Blog posts by advocacy

Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, July 8, 2019 on advocacy, CCOF Foundation, education, general organic

Join the CCOF Foundation and the California Alliance of Farmers' Markets this summer for a series of webinars about organic certification geared specifically for farmers’ market managers.  Our fist webinar—Organic Certification 101 on July 22—will review the basics of organic certification for farms and highlight organic best practices for farmers’ markets. Jamie Collins of Serendipity Farms will lead the webinar. Drawing on her knowledge as an organic inspector and nearly two decades of organic farming experience, Collins will answer common questions about organic, including:What is organic?...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, July 1, 2019 on advocacy, biodiversity, general organic, research


Bonterra

As the buzz continues to grow about soil’s dynamic relationship with climate resilience, more and more organic growers are curious about how their farming practices can fit into the widespread push for climate solutions. Bonterra Organic Vineyards, based in Mendocino County, is one of them. In 2017-18, the acclaimed California vintner teamed up with Pacific Agroecology of Davis, California to study how their vineyard management practices affect organic carbon storage in soil and plants. Ultimately, the study measured carbon storage in Bonterra’s regeneratively farmed, organic, and Biodynamic...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, June 17, 2019 on advocacy, biodiversity, education, general organic, policy, research

Invoking the challenges American farmers have faced from increased weather extremes, Brise Tencer, the Executive Director of the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF), presented testimony last week to the U.S. House of Representative’s Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research during its hearing on Increasing Resiliency, Mitigating Risk: Examining the Research and Extension Needs of Producers. Tencer, who previously served as policy director at CCOF, cited OFRF studies that characterize organic farmers’ research needs. She explained how organic farming practices sequester...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, June 17, 2019 on advocacy, education, general organic

National Center for Appropriate Technology and National Farm to School Network Awarded USDA Cooperative Agreement to Help Producers Market to Schools  The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and the National Farm to School Network (NFSN) are pleased to announce their partnership with the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS) to develop farm to school trainings for agricultural producers. The goal of the partnership is to help agricultural producers build their capacity to launch or expand efforts to market to schools. Gwen Holcomb, director of...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, June 3, 2019 on advocacy, CCOF Foundation, education, food safety, regulatory

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) started its Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) inspections of produce farms this spring. Produce farms with more than $500,000 in average annual sales may be contacted by CDFA in 2019 for an inspection to verify the farm’s compliance with the FSMA Produce Safety Rule. What to Expect During an InspectionTo help orient growers to the FSMA inspection process, CDFA recently published information on what to expect during an inspection. The CDFA Produce Safety Program inspection procedures webpage includes information on the inspection...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, June 3, 2019 on advocacy, general organic, policy

Two CCOF-supported bills to streamline industrial hemp regulations in California have cleared their house of origin. Senator Scott Wilk’s (R-Santa Clarita) Senate Bill (SB) 153 received no opposition votes through the Senate and was voted into the Assembly. Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry’s (D-Winters) Assembly Bill (AB) 228 also did not receive opposition votes through the Assembly and was voted to the Senate. Both bills will now move through the senate and assembly before being sent to the governor’s desk for signature into law. SB 153 revises provisions regulating industrial hemp...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, June 3, 2019 on advocacy, biodiversity, funding, general organic

National Program The USDA is accepting applications for up to $12.5 million in grant funding for the adoption of innovative conservation projects on agricultural lands. The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) administers the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program, which funds projects in areas including soil health, irrigation efficiency, wildlife and pollinator habitat, water and air quality, greenhouse gas markets, on-farm energy use, and conservation finance.  NRCS will accept applications through July 29, 2019, for up to $2 million in funding per project. Applicants must...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 on advocacy, NOSB, policy

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will meet for its Fall 2019 meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on October 23-25. The meeting will include updates from various subcommittees, votes to retain or remove substances from the National List of Allowed & Prohibited Substances (National List), and votes on other proposals.  NOSB encourages public comments on proposals that will be discussed and voted on during the meeting. The deadline to submit written comments or requests for oral comment speaking slots is October 3. Opportunities for oral comments will be available via webinar on...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, May 20, 2019 on advocacy, biodiversity, general organic

Clean, transparent, fresh, sustainable. Environmentally friendly, animal humane, high quality, social activism. Those traits are all identified with organic, and in 2018 they all helped push organic sales to unprecedented levels. The U.S. organic market in 2018 broke through the $50 billion mark for the first time, with sales hitting a record $52.5 billion, up 6.3 percent from the previous year, according to the 2019 Organic Industry Survey released Friday by the Organic Trade Association. New records were made in both the organic food market and the organic non-food market. Organic food...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, May 20, 2019 on advocacy, education, general organic, pests and pesticides


strawberries

Joji Muramoto, a longtime research associate with University of California Santa Cruz, has been hired as the first University of California Cooperative Extension Specialist dedicated to organic agriculture. Muramoto will coordinate a statewide program focusing research on organic fruit and vegetable production. He will provide educational resources to producers on topics such as organic pest management and soil fertility. Cooperative Extension serves as a vital link between the University of California and the agricultural sector. Extension Specialists conduct research that addresses on-farm...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, May 20, 2019 on advocacy, CCOF, education, NOP

Last week the National Organic Program (NOP) launched the Organic Integrity Learning Center, an online platform that will provide free organic education geared towards certifiers, inspectors, reviewers, and compliance specialists. CCOF-produced videos were featured in a lesson titled “Sound and Sensible Organic Certification.” These videos were produced with a grant from USDA’s Sound and Sensible initiative to ease the process of transition and certification for producers. CCOF is proud to contribute content that highlights CCOF members and their practices in the new Learning Center.  The...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, May 20, 2019 on advocacy, general organic, policy

Organic producers can benefit from several crop insurance policies developed by USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) and purchased from local farm insurance agents. Crop insurance programs have become better suited to the needs of organic producers in recent years, with policies that allow producers to structure their policies based on their farms’ unique conditions. Organic Premium Price Elections now allow organic producers to hold crop insurance based on the price premium they would see in the market rather than the conventional commodity price. The number of crops with Organic Price Premiums...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, May 13, 2019 on advocacy, general organic, policy, research


cattle

On January 1, 2019, Senate Bill 965 created the California Cattle Council. The new council will be a representative organization comprised of members of the cattle and dairy industries. It will work on projects such as research, promotion, cooperation with agencies and industry groups, and the development of best management practices. Potential research projects relevant to organic producers include the improvement of efficiency and sustainability of the industry, regulatory compliance, and market research concerning public consumption patterns and trends.  As the organic markets for dairy...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, May 6, 2019 on advocacy, farm bill, funding, policy

The next deadline for Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) applications to be considered for funding this year is May 10, 2019. The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized this critical conservation program, though existing provisions from the 2014 Farm Bill will continue to apply for this fiscal year. “CSP helps agricultural producers in California take their conservation activities on their farm or ranch to the next level of conservation stewardship,” said NRCS California State Conservationist Carlos Suarez. While applications are accepted throughout the year, interested producers should act quickly...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, May 6, 2019 on advocacy, events, general organic, policy

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) will hold its annual Organic Week Event during the week of May 20, 2019. Each year, small- and large-scale growers, companies, researchers, and policy advocates convene in Washington for a week of organic networking, policy advocacy, and education.   Organic Week is comprised of three events: Member Day, Advocacy Day, and Conference Day. At last year’s Organic Week, CCOF members Javier Zamora of JSM Organics and Darrell Wood of Leavitt Lake Ranches spoke on panels. During Advocacy Day, CCOF members and staff joined in meetings with congressional...

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