Blog posts by Jane Sooby

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, November 13, 2017 on advocacy, policy, research

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) held a listening session in Sacramento on November 2 to gather input on research priorities. CCOF’s senior policy specialist Jane Sooby commented on the need to integrate organic topics into NIFA’s research portfolio, pointing out that the unique nature of organic farming warrants in-depth study.   NIFA is an agency within the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture which funds food and agricultural research through a range of grants programs. The two federal programs dedicated to organic research, the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, November 13, 2017 on advocacy, pests and pesticides, regulatory

California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) released long-anticipated rules restricting pesticide applications close to public schools and daycare facilities.    The new rules require that pesticides using aircraft, airblast sprayer, sprinkler chemigation, or applied as a dust, powder, or fumigant between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday be located at least ¼ mile from schools.    At least 25-foot distance is required when application is made via ground-rig sprayer, soil injection equipment, or other types of applications including drip or flood chemigation.    There are no...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, October 16, 2017 on advocacy, general organic

Since passage of the California Organic Food and Farming Act in 2016, the California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC) has new responsibilities to support organic agriculture through education and outreach. COPAC’s traditional role, to oversee the State Organic Program and advise the Secretary of Food and Agriculture on organic issues, continues.   The CCOF Policy Team is working to fully seat COPAC and encourages you to consider applying. COPAC has 15 primary members plus an alternate for each seat. Currently, there are one primary and eight alternate seats open on COPAC.   Being a...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, October 9, 2017 on advocacy, grower, standards

A bill just signed by California Governor Jerry Brown extended the deadline for cannabis growers to file documentation of their water source to October 31, 2017.    The new deadlines are specific to growers who plan to submit their growing license application to CalCannabis before January 1, 2019.   According to a message from the State Water Resources Control Board:   If you currently have a Small Irrigation Use Registration (SIUR), Permit, License, or plan on filing for an SIUR, the statutory deadlines below do not apply to you, but you will need to include appropriate documentation of your...
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...

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