Blog posts by policy

Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, September 26, 2016 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

On Wednesday, September 21, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1826–the California Organic Food and Farming Act (COFFA)–into law! COFFA was sponsored by CCOF and authored by Assemblymember Mark Stone to streamline State Organic Program registration for thousands of organic farmers throughout California. The unwavering support of CCOF members helped COFFA sail through the California State Assembly and Senate with unanimous support in favor. Passage of COFFA will: Eliminate duplicative paperwork for certified organic farmers by allowing accredited certifying agents like CCOF to...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, September 26, 2016 on advocacy, policy, seeds

The seed industry is one of the most consolidated in agriculture, and it's getting worse. Bayer recently announced that it reached a merger agreement with Monsanto, which will create the world's largest supplier in seeds and agricultural chemicals. DuPont and Dow, and ChemChina and Syngenta, have also announced agreements to merge. If the Department of Justice (DOJ) allows these three mega-mergers to move forward, three corporations will sell nearly 60% of the world's seed. This level of concentration will have grave impacts on U.S. agriculture, including organic. We know that consolidation...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, September 26, 2016 on advocacy, farm bill, policy

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is encouraging producers and handlers to participate in OTA’s Farm Bill survey to provide feedback on new policy priorities for the upcoming 2018 Farm Bill. Major topics that are addressed in the survey include production concerns; marketing, funding, regulatory, research, and extension barriers; and past Farm Bill evaluation. Each survey is confidential and contains questions specifically focused on producers and handlers. OTA will use this information to help shape its policy priorities for the next Farm Bill. For more information, contact OTA’s Joe Brady...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, September 19, 2016 on advocacy, general organic, policy

New statistics released by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) show that the total value of certified organic agricultural products sold in the United States increased from $5.5 billion in 2014 to $6.2 billion in 2015, a 13 percent increase. The number of certified organic farms and organic acreage also increased between 2014-2015. Once more, California is the top state for organic agricultural production, with $2.4 billion in sales (40% of the total) in 2015. Washington state is a distant second with $626 million. California also has the largest number of certified organic...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, September 19, 2016 on advocacy, pests and pesticides, policy


The third edition of the Bagrada Bug News is now available to read and print on demand. This edition reports on work being conducted in California and France to test promising natural enemies of bagrada bug. Scientists collected three species of wasps that lay their eggs in bagrada bug eggs, thus killing the nymphs inside, in South Africa and Pakistan and are now assessing their potential for release as natural predators of bagrada bug in California. This issue also features a lengthy article on the role of weeds as refuge for bagrada bug in California’s Salinas Valley. Shortpod mustard and...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, September 19, 2016 on advocacy, policy, seeds

Vague language in last year’s revision of the California Seed Law was clarified by legislation that exempts non-commercial seed trading–such as seed libraries, seed swaps, and other seed exchanges–from state permit and labeling requirements for commercial seed. California Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Seed Exchange Democracy Act into law on September 9, 2016. Introduced by Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-Marin County), the bill was a response to alarms raised by activists that the imprecise language in California’s seed law could unintentionally impede the free exchange of seed at...
Written by Jane Sooby on Friday, September 2, 2016 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

The California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC) will meet this Wednesday, September 7, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. in Sacramento, California. COPAC advises the California Secretary of Food and Agriculture on organic-related issues. The public is welcome to attend. Items on the meeting agenda include: An update on the state’s pilot GMO testing program A legislative update on the California Organic Food and Farming Act An Organic Input Materials Program update Animal welfare standards and the California State Veterinarian comments on them An update on the organic checkoff program The...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, August 29, 2016 on advocacy, policy, water

Farmers and ranchers in California must submit water test results and develop nutrient management plans for their landholdings under the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program. How California Regulates Water Quality in Relation to Irrigated Lands California’s nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards (RWQCB) manage water quality on a regional basis. RWQCB responsibilities include regulating all pollutant discharges that may impact surface or ground water quality. In 2003, California created the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program to address wastes discharged from agricultural irrigated lands,...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, August 29, 2016 on advocacy, policy, regulatory

AB 1066, the Phase-in Overtime for Agricultural Workers Act of 2016, is a bill authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) that would set new overtime pay requirements for California farm workers. The bill is sponsored by United Farm Workers (UFW), which argues that farm workers are unfairly excluded from federal wage protections and maximum hour standards. According to bill supporters, farm workers do not receive fair pay and yet have one of the most physically demanding occupations. Many agricultural groups oppose the bill, including the California Farm Bureau Federation and the...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 29, 2016 on advocacy, general organic, policy

A public roundtable on October 20 in Washington, D.C., will consider the findings of a new study on consumer understanding of which products are covered by the organic label. The roundtable will feature invited panelists including consumer advocates, organic representatives, and academics. It will be free and open to the public. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in response to industry requests, conducted a study to assess consumer response to “organic” labels on products that fall outside the scope of the federal National Organic Program. The survey looked at how consumers responded to...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 29, 2016 on advocacy, policy, regulatory

The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Medical Cannabis Cultivation Program (MCCP) is conducting a series of workshops to gather public input on a licensing program for medical cannabis cultivators. Eight workshops will be convened at various locations in the state beginning September 13, 2016. The full schedule is online. The MCCP was created this year in the wake of the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, passed in 2015 by the state Legislature. A first step for the program is to create a Programmatic Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) that assesses the program’s...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 22, 2016 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

The California State Board of Food and Agriculture is now updating its strategic plan, Ag Vision, developed eight years ago for the state’s agriculture and food systems. An online survey is gathering public input into the plan through August 26. We encourage the organic community to participate in the survey so that the organic perspective is well-represented in the findings. Share your thoughts and take the survey!
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, August 22, 2016 on advocacy, policy

Our State Legislature is taking on the future of California’s climate change laws and we need you to weigh in! Will California continue to embrace increased renewable energy production, smart growth that protects our farmland, and sustainable agricultural solutions to climate change? Or will the oil industry prevail and prevent needed solutions to greater weather extremes and rising temperatures? Your calls or emails to your Assemblymember are needed today. Let your representative know you support Senate Bill 32 (D-Pavley), which extends California’s climate change law to the year 2030, and...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 22, 2016 on advocacy, policy, research

The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) has completed its analysis of federally-funded organic research projects and released the findings in the report Taking Stock: Analyzing and Reporting Organic Research Investments 2002-2014. OFRF analyzed 189 organic research projects that were funded by USDA’s Organic Research and Extension Initiative and Organic Transitions competitive grants over the course of 13 years, representing $142.2 million of research funds. About 70 percent of the studies looked into organic crop production, another 20 percent examined crop-livestock systems, and 10...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, August 1, 2016 on advocacy, genetic engineering, policy, regulatory

Last Friday, President Barack Obama signed the GMO labeling bill into law. The president’s signature comes after the Senate passed the bill in a 63-30 vote, and the House passed it in a 306-117 vote. The new law will require mandatory labeling of GMOs on certain product labels. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) must now begin formulating regulations to implement the law.  CCOF is closely monitoring regulatory developments and will alert members and encourage the submission of public comment when the USDA releases proposed rules. For more information, contact CCOF Policy Director Kelly...

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