Blog posts by advocacy

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, March 28, 2016 on advocacy, genetic engineering, policy

After pulling some political shenanigans in the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, committee chair Pat Roberts failed to gain the votes needed to move the anti-GMO labeling bill forward. The bill popularly known as the DARK Act—an acronym for Deny Americans the Right to Know—was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives last year and forwarded to the Senate. The bill preempts states’ ability to require GMO labeling of food products and creates a voluntary labeling system. Political observers note that politicians are feeling pressure to pass legislation to head off implementation of...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, March 28, 2016 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

CCOF is proudly sponsoring California Central Coast Assemblymember Mark Stone’s recently-introduced bill—the California Organic Food and Farming Act (COFFA), AB 1826. COFFA will update the California State Organic Program to cap fees, eliminate paperwork for certified organic producers, and create a state framework that better supports organic farmers and businesses. The California Organic Food and Farming Act, AB 1826, will: End redundant SOP registration paperwork for certified organic operations by requiring accredited certification agencies (ACAs) to annually submit to the state the same...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, March 14, 2016 on advocacy, financial assistance, grower, policy

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that new buffer plantings around organic fields are eligible for rental payments and cost-share if they are enrolled in 10-15 year conservation contracts. Part of the Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CCRP), the new organic option is open for sign-up throughout the year and is not subject to bidding and ranking processes. Instead, land is enrolled automatically if it qualifies for the program. According to the FSA, eligible practices include riparian buffers, wildlife habitat buffers, wetland buffers, filter...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, March 14, 2016 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

CCOF Board of Directors member and organic farmer Thaddeus Barsotti wrote an opinion piece supporting the California Organic Food and Farming Act (AB 1826) that was published in the Sacramento Bee on March 8, 2016. Writing, “There is no group of people who wish to maintain the integrity of the certified organic label more than farmers,” Barsotti presented the reasons he supports CCOF’s effort to reform California’s State Organic Program through legislation. He traces the history of the program back to the era before the federal government began to regulate organic with a set of consistent,...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, March 14, 2016 on advocacy, drought, policy

As a service to our members, CCOF maintains a regularly updated list of drought-related resources on its website. Newly posted information includes: The latest measurements from the California snowpack update The degree of drought in different parts of the state Notable weather-related statistics Potential for groundwater recharge on agricultural lands Additionally, the page provides information on financial assistance and other resources, scientific studies, drought news, and crop insurance options. If you have any drought-related news or questions, please contact CCOF Senior Policy...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, February 29, 2016 on advocacy, grower, pests and pesticides, policy

The Bagrada Bug Working Group has launched its first issue of the quarterly publication Bagrada Bug News. The Bagrada Bug Working Group is a collaboration between CCOF and researchers at CDFA’s Plant Health and Pest Prevention Services, UC Cooperative Extension, USDA-ARS, UC Davis, UC Riverside, and University of Arizona. The working group convened in 2015 to address the challenge of managing this emerging pest in organic mustard-family crop production. The working group’s first major activity was holding a public meeting in December 2015 in Salinas. Six scientific talks on bagrada bug...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, February 29, 2016 on advocacy, genetic engineering, policy

The DARK Act, a bill that would preempt states’ rights to require labels on foods made of or containing genetically modified (GM) crops, is slowly working its way through the federal legislative system. Passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last year, the Pompeo Act, unofficially known as the “Deny Americans the Right to Know” or DARK Act, is scheduled for introduction to the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee this week. The Ag Committee will review the bill and vote on whether to forward it to the full Senate for consideration. The status of this bill continues to be in flux, as it was...
Written by Rachel Witte on Monday, February 22, 2016 on advocacy, biodiversity, NOP, policy

On January 15 of this year, the National Organic Program (NOP) announced the final guidance on Natural Resources and Biodiversity Conservation for Certified Organic Operations. The guidance addresses one of the core principles of organic production: conserving natural resources and biodiversity. The USDA organic regulations require certified producers to maintain or improve natural resources on their farms. This guidance provides certifiers and certified producers with examples of production practices that support conservation principles and also comply with the NOP regulations. It also...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, February 8, 2016 on advocacy, food safety, policy

Wild Farm Alliance recently announced the release of the publication Co-Managing Farm Stewardship with Food Safety GAPs and Conservation Practices: A Grower's and Conservationist’s Handbook. The publication provides a resource for organic produce growers taking steps to address food safety on their farms, while continuing to conserve biodiversity and natural resources. FDA Food Safety Regulations Encourage On-Farm Conservation In November 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published the final Produce Rule of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). In the preamble of that FSMA...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, February 8, 2016 on advocacy, general organic, policy

The U.S. Department of Agriculture sent the 2015 Certified Organic Survey to all known organic farms in the United States earlier this year. This survey requests information on acreage, production, and sales for a variety of certified organic crop and livestock commodities. Of the many surveys organic farmers receive, this survey stands out in importance because the data collected will help determine the value for covered crop losses under federal crop insurance policies. Historically, crop insurance has only reimbursed organic producers for the value of their crops in conventional markets....
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, January 11, 2016 on advocacy, events, fees, policy, State Organic Program

Join CCOF at EcoFarm as we kick off our campaign to pass the Organic Farming Act—an act to end outdated State Organic Program fees and paperwork! California Central Coast Assemblymember Mark Stone will introduce the Organic Farming Act to update California’s state organic law. The Organic Farming Act will end unfair, duplicative, and outdated fees and paperwork while also creating a new framework for the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to support organic agriculture. To pass the Organic Farming Act, we need your help at two critical EcoFarm events. Attend the California...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, January 4, 2016 on advocacy, NOSB, policy


The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is a citizen advisory board that offers input to the National Organic Program on allowed materials and practices in certified organic production. Appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, the NOSB meets twice a year to review organic materials and policies. Secretary Tom Vilsack recently appointed six new members to the NOSB who will begin serving their terms in 2016. The new NOSB members are: Jesse Buie (pictured), organic producer representative, a CCOF-certified farmer in Mississippi with a distinguished background in health care...
Written by Zea Sonnabend on Monday, December 7, 2015 on advocacy, policy, research, seeds

It is a challenge for organic growers in California to find seed varieties that perform well in organic conditions, due to the fact that most plant breeding has been done for conventional production. This need for organic-specific vegetable varieties is being addressed by a new organic plant breeding project at the University of California, Davis, funded by a federal Organic Research and Extension Initiative grant. The project will focus on developing organic tomato, bean, and pepper varieties. Cultivars will be developed on CCOF-certified organic land at UC Davis’s student farm. The plan is...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, November 30, 2015 on advocacy, policy, regulatory, State Organic Program

Since the implementation of the national organic standards in 2002, CCOF members have expressed concerns that the California State Organic Program (SOP) duplicates the fee and reporting requirements of the USDA National Organic Program (NOP). In response to these concerns, CCOF wrote a comprehensive report in 2015 titled Review of the California State Organic Program. About the Report CCOF wrote the Review of the California State Organic Program in collaboration with an advisory committee to ensure input from a range of stakeholders, including organic producers, policy experts, and public...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, November 23, 2015 on advocacy, food safety, policy, regulatory

On Friday, November 13, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration published the final Produce Safety Rule of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The Produce Safety Rule establishes food safety standards for produce farms in the United States. Will the Produce Safety Rule impact my operation? The Produce Safety Rule includes requirements that address water quality, employee health and hygiene, wild and domesticated animals, manure and compost application, equipment, and buildings. For a run-down on the Produce Safety Rule and organic operations, see the Organic Trade Association’s response...

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