Blog posts by help and tips

Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, June 11, 2018 on CCOF, CCOF Foundation, education, events, general organic, grower, handler, help and tips, standards

New U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) crop insurance programs have expanded risk management options for organic farmers and ranchers. Are you curious to know what programs might be a good fit for your operation?    Join the CCOF Foundation and California FarmLink on June 19 for a webinar that reviews the basics of the Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) program and Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP). Learn the application requirements and key deadlines for both programs, as well as how the programs meet the needs of organic farmers and ranchers.    Speakers include...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, January 22, 2018 on financial assistance, help and tips

Farmers and ranchers are independent and resilient, and their relationships with creditors are often long-term and critical for the future of their businesses. When markets, weather, or other conditions create farm losses, the resulting financial challenges can be difficult to untangle. If you face challenges repaying farm bills and debt, the California Agricultural Mediation Program (CALAMP) can help. CALAMP works with farmers to develop a feasible plan to move forward. A short illustrated video shows the ag credit mediation process in action.   What Can CALMAP Help With? The United States...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, January 22, 2018 on fees, help and tips

The National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) released a comprehensive guidebook to aid farmers with USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) loans. The illustrated guidebook, Farm Service Agency Loans: The Ins and Outs of Growing a Farm with Federal Loans, is available for free online or in hard copy for $15. NYFC represents, mobilizes, and engages young farmers to ensure their success. They support practices and policies to sustain young, independent, and prosperous farmers now and in the future. The guidebook, created with the help of FSA, includes a wide array of information that covers FSA’s...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, December 4, 2017 on CCOF Foundation, events, general organic, help and tips, NOP

Value-added products can bring in extra income and add diversity to your market offerings. On December 11, the CCOF Foundation will host a webinar that reviews the requirements for organic growers looking to certify their value-added products—such as jams, salsas, and dried fruit—through the USDA National Organic Program.    Jessie Nichols, senior hander certification specialist at CCOF, will give an overview of the organic certification process for value-added products. Then, learn about the different avenues farms can take to get into processing, including on-farm processing, shared...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, October 16, 2017 on advocacy, general organic, help and tips

Free organic grower guides offer information on specialty crop production for small- and medium-scale growers     A new series of technical guides developed at UC Santa Cruz targets small- and medium-scale organic specialty crop growers with the production information they need to be successful.   The 4- to 12-page guides developed by UCSC’s Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) address high-value vegetable and cut flower crops grown by many small- and medium-scale farmers. The guides outline basic techniques for tillage, planting, irrigation, weed control, harvesting...
Written by Antonina Hines on Monday, July 17, 2017 on general organic, help and tips, regulatory

Many fertilizers and some herbicides and pesticides are labeled as “organic,” even though they aren’t allowed for use in organic production. These products are using the word “organic” as a chemist would, meaning they contain carbon compounds. The USDA only restricts the use of the word “organic” on food products, which allows companies to put whatever they choose on an input label as long as it is factual. This does not mean that the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) has approved these inputs for use in organic production.   Farmers and home gardeners may understandably be confused by this...
Written by Zea Sonnabend on Monday, May 15, 2017 on education, grower, help and tips, pests and pesticides

Spring is the time to anticipate pest problems that may emerge with the warmer weather of summer. It is a good time to remember what to look out for and to take some preventative steps to keep ahead of the pests. After the very wet winter in California, we might be about to experience an abundance of some of these pests, as well as invasive plants.   Because in California we grow so many crops over such a long season, there are always pests of concern.  Some pests are already under quarantine in certain regions, while other species are not quarantined but are worth preparing for. This blog...
Written by Sarah Watters on Monday, June 1, 2015 on certification process, get certification help, help and tips, services


We are excited to announce significant improvements to two helpful areas of the CCOF website: Forms & Documents and Certification Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). These sections are designed to help make the certification process simple and are now more user-friendly than ever before! Forms & Documents is a great resource for certified members looking for record-keeping worksheets, certification forms, helpful flyers, and more. Need to add acreage, facilities, materials, or products? Want to expedite your certification or transfer a parcel? Looking for information on cost share or...
Written by Laura Mathias on Monday, May 18, 2015 on events, help and tips, marketing


Calendar

Did you know that ccof.org has an online submission for agricultural and organic events? The CCOF community calendar has trainings, webinars, and other opportunities for the organic industry. Partner organizations can submit their events for the calendar. Events are also highlighted in our weekly newsletter. It’s easy and fast! Share your event with our membership today.
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, June 9, 2014 on help and tips

With the increasing cost of organic nitrogen inputs and regulatory restrictions on nitrogen applications in agriculture, it is important to maximize all sources of nitrogen to minimize cost, environmental impact and regulatory headaches. Here is a summary of important strategies to increase nitrogen efficiency: • Test soil, crop, and water to determine nitrogen status before adding nitrogen, of any source. • Use legume cover crops: Inoculate legume seeds at planting with fresh, living Rhizobium of the correct species. Plant immediately. Irrigate as needed to aid establishment and inoculation...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, April 21, 2014 on grower, help and tips, seeds


In the past, it was a challenge for many organic farmers to source organic seed. Fortunately, there are now a number of resources available to make it easier for farmers to find organic seed or to produce it themselves. These resources include the new Organic Seed Finder website, Organic Seed Alliance’s seed production publications, and the eOrganic Seed Resource Guide. Organic Seed Finder, hosted and managed by the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA), was launched in October 2012 and serves as a free resource for farmers, certifiers, and other stakeholders looking to...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, November 11, 2013 on help and tips

This post was written by Ann Baier, Organic/Sustainable Agriculture Specialist, NCAT. We are here, we are here! Remember that line in Dr. Seuss’ book, Horton Hears a Who? Well, the ATTRA Project of NCAT is here! Long-time allies with CCOF in our mission to foster organic, ecological, sustainable, and successful farmers, a link to ATTRA’s “Ask an Expert” program has been added to the “revolving carousel” of CCOF's homepage. Some of you might say, “We love ATTRA! Our farming business is alive and well because of the information we got from ATTRA.” Others may ask, “What is ATTRA?” ATTRA is the...
Written by Guest Blogger on Friday, April 19, 2013 on grower, help and tips

This article appeared in the spring 2013 issue of Certified Organic and was written by Jay Silverstein, partner at Moss Adams. Whether retirement is near or far, thinking about who will take the reins and lead your farm into the future isn’t easy, but it’s especially relevant these days. According to the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, approximately 70 percent of U.S. farmland will go on the market in the next 20 years as the nation’s farmers age. Without a succession plan, many family-run farms are likely to go out of business, be bought by larger farms, or get...
Written by Jane Sooby on Friday, January 4, 2013 on grower, help and tips, materials and inputs, water

Widespread leakage of nitrogen from agricultural production has become a huge problem worldwide. Recent news articles have reported that numerous small towns in California’s central valley, the country’s most productive agricultural region, must use bottled water because their municipal water supplies are contaminated with dangerous levels of nitrates. A report issued by UC Davis in early 2012 documented that in California’s Tulare Lake Basin and Salinas Valley, “roughly 254,000 people are currently at risk for nitrate contamination of their drinking water.” The “dead zone” in the Gulf of...