Blog posts by Jane Sooby

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...
Written by Jane Sooby on Friday, October 21, 2016 on advocacy, funding, policy

Two grantmaking programs that fund organic work are now open for proposals. The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is accepting research proposals. OFRF is currently accepting research proposals from applicants residing in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. In particular, OFRF encourages farmers, ranchers, graduate students, early career researchers, veterans, and Extension personnel to consider applying for funding. The deadline for proposals is December 10, 2016. OFRF will notify applicants about funding decisions in early spring 2017. OFRF offers funding for research on...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, October 17, 2016 on advocacy, materials and inputs, NOSB, policy

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting agenda and supporting materials are available for review and public comment.  The NOSB will meet in St. Louis, Missouri, November 16-18, 2016. Written comments and signups for oral comment are due October 26.  The NOSB will discuss and vote on many important topics, including:  Crop materials scheduled for sunset in 2018, including copper sulfate, calcium chloride, and peracetic acid Bioponics (hydroponics and aquaponics) and container-based production  Strengthening guidance on organic seed and planting stock  Handling materials...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, October 3, 2016 on advocacy, materials and inputs, NOSB, policy

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will discuss and vote on recommendations concerning organic production at its upcoming meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, November 16-18, 2016. We encourage you to review the meeting agenda and supporting materials and submit a comment on issues impacting your operation. Meeting Topics and Materials The NOSB will discuss and vote on many important topics, including: Hydroponic/aquaponic/bioponic/aeroponic and container-based production Crop materials scheduled for sunset in 2018 including: Copper sulfate Calcium chloride Peracetic acid...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, September 19, 2016 on advocacy, general organic, policy

New statistics released by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) show that the total value of certified organic agricultural products sold in the United States increased from $5.5 billion in 2014 to $6.2 billion in 2015, a 13 percent increase. The number of certified organic farms and organic acreage also increased between 2014-2015. Once more, California is the top state for organic agricultural production, with $2.4 billion in sales (40% of the total) in 2015. Washington state is a distant second with $626 million. California also has the largest number of certified organic...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, September 19, 2016 on advocacy, pests and pesticides, policy


The third edition of the Bagrada Bug News is now available to read and print on demand. This edition reports on work being conducted in California and France to test promising natural enemies of bagrada bug. Scientists collected three species of wasps that lay their eggs in bagrada bug eggs, thus killing the nymphs inside, in South Africa and Pakistan and are now assessing their potential for release as natural predators of bagrada bug in California. This issue also features a lengthy article on the role of weeds as refuge for bagrada bug in California’s Salinas Valley. Shortpod mustard and...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, September 19, 2016 on advocacy, policy, seeds

Vague language in last year’s revision of the California Seed Law was clarified by legislation that exempts non-commercial seed trading–such as seed libraries, seed swaps, and other seed exchanges–from state permit and labeling requirements for commercial seed. California Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Seed Exchange Democracy Act into law on September 9, 2016. Introduced by Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-Marin County), the bill was a response to alarms raised by activists that the imprecise language in California’s seed law could unintentionally impede the free exchange of seed at...
Written by Jane Sooby on Friday, September 2, 2016 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

The California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC) will meet this Wednesday, September 7, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. in Sacramento, California. COPAC advises the California Secretary of Food and Agriculture on organic-related issues. The public is welcome to attend. Items on the meeting agenda include: An update on the state’s pilot GMO testing program A legislative update on the California Organic Food and Farming Act An Organic Input Materials Program update Animal welfare standards and the California State Veterinarian comments on them An update on the organic checkoff program The...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 29, 2016 on advocacy, general organic, policy

A public roundtable on October 20 in Washington, D.C., will consider the findings of a new study on consumer understanding of which products are covered by the organic label. The roundtable will feature invited panelists including consumer advocates, organic representatives, and academics. It will be free and open to the public. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in response to industry requests, conducted a study to assess consumer response to “organic” labels on products that fall outside the scope of the federal National Organic Program. The survey looked at how consumers responded to...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 29, 2016 on advocacy, policy, regulatory

The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Medical Cannabis Cultivation Program (MCCP) is conducting a series of workshops to gather public input on a licensing program for medical cannabis cultivators. Eight workshops will be convened at various locations in the state beginning September 13, 2016. The full schedule is online. The MCCP was created this year in the wake of the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, passed in 2015 by the state Legislature. A first step for the program is to create a Programmatic Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) that assesses the program’s...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 22, 2016 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

The California State Board of Food and Agriculture is now updating its strategic plan, Ag Vision, developed eight years ago for the state’s agriculture and food systems. An online survey is gathering public input into the plan through August 26. We encourage the organic community to participate in the survey so that the organic perspective is well-represented in the findings. Share your thoughts and take the survey!
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 22, 2016 on advocacy, policy, research

The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) has completed its analysis of federally-funded organic research projects and released the findings in the report Taking Stock: Analyzing and Reporting Organic Research Investments 2002-2014. OFRF analyzed 189 organic research projects that were funded by USDA’s Organic Research and Extension Initiative and Organic Transitions competitive grants over the course of 13 years, representing $142.2 million of research funds. About 70 percent of the studies looked into organic crop production, another 20 percent examined crop-livestock systems, and 10...

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