Blog posts by research

Written by Shawna Rodgers on Monday, April 2, 2018 on CCOF, general organic, research


Photo Courtesy of Mycological Natural Products   An organic hotspot is defined as a county with high levels of organic agricultural activity whose neighboring counties also have a high level of organic activity. In a recent Pennsylvania State University study, agricultural economist Professor Edward Jaenicke released his findings that organic hotspots increase median household income by over $2,000 annually while simultaneously decreasing local poverty rates by as much as 1.35 percent. Professor Jaenicke shared his discoveries at our CCOF Annual Meeting and Conference last month, but the CCOF...
Written by Shawna Rodgers on Monday, March 19, 2018 on general organic, research


Blue House Farm in Pescadero, California   We recently held our annual meeting in Sacramento, California, to discuss the latest topics, trends, and challenges currently testing the world of organic agriculture. The theme was Organic Hotspots: Revitalizing Rural America, drawn from Professor Edward C. Jaenicke’s exciting research about the correlation between organic agricultural activity and economic development. Pennsylvania State University’s Jaenicke and co-author Julia Marasteanu’s research papers reveal exciting discoveries for the economies, communities, and people living near clusters...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 19, 2018 on general organic, grower, research

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) needs a Census of Agriculture response from all the nation’s producers. In order to get an accurate representation of American agriculture—of all farmers and ranchers across the country—NASS will continue to accept completed census questionnaires through spring.    NASS has heard that some producers need extra time due to planting, bad weather, or gathering necessary end-of-year documents. All operations are important and every response matters. NASS is committed to giving producers every opportunity to be represented in these widely-used...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 12, 2018 on general organic, research

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) needs a Census of Agriculture response from all the nation’s producers. In order to get an accurate representation of American agriculture—of all farmers and ranchers across the country—NASS will continue to accept completed census questionnaires through spring.    NASS has heard that some producers need extra time due to planting, bad weather, or gathering necessary end-of-year documents. All operations are important and every response matters. NASS is committed to giving producers every opportunity to be represented in these widely-used...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, March 12, 2018 on education, general organic, research

The Organic Center released new research completed in collaboration with the University of Virginia showing that organic farming can help reduce nitrogen pollution on a global scale. The study found that organic farming helps prevent nitrogen pollution by recycling three times more reactive nitrogen than conventional farming.    The study shows that 93 percent of all nitrogen used to produce conventional food was newly-created reactive nitrogen. In organic foods, only 33 percent of the nitrogen used to produce foods was new reactive nitrogen. The rest of the nitrogen used is recycled. The...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, February 12, 2018 on advocacy, education, research

Clif Bar & Company and the King Arthur Flour Company announced on January 31, 2018, the funding of a $1.5 million endowment for organic grain breeding research in Washington State University’s College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS). This is Clif Bar’s second and King Arthur’s first public university endowment dedicated to developing crop varieties adapted to organic farming practices.    The Clif Bar & King Arthur Flour Endowed Chair in Organic Grain Breeding & Innovation is being awarded to Stephen Jones, Ph.D., director of the WSU Bread Lab,...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, February 6, 2018 on biodiversity, general organic, research

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering up to $2 million for one- to three-year projects that investigate innovative conservation approaches and technologies. Proposals are due February 26, 2018.   Organic Agriculture Systems is one of three Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) priorities for fiscal year 2018. NRCS specifically requests proposals that help organic producers implement and evaluate conservation practices. Proposals submitted under this priority area must address at least one of these specific issues: Cropping and tillage systems that build soil health...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, December 18, 2017 on food safety, general organic, international, organic market, research

Asia is showing some of the highest growth in the global organic food market. New research by Ecovia Intelligence (formerly Organic Monitor) shows that some Asian countries’ markets are reporting double-digit growth rates, with regional sales poised to reach $10 billion in the coming years.    As will be shown at the Asia-Pacific edition of the Sustainable Foods Summit, two of the fastest growing markets for organic products are in China and India. Growing awareness of organic production methods and rising disposable incomes are fueling demand for organic and sustainable foods.     Concerns...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, November 13, 2017 on advocacy, policy, research

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) held a listening session in Sacramento on November 2 to gather input on research priorities. CCOF’s senior policy specialist Jane Sooby commented on the need to integrate organic topics into NIFA’s research portfolio, pointing out that the unique nature of organic farming warrants in-depth study.   NIFA is an agency within the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture which funds food and agricultural research through a range of grants programs. The two federal programs dedicated to organic research, the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, October 23, 2017 on advocacy, general organic, research

The California Farm Bureau Federation (CFBF) released their 2017 agricultural labor availability survey results in a report titled Searching for Solutions: California Farmer Continue to Struggle with Employee Shortages. The report includes data from 762 farmers and ranchers throughout California and its findings are consistent with a 2012 CFBF labor survey.   The report shows that 55 percent of responding farmers experienced employee shortages during the summer of 2017. A majority of farmers reported that they were unable to recruit up to 50 percent of their seasonal workforce needs, with 15...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, October 23, 2017 on advocacy, events, general organic, research

Sensors that tell growers how much water to use, drones that can fly over operations and assess the health of crops, real-time data at the fingertips of farmers.   It’s not science fiction—it’s the future of agriculture.   In an attempt to streamline operations, increase sustainability, and improve climate resiliency, California farmers are embracing precision agriculture technology. Also known as “smart farming,” precision agriculture uses the latest technological innovations to produce more food while using less resources.   But California farmers are not the only ones adopting this...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, September 25, 2017 on advocacy, research, standards

On Monday, over 20 CCOF members throughout Congressman Doug LaMalfa’s (R CA-01) district signed a letter urging the congressman to support H.R. 2436, the Organic Agriculture Research Act of 2017.    The letter explains that organic farmers and ranchers work hard to produce their crops, livestock, and food products, but their sector needs more funding for organic agricultural research.    The Organic Agriculture Research Act will increase annual organic research funds in the farm bill up to $50 million. These funds will ensure that researchers have ongoing support for their organic research...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, September 18, 2017 on education, general organic, grower, research, water

Duke University (Duke) is leading a three year study in partnership with RTI International (RTI), Pacific Institute, and California State University in Bakersfield (CSU-B) to study the use of oilfield produced water as an alternative irrigation water source for crop irrigation. The study is funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and began in May 2017.     Please contact us if you would like to be included as a participant in our study to optimize safe, sustainable use of alternative irrigation water sources for crop irrigation. We would like to enroll...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, July 24, 2017 on pests and pesticides, research

The laboratory of Dr. Brian Hogg of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service in Albany, California, is seeking sites for Bagrada bug research in California.    Any cole crop fields or weed patches that are currently infested with Bagrada bug would work for our purposes. We are investigating whether native predators or parasitic wasps attack Bagrada bug eggs as part of our efforts to develop a biological control program for Bagrada bug. We would put out frozen Bagrada bug eggs (dead, so there is no possibility of spreading the bug around) on index cards and leave them...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, May 8, 2017 on general organic, genetic engineering, policy, research

In response to the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) recent GMO testing pilot project results, CCOF has expanded its GMO testing and will assist CDFA in identifying any potential source of inadvertent GMO presence along the organic supply chain. Following a request made by CCOF members at our Annual Meeting in 2015, and upon the recommendation of the California State Advisory Committee (COPAC), CDFA launched the GMO testing pilot project last year. The goal of the project is to evaluate the risk of GMO presence in organic products. On May 3, 2017, CDFA reported on the...

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