Blog posts by State Organic Program

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, May 15, 2017 on policy, State Organic Program

The California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC) met in Sacramento on May 3 to discuss a range of organic issues.   California’s Secretary of Food and Agriculture Karen Ross made a flurry of appointments to the committee over the past few months, including appointing President of CCOF Certification Services, LLC Jake Lewin, to the new certifier seat on COPAC. All but one of the primary seats are now filled. A technical representative seat is still open.   COPAC advises the secretary on organic issues. Since passage of the California Organic Food and Farming Act last year, COPAC’s...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, May 1, 2017 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

California Secretary of Food and Agriculture Karen Ross recently appointed several CCOF members and President of CCOF Certification Services, LLC Jake Lewin to the California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC). COPAC is a 15-member committee, which advises the secretary on administration of the California State Organic Program (SOP) as well as education, outreach, and technical assistance for organic producers. Lewin is the first appointee to COPAC’s new certifier seat. He will bring over 20 years of organic certification experience and leadership to the committee. Lewin’s expertise...
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 Jane Sooby on Monday, February 6, 2017 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

On January 26, the California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC) held its first meeting of the year where it welcomed six new committee members and elected Mindee Jeffery of Good Earth Natural Food as committee chair. COPAC advises the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) on organic issues. Current Secretary Karen Ross recently appointed six new members to the committee, including three producer seats, two alternate producer seats, and an environmental seat. Several seats remain open for appointment, including a processor seat, a newly created...
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 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 Kelly Damewood on Monday, September 26, 2016 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

On Wednesday, September 21, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1826–the California Organic Food and Farming Act (COFFA)–into law! COFFA was sponsored by CCOF and authored by Assemblymember Mark Stone to streamline State Organic Program registration for thousands of organic farmers throughout California. The unwavering support of CCOF members helped COFFA sail through the California State Assembly and Senate with unanimous support in favor. Passage of COFFA will: Eliminate duplicative paperwork for certified organic farmers by allowing accredited certifying agents like CCOF to...
Written by Jane Sooby on Friday, September 2, 2016 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

The California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC) will meet this Wednesday, September 7, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. in Sacramento, California. COPAC advises the California Secretary of Food and Agriculture on organic-related issues. The public is welcome to attend. Items on the meeting agenda include: An update on the state’s pilot GMO testing program A legislative update on the California Organic Food and Farming Act An Organic Input Materials Program update Animal welfare standards and the California State Veterinarian comments on them An update on the organic checkoff program The...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 22, 2016 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

The California State Board of Food and Agriculture is now updating its strategic plan, Ag Vision, developed eight years ago for the state’s agriculture and food systems. An online survey is gathering public input into the plan through August 26. We encourage the organic community to participate in the survey so that the organic perspective is well-represented in the findings. Share your thoughts and take the survey!
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, July 5, 2016 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

Track the progress of the AB 1826—California Organic Food and Farming Act, AB 1826—and read the current bill language. AB 1826 is CCOF-sponsored legislation that was introduced by California Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay) in February. The bill is currently in the California Senate Appropriations Committee, where it is scheduled to be heard August 1. AB 1826 will: Eliminate duplicative paperwork for certified organic producers. Reduce or cap California State Organic Program fees. Update the role of the California State Organic Program to support organic agriculture through...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, June 27, 2016 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

“The bill is out, congratulations.” California state senator Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton), chair of the California Senate Committee on Agriculture, spoke these words as the committee voted AB 1826, the California Organic Food and Farming Act, out of committee on June 21. AB 1826 now heads to the California Senate Appropriations Committee. CCOF-sponsored AB 1826, authored by Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay), will reform California’s State Organic Program to eliminate redundant paperwork, reduce or cap program fees, and allow the program to support the organic sector through...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, June 20, 2016 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

Due to overwhelming support from CCOF members, the California State Assembly voted to approve Assembly Bill (AB) 1826—the California Organic Food and Farming Act—and forward it to the California Senate. Please join the 235 individuals and businesses who publicly support AB 1826. Write your senator today and show your support! The bill is expected to be voted out of the California Senate Committee on Agriculture this week and then move to the Senate Committee on Appropriations. The California Organic Food and Farming Act (AB 1826) will: Eliminate duplicative paperwork for certified organic...
Written by Rachel Witte on Monday, June 20, 2016 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

The California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC) is a 15-member committee that advises the California Secretary of Agriculture on California’s State Organic Program’s enforcement activities. The members are made up of six producers (at least one producer of meat, fowl, fish, dairy products, or eggs); two processors; one wholesale distributor; two consumer representatives; one environmental representative; two technical representatives with scientific credentials related to agricultural chemicals, toxicology, or food science; and one retail representative. Each member on the...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

A crucial milestone in the California Organic Food and Farming Act’s progress occurred on Friday, May 27, when the bill, AB 1826, was forwarded out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Chaired by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, the Appropriations Committee is responsible for assessing the fiscal impact of all bills. Many CCOF members sent letters of support to Assemblymember Gonzalez and helped move the bill out of committee. The next stop for AB 1826 is the floor of the California Assembly. A vote may be scheduled as soon as Tuesday, May 31. Once it passes the Assembly, it will go...

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