Blog posts by Jane Sooby

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, January 4, 2016 on advocacy, NOSB, policy


The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is a citizen advisory board that offers input to the National Organic Program on allowed materials and practices in certified organic production. Appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, the NOSB meets twice a year to review organic materials and policies. Secretary Tom Vilsack recently appointed six new members to the NOSB who will begin serving their terms in 2016. The new NOSB members are: Jesse Buie (pictured), organic producer representative, a CCOF-certified farmer in Mississippi with a distinguished background in health care...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, November 23, 2015 on grower, pests and pesticides, policy

CCOF, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and University of California Cooperative Extension are hosting a meeting on the invasive stinkbug Bagrada bug on Friday, December 11 at the Cooperative Extension office in Salinas from 9:30 a.m – 3 p.m. Click here to register for the meeting. The meeting is free of charge and will include lunch for onsite participants courtesy of CCOF and the University of California Cooperative Extension Entomology Program. The meeting will also be broadcast as a webinar, allowing remote participants the ability to hear all presentations and interact...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, November 9, 2015 on grower, pests and pesticides, policy

CCOF is collaborating with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), scientists from numerous agencies, and Cooperative Extension on a Bagrada Bug Working Group. The working group brings together scientists and extension personnel from across the country who are working to develop organic management and biological control of Bagrada bug. What is Bagrada bug? The Bagrada bug is a member of the stinkbug family that has wreaked havoc in mustard-family crops over the past six years. A native of Africa, it has no natural enemies in the U.S. and has spread from southern California...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, October 5, 2015 on advocacy, policy

In July, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would stop all state and local regulation of foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs), including GMO labeling requirements. The vote was 275 in favor and 150 opposed. The bill, dubbed the “Deny Americans the Right to Know” or DARK Act, was widely seen as an effort to undermine state-level labeling of GMO foods. CCOF wrote letters to representatives who voted on both sides of the issue, praising those who voted against it and expressing disappointment toward those who supported it. At this time, there is no...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, September 21, 2015 on advocacy, financial assistance, policy

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) continues to refine crop insurance options for organic growers. The latest change is that more crops are eligible for coverage at the organic or contracted price instead of at the conventional price. For crop year 2016, RMA has added barley, cabbage, cranberries, cultivated wild rice, dry peas, forages (including alfalfa in some states), grass seed, onions, potatoes, processing clingstone peaches, rye, sugarcane, safflower, and wheat to the list of crops that can be insured for their organic price. Now, a total of 47 crops are...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, September 21, 2015 on advocacy, policy

The Western Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education program (SARE) is seeking nominations or self-nominations for the following seats on its Administrative Council: Organic Farmer/Rancher Sustainable Farmer/Rancher Conventional Farmer/Rancher Tropical Farmer/Rancher NGO/Nonprofit Representative Nominations and self-nominations are being accepted until November 6, 2015. To apply, please contact Teryl Roper, Regional Coordinator at (435) 797-8698 or teryl.roper@usu.edu. SARE is a U.S. Department of Agriculture program that awards competitive grants conducted cooperatively by...
Written by Jane Sooby on Friday, September 4, 2015 on advocacy, drought, policy, water

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is updating the list of critically overdrafted basins in the state as part of its responsibilities under the new California groundwater management law, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014. The list of critically overdrafted basins and subbasins is open for comment through September 25, 2015. The draft list is online here, and the statewide map is posted here. Click on this link for more information and instructions on how to comment (scroll down to “Next Steps”). A basin is considered to be critically overdrafted if existing...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 31, 2015 on advocacy, financial assistance, policy

A new type of crop insurance, Whole-Farm Revenue Protection, may better serve highly diversified organic crop and livestock producers than traditional crop insurance policies. Rather than covering losses of a particular crop, Whole-Farm Revenue Protection covers all crops and livestock produced on a single farm. In response to suggestions made by CCOF’s partner organizations, the Organic Trade Association and its Farmers Advisory Council and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the Risk Management Agency (RMA) made a number of changes to the program since its initial release in...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 31, 2015 on policy, research

The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) announced that it will keep its National Survey of Organic Farmers open through September 14, 2015.Please take a few minutes to fill out the survey.The 34-question survey focuses on certified organic farmers’ research needs and also collects information on the organic community’s experience with GMO contamination, pesticide drift, and food safety issues.Widespread participation by organic farmers across the country will ensure that research needs of all types and scales of certified organic production are recorded. Survey results inform...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 24, 2015 on food safety, policy, research

A new study out of the University of California, Berkeley shows that removing vegetation adjacent to farms on California’s Central Coast has not reduced the incidence of E. coli found in fresh produce. Instead, the reverse is true: farms that retained nongrazed riparian or other natural vegetation types had significantly lower prevalence of generic E. coli in water and pathogenic E. coli in produce.These results contradict the conventional wisdom that developed in 2006 when spinach contaminated with pathogenic E. coli entered the stream of commerce and caused three deaths and 205 illnesses....
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 10, 2015 on chapters

In May, CCOF members in Mexico formed a new CCOF chapter. As their first order of business, the Mexico Chapter members elected the following chapter leaders:President: Esteban Macías Padilla, Grupo UVice President: Daniela Robles, Grupo AltaSecretary: Dante Gutiérrez Medina, Berrymex Baja CaliforniaTreasurer: Lois Christie, Christie Organic Consultants, Inc., and Tequila SauzaBoard Representative: Eduardo Morales, Promotora Agrícola El Toro Carmela Beck, National Organic Program Manager with Driscoll’s and a key organizer of the Mexico Chapter, commented, “Driscoll’s applauds CCOF’s efforts...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 10, 2015 on policy, research

If you haven’t had the opportunity to weigh in on Organic Research Priorities using the Organic Farming Research Foundation's (OFRF) national survey, we highly recommend doing so. The confidential survey asks for data on farm size, production, and location; detailed information about organic farming challenges; and farmers’ most pressing information needs on topics such as pest control, soil health, water conservation strategies, pesticide drift, and GMO contamination of organic crops.In addition to the OFRF national survey, CCOF is conducting in-person focus groups with CCOF chapters across...
Written by Jane Sooby on Friday, July 17, 2015 on policy, research

Please take a few moments to respond to the Organic Farming Research Foundation’s (OFRF) National Survey of Organic Farmers. Widespread participation by organic farmers across the country will ensure that all types and scales of certified organic production are reflected in the survey’s results. Responses will be accepted through August 30.A link to the survey was distributed via email to every certified organic farmer in the United States with an email address, so follow the link you received or access the survey at http://opinion.wsu.edu/agresearch/.The 34-question survey focuses on...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, June 15, 2015 on grants, water


The State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP), authorized by emergency drought legislation last year, is open for applications through June 29. The program provides funding to help farmers and ranchers implement conservation measures that reduce their water use and greenhouse gas emissions.  The maximum grant award is $150,000 and can be used to improve irrigation and energy-use efficiency on California farms and ranches. Examples of fundable activities include the following:replacing flood or furrow irrigation systems with drip or micro irrigation, converting from fossil fuel-...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, March 30, 2015 on policy

UC Berkeley researchers need farmers for a study on diversified farming systems in California’s Central Coast. The project will look at how agricultural practices on organic farms affect the diversity of life found on those farms, with an emphasis on birds and pollinators. The study needs farmer participants who grow organic strawberries on two acres or more of land in Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Prunedale and Salinas. Benefits of cooperating on the project include:  Access to research results about your own farm and all participating farms collectively (with complete anonymity) that can inform...

Pages