Blog posts by Jane Sooby

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...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, February 6, 2018 on biodiversity, general organic, research

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering up to $2 million for one- to three-year projects that investigate innovative conservation approaches and technologies. Proposals are due February 26, 2018.   Organic Agriculture Systems is one of three Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) priorities for fiscal year 2018. NRCS specifically requests proposals that help organic producers implement and evaluate conservation practices. Proposals submitted under this priority area must address at least one of these specific issues: Cropping and tillage systems that build soil health...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, January 22, 2018 on advocacy, policy, water

The State Water Board postponed deliberation of its updated agricultural order for the Eastern San Joaquin River Watershed to February 7, when it will consider adoption of the order.   Otherwise known as waste discharge requirements, agricultural orders regulate discharges from irrigated lands, such as sediments, pesticides, and nitrates. The Eastern San Joaquin River Watershed draft order was originally proposed in February 2016. In response to extensive public comment and formal petitions for review, the Water Board released a second draft order in October 2017 that was slated for...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 on advocacy, water

In response to public concern about the use of recycled oilfield water (otherwise known as produced water) as an irrigation source in the Central Valley, the regional Water Board assembled a Food Safety Expert Panel in 2016 to assess the safety of crops grown using this source of water.    The Food Safety Expert Panel will meet January 24, 2018, beginning at 10:00 a.m. and concluding at 3:00 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Central Valley Water Board’s Board Room located at 11020 Sun Center Drive, Suite 200, in Rancho Cordova, California.   The public is invited to attend. Opportunity for...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, December 18, 2017 on advocacy, CCOF, general organic, livestock, policy, regulatory, standards

USDA published notice in the Federal Register this week that it intends to withdraw the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule, which has been under development by the organic community for over a decade. The notice opens a public comment period that is open through Jan. 17, 2018.  Comments may be submitted through regulations.gov.   Originally set to be fully implemented earlier this year, USDA under the current administration already has delayed implementation three times and now proposes to withdraw the rule on the premise that it exceeds USDA’s statutory authority.   CCOF...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, December 11, 2017 on advocacy, policy

The California State Water Board is accepting comment on a second draft of the agricultural order for the Eastern San Joaquin River Watershed through Friday, December 22, 2017, at noon.    CCOF strongly encourages organic growers from all regions of California to comment because this order will likely be replicated throughout the state. The requirements in the order could have significant costs and impacts for all growers because they will be required to report a large amount of detailed information annually, including data on nitrogen applications and crop yields.   What Is an Agricultural...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, November 20, 2017 on CCOF, marketing, policy

The feature article for the fall edition of CCOF’s Certified Organic magazine is now available online for ready reference, to download, and to print on demand. The article provides an overview of what’s in the farm bill, describes the political dynamics around the farm bill, and presents organic farm bill priorities.    Please read it and share widely!
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, November 13, 2017 on advocacy, policy, research

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) held a listening session in Sacramento on November 2 to gather input on research priorities. CCOF’s senior policy specialist Jane Sooby commented on the need to integrate organic topics into NIFA’s research portfolio, pointing out that the unique nature of organic farming warrants in-depth study.   NIFA is an agency within the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture which funds food and agricultural research through a range of grants programs. The two federal programs dedicated to organic research, the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, November 13, 2017 on advocacy, pests and pesticides, regulatory

California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) released long-anticipated rules restricting pesticide applications close to public schools and daycare facilities.    The new rules require that pesticides using aircraft, airblast sprayer, sprinkler chemigation, or applied as a dust, powder, or fumigant between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday be located at least ¼ mile from schools.    At least 25-foot distance is required when application is made via ground-rig sprayer, soil injection equipment, or other types of applications including drip or flood chemigation.    There are no...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, October 16, 2017 on advocacy, general organic

Since passage of the California Organic Food and Farming Act in 2016, the California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC) has new responsibilities to support organic agriculture through education and outreach. COPAC’s traditional role, to oversee the State Organic Program and advise the Secretary of Food and Agriculture on organic issues, continues.   The CCOF Policy Team is working to fully seat COPAC and encourages you to consider applying. COPAC has 15 primary members plus an alternate for each seat. Currently, there are one primary and eight alternate seats open on COPAC.   Being a...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, October 9, 2017 on advocacy, grower, standards

A bill just signed by California Governor Jerry Brown extended the deadline for cannabis growers to file documentation of their water source to October 31, 2017.    The new deadlines are specific to growers who plan to submit their growing license application to CalCannabis before January 1, 2019.   According to a message from the State Water Resources Control Board:   If you currently have a Small Irrigation Use Registration (SIUR), Permit, License, or plan on filing for an SIUR, the statutory deadlines below do not apply to you, but you will need to include appropriate documentation of your...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, September 25, 2017 on education, grower

Results of the newly released 2016 Certified Organic Survey provide numerous indicators of organic’s continuing growth trajectory in the United States.   Organic farms in the United States produced and sold $7.6 billion worth of organic products in 2016, a 23 percent increase from 2015 organic sales. Organic farm numbers increased 11 percent to 14,217 certified organic farms and ranches, and organic acreage grew by 15 percent to 5 million acres.   Once again, California is the top organic state in terms of organic sales, farm numbers, and acreage.  In 2016, California produced 38 percent of...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, September 18, 2017 on education, financial assistance, general organic, grower

Scholarship applications are now being accepted to attend the 30th annual California Small Farm Conference (CSFC), an educational and networking event for farmers, ranchers, and farmers’ market managers that will be held at the Robert J. Cabral Ag Center in Stockton, California on October 29-30, 2017.    Keynote speakers at the conference will be Carl Rosato and Helen Atthowe and the young couple who succeeded them on Woodleaf Farm, Danny Lazzarini and Andrew Seidman. Other sessions include Creative Financing Strategies for Sustainable Farmland Succession, CSA Resiliency in a Changing...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 21, 2017 on advocacy, policy, regulatory

California’s new cannabis regulations are being crafted by numerous state agencies. The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) has issued two documents for review, the Cannabis Cultivation Policy and the General Order. Comments on each document are due Sept. 6, 2017, by noon Pacific time.   The Water Board has also posted a Staff Report that provides the rationale for the draft policies. The Water Board will also accept public comments on this report.   The State Water Board is scheduled to hold two public hearings on October 17, 2017, in Sacramento, to receive oral comments...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 21, 2017 on advocacy, general organic, policy

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee is now accepting nominations to fill 10 seats. The Committee advises the Secretary of Agriculture on programs and services that USDA provides to the produce sector.   The Committee has a total of 25 members who represent the fruit and vegetable industry in the following capacities: Growers/Producers Wholesalers/ Distributors Importers/Exporters Processors Farmers Market Managers Food Hubs Association leaders Retail/Restaurant Food Service suppliers State departments of agriculture   USDA seeks to...

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