Blog posts by advocacy

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, July 25, 2016 on advocacy, general organic, policy, research

The Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania began a side-by-side comparison of organic and conventional farming back in 1981. Today, the data collected in Rodale’s Farming Systems Trial show that organic farming produces competitive yields, builds higher levels of soil organic matter, retains more soil moisture, and is more profitable compared to conventional practices. The Farming Systems Trial also suggests that organic systems produce higher yields than conventional under drought conditions. Yield data from five years when rainfall was below average showed that organic corn yielded 31 percent...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, July 18, 2016 on advocacy, grower, policy

CCOF is accepting applications for appointment to the Organic Trade Association (OTA) Farmers Advisory Council (FAC). Applications are due August 5, 2016. FAC provides the OTA Board of Directors and staff with critical input from small- and medium-sized organic farmers, ranchers, and growers on matters pertinent to the advancement of organic agriculture, with a specific focus on OTA’s policy agenda. Under the terms of CCOF and OTA’s strategic partnership, the CCOF Board of Directors may appoint up to five farmers to FAC. FAC members must participate in quarterly conference calls. Additionally...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, July 11, 2016 on advocacy, genetic engineering, policy

By a 63-30 bipartisan vote, the United States Senate approved a federal GMO labeling bill introduced in June by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Republican Pat Roberts of Kansas and ranking Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. Roberts and Stabenow have been publicly working on the terms of the bill since early this year in response to a federal bill that would have prohibited mandatory labeling and Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling requirements that took effect July 1 (with a six-month grace period). The labeling bill sparked heated debate among organic leaders, consumer and...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Tuesday, July 5, 2016 on advocacy, grower, policy

CCOF is accepting applications for appointment to the Organic Trade Association (OTA) Farmers Advisory Council (FAC). Applications are due August 5, 2016. FAC provides the OTA Board of Directors and staff with critical input from small- and medium-sized organic farmers, ranchers, and growers on matters pertinent to the advancement of organic agriculture, with a specific focus on OTA’s policy agenda. The CCOF Board of Directors may appoint up to five farmers to FAC under the terms of CCOF and OTA’s strategic partnership. FAC members must participate in quarterly conference calls. Additionally...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Tuesday, July 5, 2016 on advocacy, NOP, policy, regulatory

On June 20, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California held that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) did not properly issue guidance on the allowance of green waste in compost used for organic production. USDA has 60 days to appeal the decision. The ruling is the outcome of a federal lawsuit filed against USDA that challenges the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) guidance on the allowance of green waste in organic production systems. The Court held that USDA did not properly issue the guidance because it did not provide for public notice and comment. The Organic...
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 Kelly Damewood on Wednesday, June 29, 2016 on advocacy, genetic engineering, labeling and packaging, policy

Last week Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Republican Pat Roberts of Kansas and ranking Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Michigan introduced a federal GMO labeling bill. The Organic Trade Association (OTA) worked closely on the bill and released a statement outlining its position in support. CCOF has not taken a position on the bill, and we are monitoring its progress closely. CCOF supports mandatory labeling of agricultural GMOs and their products. Labeling of GMO seed, products grown from GMO seed or stock, and products made with ingredients and byproducts of GMO crops is necessary for...
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 Guest Blogger on Monday, June 27, 2016 on advocacy, genetic engineering, labeling and packaging, policy

For years, the Organic Trade Association has supported efforts to bring federal mandatory GMO labeling to the United States. Senators Roberts and Stabenow have introduced a federal labeling bill that not only requires disclosure of GMO ingredients, but also includes important provisions that are excellent for organic farmers and food makers – and for the millions of consumers who choose organic every day - because they recognize, unequivocally, that USDA Certified Organic products qualify for non-GMO claims in the market place. Those provisions safeguard USDA certified organic as the gold...
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 Jane Sooby on Monday, June 20, 2016 on advocacy, livestock, policy

Please send a letter to your U.S. senator today and urge them to vote NO on any amendments to the Agriculture Appropriations bill that interferes with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) ability to keep organic animal welfare standards strong. Send an electronic letter directly to your senators. Here’s the issue: The National Organic Program (NOP) released a Proposed Rule on Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices in April. This proposed rule addresses a wide range of issues raised by the National Organic Standards Board, the federally-empowered advisory body to the Secretary...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, June 20, 2016 on advocacy, materials and inputs, policy

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is holding a hearing on July 5, 2016, in Sacramento on proposed changes to the law that regulates fertilizer production and sales in California. CDFA is also accepting comments on these proposed changes through June 27, 2016. Proposed changes include: A list of ingredients in decreasing amounts is required for packaged soil amendments and organic input material (OIM) bulk soil amendments. Liquid OIMs with a nitrogen guarantee greater than 3 percent must submit an OIM inspection report annually. The Secretary of Agriculture will...
Written by Rachel Witte on Monday, June 20, 2016 on advocacy, policy

This week the California State Legislature sent the fiscal year 2016-17 budget to Governor Jerry Brown without deciding how the state would spend billions in climate change investments. Among the programs waiting for a decision on funding are the Healthy Soils Initiative, the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP), the Dairy Methane Program, and the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program. What gives? The cap-and-trade program was created under California’s climate change law, AB 32. Cap-and-trade limits greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the biggest polluters in...
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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