Blog posts by policy

Written by Kelly Damewood on Wednesday, June 29, 2016 on advocacy, genetic engineering, labeling and packaging, policy

Last week Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Republican Pat Roberts of Kansas and ranking Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Michigan introduced a federal GMO labeling bill. The Organic Trade Association (OTA) worked closely on the bill and released a statement outlining its position in support. CCOF has not taken a position on the bill, and we are monitoring its progress closely. CCOF supports mandatory labeling of agricultural GMOs and their products. Labeling of GMO seed, products grown from GMO seed or stock, and products made with ingredients and byproducts of GMO crops is necessary for...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, June 27, 2016 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

“The bill is out, congratulations.” California state senator Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton), chair of the California Senate Committee on Agriculture, spoke these words as the committee voted AB 1826, the California Organic Food and Farming Act, out of committee on June 21. AB 1826 now heads to the California Senate Appropriations Committee. CCOF-sponsored AB 1826, authored by Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay), will reform California’s State Organic Program to eliminate redundant paperwork, reduce or cap program fees, and allow the program to support the organic sector through...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, June 27, 2016 on advocacy, genetic engineering, labeling and packaging, policy

For years, the Organic Trade Association has supported efforts to bring federal mandatory GMO labeling to the United States. Senators Roberts and Stabenow have introduced a federal labeling bill that not only requires disclosure of GMO ingredients, but also includes important provisions that are excellent for organic farmers and food makers – and for the millions of consumers who choose organic every day - because they recognize, unequivocally, that USDA Certified Organic products qualify for non-GMO claims in the market place. Those provisions safeguard USDA certified organic as the gold...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, June 20, 2016 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

Due to overwhelming support from CCOF members, the California State Assembly voted to approve Assembly Bill (AB) 1826—the California Organic Food and Farming Act—and forward it to the California Senate. Please join the 235 individuals and businesses who publicly support AB 1826. Write your senator today and show your support! The bill is expected to be voted out of the California Senate Committee on Agriculture this week and then move to the Senate Committee on Appropriations. The California Organic Food and Farming Act (AB 1826) will: Eliminate duplicative paperwork for certified organic...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, June 20, 2016 on advocacy, livestock, policy

Please send a letter to your U.S. senator today and urge them to vote NO on any amendments to the Agriculture Appropriations bill that interferes with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) ability to keep organic animal welfare standards strong. Send an electronic letter directly to your senators. Here’s the issue: The National Organic Program (NOP) released a Proposed Rule on Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices in April. This proposed rule addresses a wide range of issues raised by the National Organic Standards Board, the federally-empowered advisory body to the Secretary...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, June 20, 2016 on advocacy, materials and inputs, policy

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is holding a hearing on July 5, 2016, in Sacramento on proposed changes to the law that regulates fertilizer production and sales in California. CDFA is also accepting comments on these proposed changes through June 27, 2016. Proposed changes include: A list of ingredients in decreasing amounts is required for packaged soil amendments and organic input material (OIM) bulk soil amendments. Liquid OIMs with a nitrogen guarantee greater than 3 percent must submit an OIM inspection report annually. The Secretary of Agriculture will...
Written by Rachel Witte on Monday, June 20, 2016 on advocacy, policy

This week the California State Legislature sent the fiscal year 2016-17 budget to Governor Jerry Brown without deciding how the state would spend billions in climate change investments. Among the programs waiting for a decision on funding are the Healthy Soils Initiative, the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP), the Dairy Methane Program, and the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program. What gives? The cap-and-trade program was created under California’s climate change law, AB 32. Cap-and-trade limits greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the biggest polluters in...
Written by Rachel Witte on Monday, June 20, 2016 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

The California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC) is a 15-member committee that advises the California Secretary of Agriculture on California’s State Organic Program’s enforcement activities. The members are made up of six producers (at least one producer of meat, fowl, fish, dairy products, or eggs); two processors; one wholesale distributor; two consumer representatives; one environmental representative; two technical representatives with scientific credentials related to agricultural chemicals, toxicology, or food science; and one retail representative. Each member on the...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, June 13, 2016 on materials and inputs, NOP, policy, regulatory, standards

CCOF and the Organic Trade Association (OTA) recently submitted statements representing the interests of organic producers in a federal lawsuit filed by the Center for Food Safety (CFS) against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which challenges the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) guidance on the Allowance of Green Waste in Organic Production Systems. The guidance states that organic standards are process-based. These processes aim to exclude pesticide residues. However, the compost may contain pesticide residues so long as those levels do not contribute to the contamination of...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

A crucial milestone in the California Organic Food and Farming Act’s progress occurred on Friday, May 27, when the bill, AB 1826, was forwarded out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Chaired by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, the Appropriations Committee is responsible for assessing the fiscal impact of all bills. Many CCOF members sent letters of support to Assemblymember Gonzalez and helped move the bill out of committee. The next stop for AB 1826 is the floor of the California Assembly. A vote may be scheduled as soon as Tuesday, May 31. Once it passes the Assembly, it will go...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 on advocacy, materials and inputs, NOP, NOSB, policy, regulatory

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) met at the end of April to hear public comment, discuss the 2018 Sunset Materials, and vote on a number of proposals. NOSB also welcomed six new board members at the April meeting, including CCOF member Jesse Buie! Proposals Passed by NOSB NOSB discussed and voted on 12 proposals during the spring 2016 meeting. Most notably, NOSB voted on multiple proposals to change the use of parasiticides in organic livestock production. NOSB made a final recommendation to update organic regulatory language to require: “That parasiticides continue to be...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, May 2, 2016 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

CCOF-sponsored AB 1826—the California Organic Food and Farming Act (COFFA), authored by Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay)—passed the California Assembly Agriculture Committee in a unanimous, bipartisan vote in favor of reducing fee and paperwork burdens on California’s organic producers. COFFA is now moving through the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Once approved by Appropriations, it will go to a vote by the full California Assembly. Once it passes the Assembly, it moves into the California Senate Agricultural Committee and, ultimately, to the floor of the state senate. Contact...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, April 25, 2016 on advocacy, NOSB, policy

The spring 2016 National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting will be held April 25-27 in Washington, D.C. This biannual meeting impacts which materials producers can use in organic production. After reviewing public comment and hearing testimony at the meeting, NOSB will make recommendations on standards and materials to the National Organic Program (NOP). NOSB will review a diverse set of materials at the meeting, including copper sulfate used in organic rice production and carrageenan used in organic processing. CCOF Certification Services President Jake Lewin will attend the in-person...
Written by Valerie George and Jane Sooby on Monday, April 11, 2016 on advocacy, livestock, policy, regulatory

The National Organic Program (NOP) announced on April 7, 2016, that it will propose amending the organic livestock and poultry production requirements. The proposed regulation, which is based on recommendations from the National Organic Standards Board, is an effort to achieve consistency in organic livestock practices. It covers a range of topics including health care practices and living conditions for organic animals. Here are some of the highlights of the proposed rule: It sets forth separate living condition standards for mammals (e.g., cattle, sheep, and pigs) and poultry. It specifies...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, April 4, 2016 on advocacy, events, policy, State Organic Program

CCOF invites you to join an informational webinar on AB 1826—The California Organic Food and Farming Act (COFFA)—a bill introduced by California Assemblymember Mark Stone to level the playing field for California’s organic producers and update the role of the State Organic Program. CCOF’s Executive Director/CEO Cathy Calfo, Policy Director Kelly Damewood, and guest presenters will be available to answer your questions about AB 1826 during a free webinar on Tuesday, April 12, from 10-11 a.m. PDT. Participants will learn about the bill and CCOF’s strategy to pass it. Plus, find out what you can...

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