Blog posts by general organic

CCOF is continuing our services with our staff working safely from home. Although response times may be slower, we are here to support you. We welcome new applications to join the CCOF-certified family. Visit our Crisis Resilience page for updates and crisis resilience resources.
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Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, July 7, 2020 on advocacy, biodiversity, education, general organic

California’s newly approved 2020-2021 budget bears almost no resemblance to its rosy origins back in January, as we continue to weather the public health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there is one bright spot in the otherwise mixed outlook: the legislature approved Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposal to create a $10 million California Farm-to-School program, which includes about $8.5 million in school grants as well as $1.5 million for sustained staffing at the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Office of Farm to Fork to implement the program in the...
Written by Laetitia Benador on Monday, June 29, 2020 on advocacy, CCOF, crisis resilience, general organic

When COVID-19 struck, farmers were already facing significant challenges. Low prices combined with rising production costs, labor shortages, and climate change impacts resulted in 58 percent of California’s farms operating with net losses in 2017. Today, organic farmers and businesses are working around the clock to adjust to new conditions. CCOF compiled this overview based on agricultural and market research and qualitative data from a sample of CCOF producers, processors, and businesses (30 chapter leaders and 192 survey responses). Please let us know if we have missed your experience at...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, June 29, 2020 on advocacy, CCOF, crisis resilience, general organic, marketing

If there has been anything I have learned from experiencing the response to the COVID-19 pandemic these past few months, it is how amazing my farming community has been in rising up to meet the needs of their community and supporting each other. We make up truly important, interconnected food webs within the local food shed. We may grow different crops, but we all have a strong work ethic and the desire to feed people local food. I believe it is crucial that we see our farmer peers not as competition, but as collaborators working towards the same goal. There is plenty to go around. We are...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 on food safety, general organic, survey

To better understand produce industry’s education and training needs on topics related to cleaning and sanitizing, the Western Regional Center to Enhance Food Safety invites you to take a short survey. It should take approximately 10 minutes to complete. The survey is a collaboration among Oregon State University - Western Regional Center to Enhance Food Safety, United Fresh Produce Association, Produce Marketing Association, National Farmers Union, and the Food & Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN).  The results of the survey will help guide the...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 on advocacy, general organic, NOP, policy

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) released proposed regulations for the OCal program. The OCal program will be a statewide certification program to certify cannabis under a program based on the National Organic Program (NOP). Currently, federal laws prevent the certification of cannabis under the NOP and the labeling of cannabis as organic.  CDFA is seeking public comments on the proposed regulations until July 7, 2020. Read the proposed regulations and submit a comment. The CCOF Policy team is developing detailed comments on the proposed rule. We will urge CDFA to...
Written by Laetitia Benador on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 on advocacy, general organic, livestock, policy

CCOF invites all organic livestock producers to share experiences, challenges, and needs related to organic livestock production, from market barriers to difficulties accessing certified organic processing plants, other infrastructure needs, and beyond. The CCOF Policy Team is researching solutions to top issues facing livestock producers, and we want to hear from you! We know that organic livestock producers are critical stewards of pasture and rangelands across the U.S. and that producers also face many unique challenges. Please email us at policy@ccof.org or call 415-346-6223 to share your...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 on advocacy, crisis resilience, general organic

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released a temporary guidance on the requirements that farms must meet to be considered qualified exempt under the Federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This is important for small farms to be aware of if you have less than $561,494 in gross food sales annually (adjusted for inflation and averaged over the last three years), as your farm may be eligible for a partial exemption from the FSMA, if your farm meets one other criteria.  The other criteria is what the law refers to as sales to a “qualified end user.” Farms that sell at least 50...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 on CCOF, general organic, member news

Jeff Huckaby, president of CCOF-certified Grimmway Farms and Cal-Organic Farms, has received the Organic Trade Association’s prestigious Farmer of the Year award for 2020. Huckaby is a fourth generation farmer who discovered a passion for growing organic carrots over 20 years ago when he first started experimenting with organic practices. He has since led the expansion of Grimmway and Cal-Organic’s organic production to more than 45,000 acres of certified organic vegetables in five states. He is a leader in organic marketing as well, convincing Costco to stock only organic carrots in their...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 on advocacy, general organic

The California Department of Food and Agriculture is announcing four vacancies on the Fertilizer Inspection Advisory Board (FIAB) Technical Advisory Subcommittee (TASC). This subcommittee serves as an expert scientific panel on matters concerning plant nutrition and environmental effects related to fertilizing materials use. It reviews all research and education proposals for the annual Fertilizer Research and Education Program (FREP) grant program and recommends to FIAB which projects should receive funding. Applicants must demonstrate technical, applied, and scientific expertise in the...
Written by Shawna Rodgers on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 on CCOF Foundation, crisis resilience, general organic


photo courtesy of Dawn Heumann for Straus Family Creamery

Photo courtesy of Dawn Heumann for Straus Family Creamery @dawnheumann When asked about how California dairy provider Straus Family Creamery continues to keep their organic producers protected during unprecedented market volatility and consumer purchasing patterns, President Bob McGee responded by saying, “My boss is an organic dairy farmer.” Lucky for their loyal network of consumers, the first-hand perspective of Straus founder and CEO, Albert Straus, influences everything they do as a company. While dairy producers across the country are dumping milk due to hotel and restaurant closures,...
Written by Shawna Rodgers on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 on advocacy, CCOF Foundation, crisis resilience, financial assistance, general organic


Uncertainty. Worry. Fear. Concern. Holding the fort down. Struggle. Due to the far-reaching effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including supply chain disruption, health concerns, and financial burdens, these anxieties have landed on the hearts of many in the agricultural community. The people running these businesses need more than financial support; they need resources to manage the exponential mental stress they face every day from the uncertainty of how their businesses may fare. The topic of mental health is still largely unaddressed in the United States farming community, with a “pick...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 on events, general organic

In celebration of world soil health day, join the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT/ATTRA) on June 23 for a webinar on soil heath principles. Hear from farmers Paul Kaiser and Ward Burroughs on how they invest in their soils by applying the five principles of healthy soil management on their farms. Two very different farms growing different crops in different locations show how these principles are applied at different scales. NCAT’s Rex Dufour will introduce the topic, providing context about how we got to where we are with respect to soil health, and the urgent need for all...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Tuesday, June 9, 2020 on advocacy, CCOF, general organic


Black Lives Matter

Dear CCOF Family,  The unjust killing and systemic oppression of Black lives transcends politics—it speaks to the deepest core of our humanity.  We are deeply disturbed by the unjust murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, Dreasjon Reed, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and David McAtee. We understand that these are the most recent tragedies, and countless Black lives have been lost to racist violence in the United States.  Like all predominantly white communities, CCOF must grapple with its own role in systemic racism. Our agriculture and food systems are built on a history of racism,...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, June 8, 2020 on general organic

The Agricultural Statistics Review released annually by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) includes organic data for the first time. The organic section of Agricultural Statistics Review reports producer, handler, and processor gross sales by county for 2018 and harvested acreage of 29 crop categories by county. Kern County was the top organic county in 2018 with over $782 million in sales. Monterey County was second with $480 million, and Fresno County third with $299 million. Collectively, California counties produced over $10 billion of organic agricultural products...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 on CCOF, crisis resilience, general organic

Applications opened last week for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). CFAP is a USDA program that will provide $16 billion in direct aid to farmers who suffered losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications and payments will be processed through the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA).  CCOF recognizes that this program has structural flaws that will prevent many of our members from accessing desperately-needed financial relief. We are working to advocate for improvements to this program. If you would like to contact us about your experience with CFAP, please email us at policy@...

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