Blog posts by advocacy

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, September 21, 2015 on advocacy, policy

The Western Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education program (SARE) is seeking nominations or self-nominations for the following seats on its Administrative Council: Organic Farmer/Rancher Sustainable Farmer/Rancher Conventional Farmer/Rancher Tropical Farmer/Rancher NGO/Nonprofit Representative Nominations and self-nominations are being accepted until November 6, 2015. To apply, please contact Teryl Roper, Regional Coordinator at (435) 797-8698 or teryl.roper@usu.edu. SARE is a U.S. Department of Agriculture program that awards competitive grants conducted cooperatively by...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, September 14, 2015 on advocacy, materials and inputs, NOP, NOSB, policy

It’s that time of year again! Share your story and help shape the future of organic. NOSB Tentative Meeting Agenda Announced The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) recently announced the tentative agenda for the fall 2015 National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting to be held in Stowe, Vermont from October 26-29, 2015. Prior to the meeting, the USDA invites the public to comment on what should be included in and excluded from the organic standards. NOSB—a committee of certified organic farmers, processors, and other representatives—...
Written by Jane Sooby on Friday, September 4, 2015 on advocacy, drought, policy, water

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is updating the list of critically overdrafted basins in the state as part of its responsibilities under the new California groundwater management law, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014. The list of critically overdrafted basins and subbasins is open for comment through September 25, 2015. The draft list is online here, and the statewide map is posted here. Click on this link for more information and instructions on how to comment (scroll down to “Next Steps”). A basin is considered to be critically overdrafted if existing...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, August 31, 2015 on advocacy, food safety, policy, regulatory

Over the next few months, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will publish the final food safety requirements for produce farms and food processing facilities under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Many produce farmers and food processors that make food for people to eat will need to comply with the new food safety requirements.How did we get here? In 2011, President Obama signed FSMA in to law. FSMA represented the first overhaul to food safety practices in the United States since 1938.FSMA directed FDA to engage in public rulemaking to establish new food safety standards. In...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 31, 2015 on advocacy, financial assistance, policy

A new type of crop insurance, Whole-Farm Revenue Protection, may better serve highly diversified organic crop and livestock producers than traditional crop insurance policies. Rather than covering losses of a particular crop, Whole-Farm Revenue Protection covers all crops and livestock produced on a single farm. In response to suggestions made by CCOF’s partner organizations, the Organic Trade Association and its Farmers Advisory Council and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the Risk Management Agency (RMA) made a number of changes to the program since its initial release in...
Written by Zea Sonnabend on Monday, August 24, 2015 on advocacy, materials and inputs, NOSB, policy

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) approved removal of four materials from the National List, and the proposed rule that finalizes removal is now open for comment through August 31, 2015. Read the rule and submit a comment.Marsala wine and sherry wine were eligible for sunset removal and the NOSB voted these ingredients off the list at its fall 2014 meeting.Approval of the antibiotics streptomycin and tetracycline to control fire blight in organic apples and pears expired in October 2014, and the NOSB did not renew it. Growers who face increased disease pressure or economic losses...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 on advocacy, CCOF, events, policy


Edmund Gerald "Jerry" Brown, Jr.

On February 11, a dedicated group of individuals came together in Sacramento to represent and advocate on behalf of organic at CCOF’s Policy Day. Over 100 members of the organic community met with elected representatives and public officials to hammer home the message that organic is a significant and growing part of the California and national economy.The dedication and diversity among Policy Day participants was truly inspirational. The list of advocates included some of our longest certified members, new and beginning farmers, interested consumers, and people involved in food and...
Written by Jane Sooby and Kelly Damewood on Monday, January 12, 2015 on advocacy, marketing

Comment period extended to February 17, 2015. Comment now. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently proposed a rule that exempts more organic producers, handlers, and importers from paying into conventional commodity check-off programs. The rule is open for comment through January 15, 2015, and is expected to become law next year. The Proposed Exemption The proposed rule includes significant expansions to the organic exemption from federal check-off programs. It allows split operations, e.g. operations with both organic and conventional production, to seek exemptions. It also...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, January 12, 2015 on advocacy, policy, research, State Organic Program

Many CCOF members feel strongly that fees charged by the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) Organic Program are duplicative of the fees that they pay for organic certification to the National Organic Program (NOP) and that the state program should be eliminated. In response to these concerns, CCOF’s policy team is undertaking a research and review process to examine the role of the California state organic program relative to the NOP and develop a set of policy recommendations. CCOF’s findings will be compiled in a comprehensive report titled Review of the California State...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Friday, October 17, 2014 on advocacy, NOP, NOSB, policy, standards

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will meet October 28-30 in Louisville, Kentucky to review organic standards and to determine what recommendations it will make to the National Organic Program (NOP) for future rulemaking. In preparation for the meeting, CCOF submitted nine public comments that address a range of topics such as soil conservation, GMO priorities, and crop and handling materials. CCOF’s comments are below – read more to learn more about CCOF’s recommendations to the NOSB and the value of certain topics and materials to organic production. CCOF representatives will also...
Written by Jon Knapp on Monday, July 7, 2014 on advocacy, CCOF, export, international

On June 26, 2014 Jake Lewin, CCOF Certification Services President, was announced as one of the seven additional members to join the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee (ATAC) for Trade in fruits and vegetables. The ATAC members were appointed by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, with the intention of ensuring the commercial and economic interests of various agricultural sectors are properly reflected in U.S. trade policies. Vilsack stated that agricultural trade committees are helpful when it comes to issues of trade relations and building...
Written by Zea Sonnabend on Friday, June 13, 2014 on advocacy, genetic engineering, NOP, NOSB, policy


In an environment where Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and their derivatives are widely distributed throughout the food chain, it is imperative that organic producers and handlers have strategies and plans to keep them out. A key tenet of "coexistence" is shared responsibility for the exclusion of the methods and products of genetic engineering. The organic part of this shared responsibility is extensive already, but specific new guidance from the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) adopted by the National Organic Program (NOP) would make these practices more transparent to others...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, June 2, 2014 on advocacy, genetic engineering, policy


The CCOF Board of Directors voted in mid-May to adopt a strong GMO policy shared by CCOF’s strategic partner, the Organic Trade Association. The policy calls for a moratorium on production of genetically modified crops until more research on their environmental and potential health issues has been conducted, and a meaningful regulatory framework is in place. The CCOF board also reiterated its support for mandatory GMO labeling. Earlier this year, CCOF wrote a letter to California Congresswoman Noreen Evans expressing support for her bill that would require labeling of GMOs in all foods...
Written by Cathy Calfo and Jake Lewin on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 on advocacy, NOP, NOSB, standards

In recent weeks we at CCOF have observed a variety of activities and discussions about organic certification and organic standards. In the week following the April National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting, the Accredited Certifiers Association issued a noteworthy letter supporting the USDA and NOP. See CCOF’s thoughts on the sunset process change when they were announced last fall. At CCOF we believe that everyone is welcome to their opinions. We know that organic standards and certification systems are stronger and stricter than they’ve ever been. Our focus is making meaningful...
Written by Brise Tencer on Monday, May 5, 2014 on advocacy, livestock, NOP, NOSB, policy, standards


CCOF believes that organic livestock standards should require humane and ethical treatment of animals during all stages of production, including transport and slaughter. CCOF, consistent with our mission and principles, has long advocated for NOP standards that ensure outdoor and soil access. In December 2011, the NOSB unanimously passed a recommendation on Animal Welfare and Stocking Rates that capped off several years of work on these subjects. The NOSB recommendations were consistent with CCOF and other organizations’ recommendations. In June 2013, the NOP released a report on the economic...

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