Blog posts by policy

Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 on general organic, policy, standards

CCOF submitted a comment to USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) on the proposed Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, or GMO food labeling rule. The deadline for comments was July 3, 2018.   CCOF’s comment was rooted in the following principles, for which CCOF advocated in previous comments: Labels must have clear statements that include the term “GMO.” Electronic or digital links are not sufficient to communicate to consumers.  Protect the USDA National Organic Program’s regulations defining bioengineering and related terms.  Organic certification is sufficient to make a “not...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, June 25, 2018 on advocacy, policy

CCOF is accepting applications for appointment to the Organic Trade Association (OTA) Farmers Advisory Council (FAC). Applications are due July 13, and CCOF staff can help you complete the simple application.   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...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, June 11, 2018 on advocacy, policy


Hemp

In late May, the California Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 1409 (R-Wilk-21) and is now being considered in the Assembly. SB 1409 would remove barriers to hemp cultivation in California by authorizing the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to establish an industrial hemp pilot program, update and match the definition of hemp and increase access to hemp seed.    CCOF joined hemp advocacy groups in support of SB 1409 because the bill would ensure that hemp grown for food and fiber in California is eligible for organic certification. If implemented, the authorized hemp...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, June 11, 2018 on marketing, policy, regulatory


Milk

California dairy producers have voted to approve a Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) for the state of California. The California FMMO was proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and received producer approval by at least a two-thirds vote.   The California FMMO will adopt the same dairy product classification and pricing provisions used in other FMMO systems. Producer quotas will be administered by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). A FMMO requires handlers of milk within a state to pay minimum class prices according to how...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, June 4, 2018 on advocacy, CCOF, general organic, policy


CCOF Member Darrell Wood of Leavitt Lake Ranches and Panorama Meats with California Senator Dianne Feinstein   The Organic Trade Association (OTA) held its annual Organic Week in Washington D.C. in late May. Hundreds of organic advocates flocked to DC to participate in the events, which included two conferences and meetings with congressional offices on Capitol Hill.   Organic Week began with The Organic Center’s Organic Confluences Summit. The summit brought together farmers, scientists, and organic stakeholders to discuss organic extension and knowledge transfer. CCOF member Javier Zamora...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, May 21, 2018 on advocacy, general organic, policy

USDA announced the termination of the rulemaking process for the national certified organic marketing order. The marketing order was commonly known as the organic check-off. USDA reported that the rulemaking process was terminated because of “uncertain industry support and outstanding substantive issues with the proposed program.”   The program was proposed by the Organic Trade Association in 2015 to strengthen the position of certified organic products in the marketplace, support research to benefit the organic industry, and improve access to information and data across the organic sector...
Written by Peter Nell on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 on advocacy, general organic, import and export, NOP, NOSB, policy


CCOF Certification Services LLC President Jake Lewin presented on an expert panel discussing organic imports at the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting in Tucson, Arizona. The panelists discussed oversight of organic imports and tracking organic products throughout the supply chain.    “We have feasible, clear steps that we can take to shore up certifier oversight of imports and allegations of fraud,” said Lewin in his opening remarks.    Lewin outlined three first-step solutions to immediately increase oversight of imported organic crops and products. Those solutions include...
Written by Peter Nell on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 on advocacy, general organic, NOP, policy

  The National Organic Program (NOP) extended the commenting deadline for their proposed rule of 35 amendments to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List). NOP will now be accepting comments until May 14, 2018.    The proposed rule amends the National List by changing the restrictions for 17 substances allowed for organic production or handling; adding 16 new substances; prohibiting rotenone for organic crop production; and removing ivermectin as an allowed parasiticides for organic livestock production.    Proposed Updates to Existing Substances on National List...
Written by Peter Nell on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 on advocacy, policy

USDA is accepting nominations for all 25 positions of the reestablished Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee (FVIAC). FVIAC examines issues facing the fruit and vegetable industry to provide ideas on ways to improve programs to better meet the changing needs of the produce industry.   The deadline for nominations is May 24, 2018. Nominees should submit a cover letter detailing qualifications, a resume (fewer than five pages), the required Form AD-755, and optional letters of endorsement. Nominations should be submitted to marlene.betts@ams.usda.gov or valerie.minick@ams.usda.gov;...
Written by Peter Nell on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 on general organic, NOP, policy

The National Organic Program (NOP) will host a free webinar on advances in information technology to strengthen the integrity of the organic seal for producers, businesses, and consumers.   The hour-long webinar will begin at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, May 10, 2018. Pre-registration is not required.    Participants can connect to the webinar online and over the phone: On the Web  Meeting URL:  http://www.readytalk.com Access Code: 7202000  By Phone  Toll-Free (U.S. & Canada): (866) 740-1260 Access Code: 7202000 Calling in from another country? Find a call-in number at...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, April 23, 2018 on advocacy, CCOF, general organic, policy

Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA-3) joins fellows California Congressional delegates in supporting organic integrity with his cosponsorship of the Organic Farmer and Consumer Protection Act of 2017, H.R.3871.   H.R.3871 would ensure a fair playing field for organic producers and protect consumer trust in the organic seal by strengthening the USDA National Organic Program’s oversight of domestic and international organic production.   Twelve CCOF members recently signed a letter to Congressman Garamendi successfully urging him to support the bill. Congressman Garamendi responded to his...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, April 23, 2018 on advocacy, general organic, policy

California Governor Jerry Brown appointed Jeff Huckaby, president and CEO of Grimmway and Cal-Organic, to the California State Board of Food and Agriculture.    The 15-member board advises the California governor and secretary of agriculture on key issues of importance to California’s farmers, ranchers, stakeholders, and citizens. The members represent a broad range of agricultural commodities, a variety of geographic regions, and both California university systems.    Cal-Organic became a CCOF member in 1995 and today manages over 45,000 certified organic acres. Huckaby originally joined...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, April 16, 2018 on advocacy, general organic, NOP, policy

Last week the House Agriculture Committee released their first draft of the 2018 Farm Bill. Agriculture policy wonks across the country are reviewing the text and preparing for next steps.    CCOF is pleased to see most of its top priorities included in the House draft:   — Increased funding authorized for the National Organic Program (NOP), accompanied by language that directs USDA to modernize NOP’s international trade tracking and data collection systems   — Continued funding at $5 million for the Organic Production and Marketing Initiative   — Increased funding from $20 million to $30...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, April 16, 2018 on advocacy, policy, water

The Community Water Center (CWC)/El Centro Comunitario por el Agua just released a new report: "Untapped Opportunity: Local Water Boards and the Fight for Water Justice."   The report found that in the southern San Joaquin Valley, fully 87 percent of local water board seats were uncontested in the most recent election—that’s almost 500 local seats. When only one candidate runs for a seat, the seat does not appear on a ballot, and the election does not take place. In Fresno, Kern, Kings, and Tulare counties, 75 of 109 local water boards studied have not held a single election in the last four...
Written by Peter Nell on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 on advocacy, policy, regulatory

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is proposing establishing a Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) regulating the handling of milk in California.    The establishment will be subject to producer approval by referendum. Two-thirds of the eligible producers or producers representing two-thirds of the milk produced in California will need to vote in favor of the FMMO for the FMMO to be established.  AMS hosted a public meeting on April 10, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District Building in Clovis, California to explain and answer questions relating to the California...

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