Blog posts by Jane Sooby

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...
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!

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