a mandatory GMO labeling standard. The proposed rule is expected to be released for public comment in late fall or early winter. For more background, visit...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, July 3, 2017 on policy, regulatory, standards

The National Organic Program (NOP) has issued a memorandum in response to the National Organic Standards Board’s (NOSB) recommendations made at its spring 2017 meeting.    At their spring 2017 meeting in Denver, NOSB, the 15-member federal advisory committee that provides advice to USDA and the Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, recommended that L-Methionine, an essential amino acid, be added to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List). The National List includes allowed and prohibited synthetic, non-synthetic, and non-organic substances.    NOP responded to...
Written by Josaphine Stevenson on Monday, July 3, 2017 on CCOF Foundation, FOFGF Vocational & Higher Ed, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, future organic farmers


Jaynie Miller grew up in rural Michigan, where she spent much of her time outdoors, leading her to develop a deep love of the natural world. Later, as a college student in sustainability studies in the Sierra Nevada mountains, she discovered organic agriculture while volunteering one Saturday morning on a small farm. While peeling garlic on the farm, she had what she describes as her first and only major epiphany, realizing that farming could be a career that provides a meaningful bridge between modern life and the natural world. She has been farming ever since. Miller’s interests in organic...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, June 26, 2017 on general organic

Sand County Foundation, the California Farm Bureau Federation and Sustainable Conservation are accepting applications for the $10,000 California Leopold Conservation Award. The award honors California farmers, ranchers and other private landowners who demonstrate outstanding stewardship and management of natural resources. “The Leopold Conservation Award celebrates the people and places where innovative and creative thinking and experimentation are taking place,” said Judith Redmond of Full Belly Farm, recipient of the 2014 Leopold Conservation Award. “If you or a friend include conservation...
Written by Josaphine Stevenson on Monday, June 26, 2017 on CCOF Foundation, marketing

Update: Postcards are now sold out! Are your customers confused about what organic means? Order a complimentary batch of the 2017 “Why Buy Certified Organic?” postcards today! CCOF sends tens of thousands of “Why Buy Certified Organic?” postcards to farmers and other organic advocates to distribute at farmers’ markets, through CSA boxes, and supermarkets. We still have a few batches of this year’s card left. Share them with your customers and help educate them about what organic means so they can make informed decisions for themselves and their families! Get them while they last! For more...
Written by Josaphine Stevenson on Monday, June 26, 2017 on CCOF Foundation, FOFGF Vocational & Higher Ed, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, future organic farmers


Shelley Lewton enjoys working on small-acreage farms and creating community gardens. After several years working in elementary education, Lewton decided to begin an apprenticeship at the University of California, Santa Cruz to learn about organic farming, with hopes of beginning her own farm and ranch. She has a passion for helping people of limited income access healthy food and looks forward to actualizing her dreams. In her free time, Lewton enjoys hiking, swimming, and riding horses. Congratulations Shelley! Please join us in congratulating the recipients of the CCOF Foundation’s Future...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, June 19, 2017 on advocacy, policy, regulatory

USDA is accepting nominations for the environmental seat on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). Eligible candidates must have environmental protection and resource conservation backgrounds. The deadline to submit nominations is August 7, 2017.   Nominations must include a resume, an AD-755 Application form, and must be postmarked on or before August 7, 2017. Nominees must meet the criteria of NOSB membership, which includes having a general understanding of organic principles, practical experience in the organic community, demonstrated experience in the development of public policy,...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, June 19, 2017 on policy, regulatory

USDA has closed the comment period for the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) rule, which would strengthen and expand organic standards for animal welfare. CCOF submitted a comment  that explained the negative impacts to the organic community if the rule was further delayed, modified, suspended, or withdrawn, and called for the rule to be implemented.   The OLPP rule is the result of 14 years of stakeholder input. The rule ensures consistent, fair implementation of organic livestock standards. It reflects consumer expectation of organic products and organic principles. The rule...
Written by Josaphine Stevenson on Monday, June 19, 2017 on education, farmers markets

Are your customers confused about what “certified organic” means and why it’s important? CCOF’s popular Why Buy Certified Organic? cards will help educate your customers. Consumers are increasingly conscious about the quality and origins of the food they purchase. However in today’s market, with so many choices, it can be challenging to make informed decisions. These cards explain what “certified organic” means, and name the top reasons to buy certified organic foods. This campaign prints annually and distributes tens of thousands of postcards at farmers’ markets and supermarkets. Plus, each...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, June 19, 2017 on advocacy, policy, regulatory

The Farmer Equity Act of 2017 (AB 1348) passed out of the California Assembly and moved into the Senate on May 31, 2017. The bill, introduced by Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), would require the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to ensure the inclusion of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers in its policies and programs. CCOF supports the bill.    AB 1348 codifies the definition of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers and requires CDFA to provide support for members of socially disadvantaged communities. The bill defines socially disadvantaged...
Written by Meredith Kaufman on Monday, June 19, 2017 on advocacy, policy, regulatory

The House Agriculture Committee will hold its first of several listening sessions regarding the 2018 Farm Bill in a series titled “The Next Farm Bill, Conversations in the Field” in Gainesville, Florida on June 24, 2017. The series is intended to spark discussion among the committee and agricultural stakeholders regarding current programs in the farm bill.   “I’m looking forward to these events to help us get a better idea of how these programs are actually working, which will be beneficial as we look to potential changes in the next bill,” said Ranking Member Collin Peterson (MN-7).  Issues...
Written by Meredith Kaufman on Monday, June 12, 2017 on advocacy, policy

The United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry will be hosting a full committee hearing titled “Agricultural Research: Perspectives on Past and Future Successes for the 2018 Farm Bill” on Thursday, June 15, 2017 at 9:30 a.m. EST.     Research is a critical farm bill topic for organic farmers and ranchers who face unique production challenges. Public institutions like land grant universities rely on federal funds allocated in the farm bill to develop new production methods, inputs, pest controls, and weed management tools that are also compliant with national...

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