Blog posts by advocacy

Written by Zea Sonnabend on Tuesday, January 17, 2017 on advocacy, pests and pesticides, policy


The stakes are high in the fight to save California citrus from the threat of Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) and the disease it spreads, Huanglongbing (HLB) (also known as citrus greening). In Florida, more than 90 percent of commercial citrus trees are estimated to have HLB, and there has been a 70 percent decline in production, with an economic impact of $7.8 billion. California growers and government have invested heavily in trying to contain the spread of the pest and disease. Because of this, and somewhat because of the varied geography of California compared to Florida, the pest has not...
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 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 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 Jane Sooby on Monday, November 21, 2016 on advocacy, NOSB, policy

The fall 2016 National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting opened with the announcement of five new appointees to the federal advisory committee. The NOSB was established by the Organic Foods Production Act to advise the National Organic Program on materials allowed in organic production and other organic issues. It is composed of 15 volunteers from around the country and includes four organic farmers; two handlers; three experts in environmental protection and resource conservation; three representatives of public interest or consumer groups; an expert in toxicology, ecology, or...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, November 21, 2016 on advocacy, materials and inputs, policy

The deadline to comment on the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) proposed rules on pesticide applications near schools has been extended to December 9, 2016. The rules may affect your operation. They propose to restrict pesticide applications via aircraft, airblast sprayer, sprinkler chemigation, or in the form of a dust, powder, or fumigant to ¼ mile from a school site between the hours of 6:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. During those same hours, ground-rig spray, field soil injection, and drip or flood chemigation applications must be applied at least 25 feet...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, November 14, 2016 on advocacy, NOSB, policy

The fall 2016 National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting will be held November 16-18 in St. Louis, Missouri. This biannual meeting impacts which materials producers can use in organic production. After reviewing public comment and hearing testimony at the meeting, NOSB will make recommendations on standards and materials to the National Organic Program (NOP). The agenda for the fall NOSB meeting includes the review of a diverse set of materials, including carrageenan used in organic processing and copper sulfate used in organic rice production. NOSB will also discuss numerous other...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, November 7, 2016 on advocacy, materials and inputs, policy

California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is accepting written comments and holding three public hearings on proposed rules that will more strictly regulate pesticide applications near schools. The new rules restrict pesticide applications to ¼ mile or 25 feet from school sites between the hours of 6:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, the distance depending on the application method and the type of pesticide. Property owners must provide both annual and application-specific notification to schools in advance of all pesticide applications. Read the text of the rules. Learn...

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