Blog posts by Guest Blogger

Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 19, 2018 on advocacy, CCOF Foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, future organic farmers


Melody Meyer

  I have been honored to be the executive director for the UNFI Foundation since its inception in 2012. Early on, my board asked me how we could bring together likeminded foundations to make a larger impact in our priority areas together as a community.    I began holding monthly calls with other funders who supported organic agriculture, and we all coalesced around the idea of fostering new organic farmers. We were concerned that the average age of the U.S. farmer was over 65, and we knew that organic farming provided a clear path to prosperity.   When Cathy Calfo from the CCOF Foundation...
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 advocacy, policy, standards

The Organic Trade Association wants its day in court. The association on Wednesday requested that oral arguments be heard on its lawsuit against the USDA over the department's failure to put into effect new organic livestock standards. The request comes as the case is gaining significant momentum and as more organic businesses and stakeholders take action and speak out in support of the lawsuit.   Since the filing of the lawsuit, a host of organic stakeholders representing thousands of organic farming families, organic certifiers, and organic policymakers—along with leading animal welfare and...
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 Guest Blogger on Monday, March 12, 2018 on education, funding, general organic

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is now accepting applications for the Healthy Soils Program (HSP). The program provides funding for incentivizing and demonstrating soil health practices that sequester carbon, reduce greenhouse gases, and improve soil health.    The HSP has two components: the HSP Incentives Program and the HSP Demonstration Projects.   The HSP Incentives Program provides financial assistance for implementation of soil health practices that sequester soil carbon and reduce GHG emissions. California farmers and ranchers, as well as federally- and...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 12, 2018 on advocacy, events

Please be informed that the next public meeting of the Environmental Farming Act Science Advisory Panel will take place on March 15, 2018, from 1:00-5:00 p.m. in the California Department of Food and Agriculture main auditorium.    The agenda has been posted to the following website in accordance with Bagley-Keen requirements.     Additional meeting information will be posted to the same website as they become available.   ***   The mission of the CDFA Office of Environmental Farming & Innovation is to serve California by supporting agricultural production and incentivizing practices...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 on advocacy, education

The Ag Leadership Program, operated by the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation (CALF), is considered to be one of the premier leadership development experiences in the United States. More than 1,300 men and women have participated in the program and are influential leaders and active volunteers in agriculture, communities, government, business, and other areas.   The 17-month program includes approximately 56 days of formal program activities. Four partner universities—California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo;...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, February 26, 2018 on biodiversity, funding, general organic

The California Department of Food and Agriculture is now accepting grant applications from nonprofits, universities, and California Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) offering technical assistance to farmers and ranchers who are interested in applying to the state’s Healthy Soils Program (HSP).   “If we are to meet our greenhouse gas reduction goals and improve the health of California’s soil, we must do everything we can to help our farmers and ranchers apply to our programs,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “Leveraging our partnerships with the academic community, nonprofits, and RCDs...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 on advocacy, events, policy

Judith Redmond introduces Dave Runsten at 38th annual EcoFarm Conference   At the 38th annual EcoFarm Conference in late January, we were thrilled to see Dave Runsten, policy director at the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF), receive a Steward of Sustainable Agriculture (“Sustie”) award. According to the Ecological Farming Association, the award honors “those special people who have been actively and critically involved in ecologically sustainable agriculture and who have demonstrated their long term, significant contributions to the well-being of agriculture and the planet.”  ...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, February 12, 2018 on biodiversity, farm bill, grower, handler

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced that U.S. farmers and ranchers have until March 2, 2018, to submit an initial fiscal year (FY) 2018 application for the nation’s largest working lands program, the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).    Over 72 million acres across the country–roughly 8 percent of all agricultural land–are currently enrolled in whole-farm conservation contracts. The significant amount of working lands already enrolled in CSP, and the fact that in recent years CSP has had to turn away as many as 75 percent of qualified applicants, is evidence...
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 Guest Blogger on Monday, January 29, 2018 on policy, regulatory

California is the leading agricultural state in the country, and we are proud of the products that are grown and produced here. The laws and regulations that are in place protect consumers, producers, handlers, processors, and retailers by establishing standards for agricultural products and foods that are labeled and/or sold as organic.   The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) State Organic Program (SOP) is always seeking effective and efficient ways to protect and promote growth of the organic industry. That means continuously reviewing regulations to ensure they align...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, January 22, 2018 on financial assistance, help and tips

Farmers and ranchers are independent and resilient, and their relationships with creditors are often long-term and critical for the future of their businesses. When markets, weather, or other conditions create farm losses, the resulting financial challenges can be difficult to untangle. If you face challenges repaying farm bills and debt, the California Agricultural Mediation Program (CALAMP) can help. CALAMP works with farmers to develop a feasible plan to move forward. A short illustrated video shows the ag credit mediation process in action.   What Can CALMAP Help With? The United States...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, January 22, 2018 on events

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) wants to let you know about an exciting new undertaking featuring organic farmers, NRCS employees, and other conservationists that is being rolled out next week at the EcoFarm Conference at Asilomar on January 24-27, 2018. If you are planning to attend the conference, please stop by and visit with us at our booth, and consider joining us for one or both of these two special events:    Poster Reception Following Keynote Wednesday, January 24, 9:00 p.m., Nautilus and Triton RoomsTickets can be purchased onsite for $50, and include an all-...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, January 8, 2018 on advocacy, events, general organic

The Carbon Farming Revolution will command front and center attention at the 38th EcoFarm Conference on January 24 through 27 at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, California. Owing to unstable climates, carbon has been getting a bum rap of late, quite undeservedly so. Most of us farmers are unaware that carbon—and its management—is the most critical element in our farming systems, probably because we don’t purchase carbon in a sack like we do N-P-K. Were there a “most friendly atom” award, carbon should be its slam dunk winner. Though it could be different on some other planet...

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