Blog posts by Guest Blogger

Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, April 29, 2019 on CCOF, general organic, policy


2019 Investing in Integrity Award

Deputy Administrator Jennifer Tucker (center) with 2019 Investing in INTEGRITY award winners at the National Organic Standards Board meeting in Seattle, Washington. Pictured left to right: Jodi Snyder and Becky Scheifele of Global Organic Alliance, Sam Welsch of One Cert, and Phil LaRocca, Mary Chramiec, and Peter Nell of CCOF. NOP Names Eight 2019 Investing in INTEGRITY AwardeesThe USDA National Organic Program (NOP) honored eight USDA-accredited organic certifiers with a 2019 Investing in INTEGRITY award. Federally accredited certifiers are third-party organizations that certify and help...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, April 29, 2019 on events, general organic

The 2019 Automated Weeder and Thinner Demonstration and Field day will take place on Tuesday, May 21, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon at the USDA Spence Research Field Station at 1572 Old Stage Road in Salinas.  Automated technologies are helping fill the gap in the supply of labor that is occurring in the farming community. At this field day, weeders and automated lettuce thinners developed by a number of companies will be demonstrated on lettuce plantings. Both driven and autonomous machines that use a variety of different mechanisms to remove unwanted plants will be available for viewing....
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, April 22, 2019 on advocacy, biodiversity, funding, general organic, research

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California is now accepting proposals for its Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program. Up to $500,000 is available for one- to three-year grants. The maximum award amount for any project will not exceed $75,000 in fiscal year 2019. Proposals are due by June 10, 2019.  CIG is a voluntary program to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies in conjunction with agricultural production. The proposed projects should augment existing NRCS technical tools (planning, assessment, and/or...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, April 8, 2019 on employment, general organic, policy


checklist

Are you a farmer who needs seasonal or temporary workers for planting, cultivating, or harvesting crops? The H-2A temporary agricultural workers program–often called the H-2A Visa Program–helps American farmers who anticipate a lack of available domestic workers fill employment gaps by hiring workers from other countries. With the new Checklist Tool, participating in the Program is now easier than ever. H-2A Visa Checklist ToolThe interactive H-2A Visa Checklist Tool is the latest addition to the farmers.gov website. While interest in the H-2A Visa Program grows each year, farmers often find...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, April 1, 2019 on biodiversity, food safety


biodiversity

Dung beetles and soil bacteria on farms could help suppress E. coli and other harmful pathogens, according to research. The study published in the Journal of Applied Ecology found improved food safety may be enhanced by on‐farm biodiversity and the current view that farm simplification helps may undervalue natural resistance to human-pathogen survival. Growers are often encouraged to remove hedgerows, ponds, and other natural habitats to prevent wildlife from moving onto their farm fields and potentially spreading foodborne pathogens. Results suggested dung beetles and soil bacteria may...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 25, 2019 on food safety, general organic


FSMA

Food safety inspections on produce farms are beginning this month, but there are still questions as to what the first round of Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule inspections will look like. The fact that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be regulating farms for the first time is concerning for many produce farmers who have never interacted with FDA before on a regular basis. Adding to the anxiety for some producers, is the fact that this will be the first time in history that they will have to deal with regular inspections on their farm.  In order to help...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 25, 2019 on advocacy, CCOF Foundation, financial assistance, general organic


flood

Late winter storms immediately followed by warm spring weather has caused record flooding in much of the Midwest, including Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Kansas, South Dakota, and Minnesota. The consequences have been catastrophic for family farmers and ranchers in the region; just in Nebraska, the cost to agriculture is estimated at $1 billion. These expenses are due in large part to crop loss, livestock deaths, and building damage. But even farmers who have been able to salvage their products face significant barriers to storing or selling them because entire portions of critical...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 on advocacy, education, general organic, policy

It’s time to put organic food on more kids’ plates, and the California legislature may be willing to help. California Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry’s new bill, AB 958, will create the first-ever Organic-to-School pilot program. The pilot program will help qualifying school districts purchase organic food, offering up to 15 cents per meal. If successful, the bill will bring more organic food to California’s schools, which is great for the health of our children, a win for climate, and a boost for innovative farming communities growing food without toxic pesticides. California is the...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 on events, general organic

In celebrating the tradition and innovation of the State’s number one industry, agriculture, the California State Fair Board of Directors, upon the recommendation of the Agricultural Advisory Council, selects Karen Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) as Agriculturalist of the Year.  The Agriculturalist of the Year award is presented to an individual who has contributed extensively, in a professional capacity, to California’s agricultural industry. Award criteria stipulates this individual must have demonstrated leadership and clearly represented the...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 on biodiversity, events, pests and pesticides


Oak Titmouse.N.Uyeda

Oak Titmouse photo by Norman Uyeda Wild Farm Alliance (WFA) and our partners are pleased to announce four upcoming field days as part of our All Things Avian Series.  Farmers, expand your tool box by adding birds as pest control allies on your farm. Learn how to take advantage of a multitude of beneficial birds that provide pest control services year-round, and to manage the few birds that may become pests later.  Farmer to Farmer Field Days in Northern CaliforniaMarch 19 – Chamberlain Farms, Woodland, CA, 8:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.March 21 – Tres Sabores Vineyard (CCOF-certified), St. Helena, CA...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 4, 2019 on advocacy, CCOF, CCOF Foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund

I have witnessed Cathy Calfo’s vivacious drive since 2011 when she became the Executive Director of CCOF.  Since that time, she has been a friend, mentor, confidant and co-conspirator in advancing all things organic. During her eight-year tenure, she achieved many policy and advocacy successes for organic agriculture in California and the Nation. Cathy will leave the organization in March, in the good hands of Kelly Damewood. I recently had the privilege of speaking with Cathy about her work at CCOF, commitment to organic and vision for the future. Prior to CCOF, Cathy served two terms as...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, February 25, 2019 on biodiversity, food safety, general organic, research

The FDA’s Produce Safety Rule, mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), is now taking effect for California farmers. A new survey, funded by the USDA, promises to give a clearer picture of what this means for the industry. Farmers have voiced concerns over the costs and challenges of complying with the Rule since it was first announced. However, there is still too little hard evidence on the true distribution and severity of these challenges. Both farmers and government agencies need concrete statistics on where California farmers stand with respect to the Rule and how much they’...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 on advocacy, biodiversity, general organic


Monarch

California agricultural producers can voluntarily help the monarch butterfly on their farms and ranches through a variety of conservation practices offered by the USDA.  “With the monarch butterfly’s western population in peril, we’re encouraging California producers to make simple tweaks on their farms that can go a long way for this iconic species,” said Carlos Suarez, state conservationist with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California. “NRCS offers more than three dozen conservation practices that enable producers to help monarchs and other pollinators as well as...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 on advocacy, biodiversity, general organic, research, survey


Herbicides in Irrigation Water

Protecting our CCOF-certified organic farm from external herbicide contamination has been an ongoing challenge. For over forty years, the Nevada Irrigation District (NID), our local water purveyor, has used herbicides to manage the unlined ditches that bring our irrigation water.We believe the time has come to stop the application of elemental copper- and glyphosate-based herbicides to raw water canals statewide. To this end, we ask to draw on the experience of California’s certified organic farmers to learn more about other irrigation districts throughout the state. Does your water purveyor...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, February 11, 2019 on advocacy, events, financial assistance, general organic

Over its 20-year history, California FarmLink has developed its focus around three core elements for farm and ranch success: strong business skills, fair financing, and secure land tenure. We’re quick to add that growers benefit from fair and appropriate financing, with an overarching goal of enabling farmers and ranchers to build wealth through short-term profits or acquisition of assets. With our eyes on wealth-building, California FarmLink will enable growers to compare financing options at the Growing Opportunity: Farm Finance Expo on Thursday, February 28 in Clovis, California, the day...

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