Blog posts by Jane Sooby

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 27, 2018 on advocacy, policy

A jam-packed agenda awaits members of the California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC), which will convene Wed., Sept. 5, at 10 am in the Wonderful Conference Room at the Jordan Agricultural Research Center, California State University Fresno. The public is welcome to attend the meeting and share their thoughts during the public comment session.  COPAC advises the California secretary of food and agriculture on education, outreach, and technical assistance for organic producers in the state. The committee is comprised of 15 primary members plus alternates for each seat.  For the...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 27, 2018 on advocacy, general organic, policy

A small bill with big impact, AB 2377, has been approved by both houses of the California state legislature this session and will now head back to the Assembly for concurrence before the legislature sends it to the governor’s desk for his signature. Last week CCOF’s policy team sent out an action alert encouraging members in California to call their state senator and request that they vote yes on the bill. Thank you to those who took action. The Technical Assistance for Climate Smart Agriculture bill, AB 2377, will establish a cadre of experts to work with farmers who want to apply for...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 on general organic, pests and pesticides

A blog entry written by Alejandro Del Pozo-Valdivia, entomologist with Cooperative Extension Monterey County, reports that bagrada bug adults were found on shortpod mustard plants north of Soledad and near King City. While no nymphs or eggs were found, their offspring may be moving into adjacent cole crops soon.    Newly planted or early-stage mustard family crops are most at risk from bagrada bug damage. Dr. Del Pozo-Valdivia encourages PCAs to check crops that fit this description in areas surrounding Soledad and King City.   No bagrada was found earlier this season in the San Ardo area,...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 on general organic, policy, standards

CCOF submitted a comment to USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) on the proposed Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, or GMO food labeling rule. The deadline for comments was July 3, 2018.   CCOF’s comment was rooted in the following principles, for which CCOF advocated in previous comments: Labels must have clear statements that include the term “GMO.” Electronic or digital links are not sufficient to communicate to consumers.  Protect the USDA National Organic Program’s regulations defining bioengineering and related terms.  Organic certification is sufficient to make a “not...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, July 2, 2018 on advocacy

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) has convened a Farmers Advisory Council (FAC) to provide input to the OTA Board of Directors and staff on matters pertinent to the advancement of organic agriculture.    CCOF is accepting applications for appointment to the FAC. Applications are due July 13. Under the terms of CCOF and OTA’s strategic partnership, the CCOF, Inc. Board of Directors may appoint up to five farmers to FAC.   To apply, contact Jane Sooby at (831) 346-6239. She can help you complete the simple application form.    FAC members must participate in quarterly conference calls....
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, June 25, 2018 on advocacy, policy

CCOF is accepting applications for appointment to the Organic Trade Association (OTA) Farmers Advisory Council (FAC). Applications are due July 13, and CCOF staff can help you complete the simple application.   FAC provides the OTA Board of Directors and staff with critical input from small- and medium-sized organic farmers, ranchers, and growers on matters pertinent to the advancement of organic agriculture, with a specific focus on OTA’s policy agenda.   The CCOF Board of Directors may appoint up to five farmers to FAC under the terms of CCOF and OTA’s strategic partnership. FAC members...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, May 14, 2018 on general organic

Television celebrity Dr. Oz hosted “the biggest names in the organic food industry” on a recent episode of his show that addressed consumer concerns about organic integrity.   Executive Director and CEO of the Organic Trade Association Laura Batcha was joined by Jill McIntosh of Kroger and Regina Beidler, an organic dairy farmer with the Organic Valley cooperative, to explain the rigor of organic standards and enforcement.   Batcha emphasized that “fraud is very rare in organic” and explained that the organic industry has actually gone to Congress to request additional regulation by USDA...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, May 8, 2018 on general organic, pests and pesticides

A recent blog post by Alejandro Del Pozo-Valdivia, UC Cooperative Extension entomologist based in Salinas, addresses reports he’s received about “red aphids” being found in organic romaine lettuce varieties that are resistant to the lettuce aphid.   Laboratory analysis showed that the “red aphids” were not lettuce aphids, but were actually either potato aphids or foxglove aphids.    Del Pozo-Valdivia’s blog shows pictures of different species of aphids and makes the point that body color is not the best trait to use to identify aphid species because they can change color during their lifespan...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, May 8, 2018 on biodiversity, events

The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is partnering with eOrganic to present a series of nine webinars based on OFRF’s soil health and organic farming educational guides. The first webinar will be May 9, 2018. The series will run through May 2019.   Presented by the guides’ authors Mark Schonbeck and Diana Jerkins, the webinars will cover  Building organic matter for healthy soils Ecological weed management Practical conservation tillage Selecting and managing cover crops Plant genetics Water management and quality Crop nutrient management Organic practices for climate...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, April 23, 2018 on general organic

The latest report from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) on organic processed products shows that gross sales were $11.65 billion in 2017. This represents 17 percent growth from 2016, when organic processed product sales were $9.94 billion.   CDPH is responsible for the State Organic Program’s oversight of organic processed foods production. CDPH is required under state law to issue an annual report to the California Organic Products Advisory Committee that includes the total number of organic registrants, the total number and quantity of each type of product sold as organic,...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, April 16, 2018 on advocacy, general organic, NOP, policy

Last week the House Agriculture Committee released their first draft of the 2018 Farm Bill. Agriculture policy wonks across the country are reviewing the text and preparing for next steps.    CCOF is pleased to see most of its top priorities included in the House draft:   — Increased funding authorized for the National Organic Program (NOP), accompanied by language that directs USDA to modernize NOP’s international trade tracking and data collection systems   — Continued funding at $5 million for the Organic Production and Marketing Initiative   — Increased funding from $20 million to $30...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 on advocacy, policy

A group of certified organic farmers and CCOF staff met with United States Representative David Valadao when he was in Hanford during the Congressional spring recess.    President of CCOF’s Fresno-Tulare chapter Dwayne Cardoza joined with fellow organic growers Ted Loewen, Jim Parsons, and Steve Beck to talk with Valadao about how the Organic Certification Cost Share Program is important, particularly for newly transitioned organic farmers and small- to mid-scale farmers in California who must pay state registration fees as well as organic certification fees. The need for organic data...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, April 2, 2018 on education, funding, general organic

Applications for the Healthy Soils Program in both the Incentives and Demonstration program areas are due on April 13, 2018 by 5:00 p.m. PDT. Late submissions will not be accepted.   The Healthy Soils Incentives Program provides financial incentives to California farmers and ranchers to implement agricultural management practices that sequester carbon, reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs), and improve soil health. Incentive grants are funded for up to $50,000 per grant.   Healthy Soils Demonstration Projects are on-farm demonstration projects that showcase conservation management...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, March 12, 2018 on advocacy, farm bill, policy, regulatory


DC

From left to right: Karen Archipley (Archi's Acres), Victor Cortes and Veronica Cortes (ALBA farmers certified organic by CCOF), Rep. Jim Costa, Wes King (NSAC), Jane Sooby (CCOF), and Gerardo Fuentes (farm incubator director, ALBA).    Just in time to contribute suggestions to the 2018 Farm Bill currently being written by the Agriculture Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, the national advocacy group National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) invited CCOF-certified farmers and staff to fly to Washington D.C., to visit key Congressional offices and tell their stories about...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, February 6, 2018 on advocacy, events


Cannabis

The California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC) started the year with its traditional meeting at the EcoFarm Conference on January 25, 2018.    COPAC advises the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) on organic issues.    During the meeting, State Organic Program (SOP) staff announced a new survey that will help inform its future communications work. Organic producers, country agricultural commissioners, consumers, and other stakeholders are encourage to participate.    SOP staff also reviewed upcoming changes to the state registration process that...

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