Blog posts by Jane Sooby

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, June 5, 2017 on advocacy, policy

The Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM) is an invasive exotic leafroller that feeds on a wide range of host crops in California. This year, it seems that heavy spring rains kept growers on the Central Coast from taking usual steps to control LBAM and, as a result, many LBAM larvae have hatched and higher than normal numbers of LBAM have been found, particularly in strawberries. LBAM Quarantines Although it does not pose a major threat to most crops, the state of California has gone to great lengths to prevent accidental shipment of LBAM to areas where it isn’t established. Places where LBAM has...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, May 15, 2017 on policy, State Organic Program

The California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC) met in Sacramento on May 3 to discuss a range of organic issues.   California’s Secretary of Food and Agriculture Karen Ross made a flurry of appointments to the committee over the past few months, including appointing President of CCOF Certification Services, LLC Jake Lewin, to the new certifier seat on COPAC. All but one of the primary seats are now filled. A technical representative seat is still open.   COPAC advises the secretary on organic issues. Since passage of the California Organic Food and Farming Act last year, COPAC’s...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, May 8, 2017 on livestock, policy, regulatory, standards

If you support the organic rulemaking process and strong organic livestock and poultry standards, please take a moment to email the United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and tell him that the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule must be implemented without delay.  After postponing the rule for five months, this week USDA stalled again, issuing an additional six-month delay for implementation. USDA also opened another comment period on the rule with comments due June 9, asking people to weigh in on these four alternatives: Let the rule become effective. This means that...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, April 3, 2017 on advocacy, marketing, policy

The deadline to comment on two proposed rules for the Organic Research, Promotion, and Information Order (also known as the Organic check-off program) has been extended through April 19, 2017. The proposed 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. What Will the Check-Off Do? The check-off would create a 17-member governance board comprised of eight certified organic producers, seven certified organic handlers, one certified organic importer, and one at-large public member. This...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 on advocacy, materials and inputs, policy

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has released a revised proposal for regulating the use of agricultural pesticides near school sites and licensed child day care facilities. The department is inviting the public to comment on the revisions through April 4, 2017. The key revisions to the proposed regulation include: Growers will not be required to notify school sites/licensed child day care facilities and the county agricultural commissioners (CACs) of pesticide applications made within a quarter mile of these facilities 48 hours before they occur. However, growers will...
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...

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