Blog posts by Jane Sooby

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, February 27, 2017 on farm bill, policy

The United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry held its first 2018 Farm Bill hearing in Manhattan, Kansas, on February 23, 2017, kicking off what committee chair Pat Roberts (R-KS) characterized as the “farm bill journey.” The farm bill is a hefty piece of legislation passed by Congress every five years that sets the nation’s food and agriculture policies. Consisting of 12 major sections or titles, the farm bill sets the rules for commodity, conservation, trade, nutrition, credit, rural development, research, forestry, energy, horticulture, and crop insurance...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, February 27, 2017 on regulatory, water

The Central Coast Water Board will consider adoption of a new Agricultural Order at their March 7-9, 2017 meeting in Watsonville, California. The Agricultural Order is item number 6 on the agenda, which is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, March 7, at 8:30 a.m. The Water Board anticipates that the discussion will be completed by Wednesday, March 8. Spanish translation will be provided at the meeting. As noted in a previous blog post, the changes under consideration could result in significant new reporting requirements for all growers who produce commercial crops under irrigation, including...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 on advocacy, policy, water

In the wake of 2014’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), counties, water management districts, and other water agencies around the state are organizing regional groups to formulate plans by the year 2020 that will guide groundwater management with the goal of achieving sustainable use by the year 2040. SGMA is the first state law ever to regulate groundwater use in California. SGMA requires that a local Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) be created to manage the 127 high and medium priority groundwater basins identified by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR)....
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 on advocacy, materials and inputs, NOSB, policy

The National Organic Program announced that two comment periods have been extended. Comments on the draft guidance on Calculating the Percentage of Organic Ingredients in Multi-Ingredient Products are now due April 7, 2017. CCOF urges all processor/handler members to review this draft guidance as it could impact product labels depending on how the calculations are made. CCOF will submit a comment on the draft guidance. Additionally, the comment period on changes to the National List for the 2017 Sunset period was also extended to April 19, 2017. Contact CCOF’s Policy Team for additional...
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 Jane Sooby on Monday, February 6, 2017 on advocacy, policy

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is developing a Healthy Soils Program that has two objectives: to build soil carbon and reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions through incentives and demonstrations to farmers. CDFA now invites comment on the proposed framework for this program through March 1, 2017. Submit comments to cdfa.oefi@cdfa.ca.gov. CDFA’s Office of Environmental Farming and Innovation unveiled proposed details of the Healthy Soils Program framework at the Environmental Farming Act Science Advisory Panel’s meeting on January 19, 2017. Elements of the...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, February 6, 2017 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

On January 26, the California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC) held its first meeting of the year where it welcomed six new committee members and elected Mindee Jeffery of Good Earth Natural Food as committee chair. COPAC advises the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) on organic issues. Current Secretary Karen Ross recently appointed six new members to the committee, including three producer seats, two alternate producer seats, and an environmental seat. Several seats remain open for appointment, including a processor seat, a newly created...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, December 19, 2016 on advocacy, policy, water

The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (Central Coast Water Board) is proposing to update its Agricultural Order (Ag Order), which may result in significant new recordkeeping requirements for some farms in the region.1 Impacted farmers can submit a comment by January 3 or attend an upcoming public hearing on March 7-9, 2017, at the Watsonville City Council Chambers. Spanish translation will be provided at the meeting. Background The California state Irrigated Lands Program regulates discharges from irrigated agricultural lands statewide. Each of the state’s nine regional water...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, December 19, 2016 on advocacy, general organic, policy

Based on data collected from organic certifiers, the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service just released a summary of organic statistics from 2014 and 2015. The summary includes data on certified organic crop and livestock operations. It shows that the number of certified organic operations increased from 13,174 in 2014 to 14,861 in 2015, a growth rate of 13 percent. Certified organic pasture and rangeland acreage increased by 47 percent, from 1,467,874 acres in 2014 to 2,160,764 acres in 2015. Acreage of most organic crop types increased between...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, December 19, 2016 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

The California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC) advises the Secretary of Food and Agriculture on issues related to organic standards enforcement and on support for organic agriculture in California through education, outreach, and other activities. CCOF encourages its members to consider applying to serve on COPAC. There are currently open seats for: 3 producers, 1 processor, 1 environmental representative, and 1 technical representative. Numerous alternate positions are also open. View the current COPAC roster online. Producer, processor, and wholesaler members must have...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, December 12, 2016 on advocacy, pests and pesticides, policy

The fourth issue of Bagrada Bug News, a free newsletter dedicated to developing organic management strategies and biocontrol of the bagrada bug, is now available online. Bagrada bug, Bagrada hilaris, is an invasive stinkbug that first appeared in California in 2008. A prolific breeder with few organic control options, the pest has caused significant economic losses for organic growers, particularly in brassica crops such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and other mustard family members. CCOF joined with the California Department of Food and Agriculture to form a Bagrada Bug Working Group in...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, November 21, 2016 on advocacy, NOSB, policy

The fall 2016 National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting opened with the announcement of five new appointees to the federal advisory committee. The NOSB was established by the Organic Foods Production Act to advise the National Organic Program on materials allowed in organic production and other organic issues. It is composed of 15 volunteers from around the country and includes four organic farmers; two handlers; three experts in environmental protection and resource conservation; three representatives of public interest or consumer groups; an expert in toxicology, ecology, or...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, November 21, 2016 on advocacy, materials and inputs, policy

The deadline to comment on the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) proposed rules on pesticide applications near schools has been extended to December 9, 2016. The rules may affect your operation. They propose to restrict pesticide applications via aircraft, airblast sprayer, sprinkler chemigation, or in the form of a dust, powder, or fumigant to ¼ mile from a school site between the hours of 6:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. During those same hours, ground-rig spray, field soil injection, and drip or flood chemigation applications must be applied at least 25 feet...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, November 7, 2016 on advocacy, materials and inputs, policy

California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is accepting written comments and holding three public hearings on proposed rules that will more strictly regulate pesticide applications near schools. The new rules restrict pesticide applications to ¼ mile or 25 feet from school sites between the hours of 6:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, the distance depending on the application method and the type of pesticide. Property owners must provide both annual and application-specific notification to schools in advance of all pesticide applications. Read the text of the rules. Learn...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, October 31, 2016 on advocacy, materials and inputs, NOSB, policy

CCOF submitted 11 comments to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) in advance of the board’s November meeting. The comments address a range of NOSB agenda items, from materials slated for sunset in 2018 to hydroponic organic production. Click on the links below for CCOF’s comments. All of the comments submitted to the NOSB can be read online. The NOSB is a federal advisory board to the National Organic Program. It convenes formal meetings twice annually to discuss materials scheduled for sunset off the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances and other organic issues. The...

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