Blog posts by Jane Sooby

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...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 14, 2017 on advocacy, farm bill, general organic, policy, regulatory


Photo, left to right: Grant Brians, CCOF Board of Directors member; Laura Batcha, OTA; Melody Meyer, UNFI; Sam Farr, retired Congressman; Karen Ross, California Secretary of Agriculture; Mark Lipson, organic farmer & OFRF senior policy and program specialist. CCOF-certified farmers and CCOF staff presented testimony at two farm bill listening sessions convened in California last week.   A listening session in Modesto on August 5 attracted an audience of over 250 to present their farm bill priorities to members of the House Agriculture Committee Michael Conaway (R-Texas...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, July 17, 2017 on advocacy, regulatory, standards

Farmers and ranchers in the San Diego region have until August 7, 2017, to enroll in the Agricultural Order, a set of monitoring and reporting requirements that regulates pollutant discharges from agricultural lands.    Each of California’s nine regional water quality control boards are at various stages of implementing an agricultural order. The San Diego Water Board adopted an Agricultural Order for the San Diego region in November 2016.   Growers can comply with the Agricultural Order by joining a third-party group, such as the San Diego Region Irrigated Lands Group, or apply as an...
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...

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