From Field to Forum

Written by Josaphine Stevenson on Monday, March 13, 2017 on CCOF Foundation, FOFGF Vocational & Higher Ed, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, future organic farmers


Joshua Dransfield was born and raised on a dairy farm in Gap Mills, West Virginia. He graduated from James Monroe High School with honors in August 2015, where he played football and baseball and was a member of 4-H and FFA. During his FFA tenure, Dransfield was named the national first place at the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Grasslands Contest in Missouri. He also represented his state as a member of the 2015 Dairy Judging Team, competing in Madison, Wisconsin, and Louisville, Kentucky. In fall 2015, he enrolled in West Virginia University. After finishing his first semester there, Dransfield...
Written by Adrian Fischer on Monday, March 6, 2017 on AC 2017, CCOF Foundation, events

CCOF hosted over 200 participants at our Annual Meeting and Conference, in Visalia, California on February 9 and 10. Conference attendees, representing a broad spectrum of the organic community, gathered to hear about innovations and inspiration in the organic sector. Keynote speaker Gary Hirshberg gave an insightful speech about the are new opportunities for organic posed by this moment in our country’s history. He called upon those in the room to join with the larger organic community to champion organic with a unified voice. “Organic is about building the next generation of hope,” he said...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 6, 2017 on advocacy, funding, policy, water

The State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) offers agricultural operations in California up to $100,000 to invest in irrigation systems that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save water. As noted in a previous CCOF blog entry, SWEEP funds can be used to install the following: Weather-, soil-, or plant-based sensors for irrigation scheduling Micro-irrigation or drip systems Conversion of a diesel pumps to solar, wind, electric, or natural gas Improved energy efficiency (e.g., retrofitting or replacing pumps) Low pressure irrigation systems Variable frequency drives to...
Written by Josaphine Stevenson on Monday, March 6, 2017 on CCOF Foundation, FOFGF Vocational & Higher Ed, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, future organic farmers


Parvati Brown was born in a small farming community in Nepal, where age-old, animal-based organic farming practices endured for centuries. Within her lifetime she witnessed the dramatic shift toward the convenience of modern day synthetic chemical-based farming practices. Initially, the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides provided bigger yields from their fields than ever before. However, over the years this method had a negative impact on the overall health of the soil and the community. Brown is now a full-time horticulture student at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz, California,...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 6, 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 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)....

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