Blog posts by research

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...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, April 17, 2017 on advocacy, policy, research

April 19, 2017 is the last day to submit comments on the Organic Research, Promotion, and Information Order, commonly known as the Organic Check-Off. After extending the deadline by 60 days, the National Organic Program has received over 3,500 comments on the program. The Organic Check-Off would create a 17-member governance board of stakeholders who would decide on allocating research, promotion, and technical assistance funds. The proposed program would generate funds from all organic operations (farms, ranches, processors, handlers, and importers). Organic operations would contribute one-...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, April 10, 2017 on advocacy, policy, research

The deadline to submit comments on the Organic Research, Promotion, and Information Order, commonly known as the Organic Check-Off, is closing on April 19, 2017. The program would create a 17-member governance board that would decide how to allocate research, promotion, and technical assistance funds generated by the program. Under the proposed program, all organic operations (farmers, ranchers, processors, handlers, and importers) would contribute one-tenth of 1 percent of their operation’s net organic sales each year. Any certified operation with a gross organic revenue of less than $250,...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 on research

A new research study, "Biodiversity and Organic Farming in the United States," led by Carolyn Dimitri at New York University, needs the input of certified organic growers nationwide. Biodiversity is a vital component for the resiliency of farms and their surrounding ecosystems. However, there are many challenges to integrating conservation requirements in the National Organic Program. A “one-size-fits-all” solution is unlikely because of the importance of region, crop, and other factors in conservation techniques. This study will gather information about opportunities to measure or increase...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, March 20, 2017 on research

In conjunction with National Agriculture Day, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is launching the 2017 Census of Agriculture on March 21, 2017. The Census of Agriculture is taken every five years and collects comprehensive data on farms, ranches, and the people who operate them. The Census is conducted in all 50 states and all five U.S. territories. CCOF’s Senior Policy Specialist Jane Sooby participated in the 2016 NASS Community-based Organization Workshop and spoke to the importance of the Census of Agriculture to organic. Data is collected from any place from which at...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 on advocacy, marketing, policy, research

The proposed organic check-off program is open for comment through March 20, 2017. CCOF members are strongly encouraged to comment. Comments should include any recommended improvements to the proposal as it is now published and whether the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) should move forward with putting the proposal to a nationwide referendum. About the Organic Check-off The proposed Organic Check-off program is projected to raise at least $30 million per year to fund organic research, technical assistance, and promotion of the organic brand. The funding would come from a...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, February 6, 2017 on advocacy, policy, research

Contribute to the pool of organic knowledge by responding to the 2016 Certified Organic Survey. Farmers and ranchers will reap benefits from an accurate statistical portrait of the organic sector. Agricultural statistics are frequently used by business and policy decision-makers, and your participation provides solid data to shape organic policy. The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is conducting the 2016 Certified Organic Survey to gather new data on certified organic crops and livestock commodities in the United States. This...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, January 23, 2017 on advocacy, marketing, policy, research

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking public comments on the proposed Organic Research, Promotion, and Information Order, also known as a proposed organic check-off program. USDA will accept comments now through March 20, 2017. You may submit comments to www.regulations.gov, under docket number AMS-SC-16-0112. The proposed organic check-off program would be funded by organic producers. It would include a range of agricultural commodities such as fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, poultry, breads, grains, snack foods, condiments, beverages, and packaged and prepared foods...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, January 2, 2017 on research

The Drake University Agricultural Law Center is collecting data on farmer experiences with production contracts—legal agreements under which they care for poultry or livestock owned by another party or grow a crop under a contract. This survey is being conducted on behalf of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. Results will be used to prepare a new guide to help farmers better understand and utilize production contracts. The data we are collecting is important to provide new resources to farmers on production contracts. The survey should take participants less than 10 minutes to...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, December 5, 2016 on food safety, research

USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) is researching how the produce industry will fare economically under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), and grower participation in the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) 2016 Vegetable Chemical Use Survey is vital to the success of the study. You may have received a postcard notifying you that you were selected to participate in this survey. It is being distributed randomly to vegetable growers in 19 states. One question on the survey covers biological pesticides. Other questions ask about practices commonly used by organic growers...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, December 5, 2016 on research

University of California, Davis (UC Davis) researchers are looking for certified organic producers to participate in a multi-regional study to assess current management practices used by the organic industry related to adding raw or untreated manure to crop fields. The goal of our study is to provide organic farmers with science-based effective strategies that limit food safety risks when using valuable raw manure-based soil amendments. UC Davis researchers will visit cooperating farms eight times over the 2017-2018 growing season. They will collect produce, water, soil, and manure samples....
Written by Guest Blogger on Friday, October 21, 2016 on pests and pesticides, research


A California Deptartment of Food and Agriculture grant proposal, Biological Control of Bagrada Bug, Bagrada Hilaris (Pentatomidae), was selected for funding by the 2016 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. This project will provide a sustainable pest management strategy for suppressing this pest in California. First reported in the United States in 2008, the bagrada bug has spread throughout agricultural areas of Imperial and Riverside counties, up through the Central Valley, and along the coast from San Diego to Monterey Bay. Currently, the only means for controlling this pest is the use of...
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 Guest Blogger on Monday, August 15, 2016 on pests and pesticides, research


Cole Crops

As part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service’s efforts to develop a biological control program for the bagrada bug, the laboratory of Dr. Brian Hogg at the USDA in Albany, California, is investigating whether any native predators or parasitic wasps attack bagrada bug eggs. The laboratory is currently looking for organic farms growing cole crops in the Central Valley to include in its survey. Any cole crops will work for the study, although fields with a history of bagrada bug infestation would be ideal. The study involves placing frozen bagrada bug eggs (...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, July 25, 2016 on advocacy, general organic, policy, research

The Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania began a side-by-side comparison of organic and conventional farming back in 1981. Today, the data collected in Rodale’s Farming Systems Trial show that organic farming produces competitive yields, builds higher levels of soil organic matter, retains more soil moisture, and is more profitable compared to conventional practices. The Farming Systems Trial also suggests that organic systems produce higher yields than conventional under drought conditions. Yield data from five years when rainfall was below average showed that organic corn yielded 31 percent...

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