Blog posts by Jane Sooby

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, October 26, 2020 on funding, general organic

CCOF’s proposal to add an Organic Transition Option to the California Healthy Soils Program was stymied on  October 15 by the panel that advises the secretary of food and agriculture on the program. Instead, the panel approved a recently submitted recommendation from the California Farm Bureau Federation to establish a new program that would provide funding for farm planning. Due to the strain on the state’s budget caused by the pandemic, there currently is no funding for the Healthy Soils Program. If CCOF’s proposed Organic Transition Option, originally presented to the panel in January, had...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, October 6, 2020 on CCOF, general organic, policy

Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 406, the Health Care Omnibus Bill, into law last week. Authored by California Senator Richard Pan, the bill includes a section that repeals the requirement for organic processors and handlers to print their California organic registration number on all transfer documents including bills of lading and invoices.  Concern about this requirement was raised to the Processor Subcommittee of the state’s organic advisory board, the California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC), earlier this year by another accredited certification agency because some of the...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, August 11, 2020 on advocacy, biodiversity, general organic, policy

Numerous scientific studies show that organic farming improves soil health and builds soil organic matter, which sequesters carbon in the soil and helps mitigate climate change.  This makes organic farming a good match for the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) Healthy Soils Program, which offers three-year grants to farmers and ranchers to implement conservation practices that build soil health, sequester carbon, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  CCOF has been working since last year to gain approval from CDFA to add an Organic Transition Option to the Healthy Soils...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, August 11, 2020 on advocacy, biodiversity, general organic

CCOF Central Coast Chapter President Javier Zamora of JSM Organics was one of the featured panelists in the Climate of Hope Online Forum organized by Regeneración Pajaro Valley Climate Action, a climate justice organization based in Watsonville, California.  The Climate of Hope forum gathered experts to discuss how climate change is affecting agricultural communities, with a focus on farmworkers in the Central Coast’s Pajaro Valley.  California State University, Monterey Bay students presented the results of a community survey on climate change sponsored by Regeneración which found “the...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, July 13, 2020 on advocacy, general organic

The Farmer Equity Act passed by the California legislature in 2017 defined “socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers” and required the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to ensure that food and agriculture laws, policies, and programs be developed in consultation with socially disadvantaged and women farmers and ranchers. CDFA recently issued the 2020 Report to the California Legislature on the Farmer Equity Act on progress to date in implementing the Farmer Equity Act. Using data based on stakeholder and agency interviews, the report identifies four primary challenges...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 on CCOF, general organic, member news

Jeff Huckaby, president of CCOF-certified Grimmway Farms and Cal-Organic Farms, has received the Organic Trade Association’s prestigious Farmer of the Year award for 2020. Huckaby is a fourth generation farmer who discovered a passion for growing organic carrots over 20 years ago when he first started experimenting with organic practices. He has since led the expansion of Grimmway and Cal-Organic’s organic production to more than 45,000 acres of certified organic vegetables in five states. He is a leader in organic marketing as well, convincing Costco to stock only organic carrots in their...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, June 8, 2020 on general organic

The Agricultural Statistics Review released annually by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) includes organic data for the first time. The organic section of Agricultural Statistics Review reports producer, handler, and processor gross sales by county for 2018 and harvested acreage of 29 crop categories by county. Kern County was the top organic county in 2018 with over $782 million in sales. Monterey County was second with $480 million, and Fresno County third with $299 million. Collectively, California counties produced over $10 billion of organic agricultural products...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 on advocacy, events, general organic, policy, water

The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (Central Coast Water Board) has released a draft Agricultural Order 4.0 to take the place of the existing order, which expires January 31, 2021. The Central Coast Water Board will hold three virtual workshops on June 2, June 3, and June 4 to explain the new Agricultural Order, review its monitoring and reporting requirements, and provide information about the draft environmental impact report. Links to join each workshop are listed below.  The workshops will be broadcast via Zoom, which may be accessed via computer or telephone. Attendees...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, May 11, 2020 on advocacy, crisis resilience, general organic, we are essential


We Are Essential 051120

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that families value high quality, organic food. While the impact of COVID-19 on food and agriculture has been uneven across sectors, the demand for some types of organic processed foods, such as pre-cut vegetable assortments and pantry staples, has increased as families search for healthy options while saying at home.  Beyond the health benefits, organic processed foods are an important part of California’s economy. The California Department of Public Health recently reported that organic processors made $15.5 billion in gross sales in 2019, a 17 percent...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, May 4, 2020 on advocacy, general organic

In what has become a routine practice during the COVID-19 shelter in place orders, the California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC) will meet via teleconference from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 7, 2020. COPAC advises the California secretary of food and agriculture on the State Organic Program and on current issues in the state’s organic sector. The State Organic Program is managed by two state agencies: the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), which regulates organic processed products, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), which...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, April 28, 2020 on advocacy, crisis resilience, general organic, marketing

As part of USDA’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) plans to spend $3 billion for vendors to purchase, package, and deliver boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, and meat to non-profit distribution centers such as food banks, schools, churches, and community groups. According to AMS officials, this will not be “a normal purchasing program” that buys truckloads of agricultural commodities. Instead vendors will assemble boxes containing a variety of products that are ready to load “off the truck and into the trunk.” Vendors are also responsible...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, March 9, 2020 on advocacy, CCOF, general organic, policy, roadmap

Healthy Soils Program Requests for Applications Released Acknowledging the many benefits of improved soil quality, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) initiated the Healthy Soils Program in 2017, which offers grants to farmers and ranchers to implement new soil-building practices on their land. CDFA recently opened the Healthy Soils Program for 2020 applications. Applications for the Incentives Program will be accepted on a rolling basis until 5 p.m. PT on June 26, 2020, or until available funds are expended, whichever comes first. Applications for Demonstration Projects...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, January 13, 2020 on advocacy, CCOF, general organic

CCOF’s Director of Inspection Services Sean Feder has been appointed by California’s Secretary of Food and Agriculture Karen Ross to the alternate certifier seat on the California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC). COPAC advises the secretary on education, outreach, and technical assistance for organic producers in the state. The committee is comprised of 15 primary members plus alternates for each seat.  Term limits opened up a number of primary producer seats that were filled with alternate members. CCOF members who now fill primary seats on COPAC are Benjamin Diesl with Grimmway...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, September 23, 2019 on advocacy, education, events, general organic

The California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC) advises the California secretary of food and agriculture on education, outreach, and technical assistance for organic producers in the state.  COPAC will convene a meeting on September 26 from 10:00 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Sonoma County Farm Bureau office. Items on the agenda includeNational Organic Program updates, GMO test pilot program update featuring a discussion on synthetic biology, Processor and CalCannabis Subcommittee updates, origin of livestock rule, and access to organic slaughter facilities.  See the full agenda online. The...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, July 29, 2019 on general organic, international, trade

Producers whose international sales have been negatively impacted by trade tariffs are eligible to enroll in the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), part of the Trade Mitigation Package that will provide up to $14.5 billion in direct payments to agricultural producers nationwide.  Sign-ups began July 29, 2019 and will continue through December 6, 2019. Payments will be based on 2019 planted acres with some additional restrictions. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is administering the program. Producers affected by natural disasters who filed prevented planting claims then planted an MFP-...

Pages