Blog posts by Kelly Damewood

Written by Kelly Damewood on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 on advocacy, marketing, policy, research

The proposed organic check-off program is open for comment through March 20, 2017. CCOF members are strongly encouraged to comment. Comments should include any recommended improvements to the proposal as it is now published and whether the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) should move forward with putting the proposal to a nationwide referendum. About the Organic Check-off The proposed Organic 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. The funding would come from a...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, January 23, 2017 on advocacy, livestock, policy, regulatory

On January 18, 2017, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule. CCOF strongly supports the rule because it requires high animal welfare standards, including sufficient outdoor access for poultry. The rule would make the standards that CCOF has always required of its certified operations applicable to all USDA organic producers. CCOF was one of the first organizations to call for more consistency in verifying that organic poultry have sufficient outdoor access. We are pleased that UDSA is bringing clarity for consumers,...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, January 23, 2017 on advocacy, marketing, policy, research

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking public comments on the proposed Organic Research, Promotion, and Information Order, also known as a proposed organic check-off program. USDA will accept comments now through March 20, 2017. You may submit comments to www.regulations.gov, under docket number AMS-SC-16-0112. The proposed organic check-off program would be funded by organic producers. It would include a range of agricultural commodities such as fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, poultry, breads, grains, snack foods, condiments, beverages, and packaged and prepared foods...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, January 9, 2017 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

On January 1, 2017, the CCOF-sponsored California Organic Food and Farming Act (COFFA) went into effect. This law updates the California State Organic Program (SOP) by streamlining registration for farmers, reducing registration fees for small organic farmers, and making changes to the role of the state’s organic advisory committee. Improved SOP Registration Process This year, organic farmers will immediately experience a significantly improved SOP registration and renewal process. Rather than report acreage and sales for each crop grown, farmers will only report six categories of crops and...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, January 2, 2017 on cost share, fees, financial assistance, State Organic Program

On December 21, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that certified organic producers will be able to apply for reimbursement of State Organic Program (SOP) fees as an additional scope of certification through the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (Cost Share). SOP fees are an additional cost of certification for organic producers operating in the state of California, where producers must pay SOP fees to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) in addition to paying fees to their accredited certifying agent. In 2016, CCOF worked with the...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, December 5, 2016 on advocacy, policy, regulatory, water

The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board has issued tentative Order # R5-2016-XXXX Waste Discharge Requirements General Order for Poultry Operations, which may impact organic poultry operations. The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board will be holding a hearing on December 5th and 6th in Rancho Cordova, for those that wish to comment on the proposed Order. The tentative order impacts poultry operations within the Region 5 Water Quality Control Board, which includes Modoc, Shasta, Lassen, Plumas, Butte, Glen, Colusa, Lake, Sutter, Yuba, Sierra, Nevada, Placer,...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, September 26, 2016 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

On Wednesday, September 21, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1826–the California Organic Food and Farming Act (COFFA)–into law! COFFA was sponsored by CCOF and authored by Assemblymember Mark Stone to streamline State Organic Program registration for thousands of organic farmers throughout California. The unwavering support of CCOF members helped COFFA sail through the California State Assembly and Senate with unanimous support in favor. Passage of COFFA will: Eliminate duplicative paperwork for certified organic farmers by allowing accredited certifying agents like CCOF to...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, August 29, 2016 on advocacy, policy, regulatory

AB 1066, the Phase-in Overtime for Agricultural Workers Act of 2016, is a bill authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) that would set new overtime pay requirements for California farm workers. The bill is sponsored by United Farm Workers (UFW), which argues that farm workers are unfairly excluded from federal wage protections and maximum hour standards. According to bill supporters, farm workers do not receive fair pay and yet have one of the most physically demanding occupations. Many agricultural groups oppose the bill, including the California Farm Bureau Federation and the...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, August 1, 2016 on advocacy, genetic engineering, policy, regulatory

Last Friday, President Barack Obama signed the GMO labeling bill into law. The president’s signature comes after the Senate passed the bill in a 63-30 vote, and the House passed it in a 306-117 vote. The new law will require mandatory labeling of GMOs on certain product labels. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) must now begin formulating regulations to implement the law.  CCOF is closely monitoring regulatory developments and will alert members and encourage the submission of public comment when the USDA releases proposed rules. For more information, contact CCOF Policy Director Kelly...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, August 1, 2016 on materials and inputs, NOP, regulatory

Last month, a court ruling invalidated a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) guidance regarding the allowance of green waste in organic systems (NOP 5016). The ruling was based on a determination that USDA violated administrative procedures when issuing the guidance. The final impact of this ruling on the use of compost will be determined in the future pending an appeal of the decision by USDA or the issuance of new guidance. More information will be made available in the coming weeks. CCOF is closely monitoring regulatory developments and will alert members...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, July 18, 2016 on advocacy, grower, policy

CCOF is accepting applications for appointment to the Organic Trade Association (OTA) Farmers Advisory Council (FAC). Applications are due August 5, 2016. FAC provides the OTA Board of Directors and staff with critical input from small- and medium-sized organic farmers, ranchers, and growers on matters pertinent to the advancement of organic agriculture, with a specific focus on OTA’s policy agenda. Under the terms of CCOF and OTA’s strategic partnership, the CCOF Board of Directors may appoint up to five farmers to FAC. FAC members must participate in quarterly conference calls. Additionally...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, July 11, 2016 on advocacy, genetic engineering, policy

By a 63-30 bipartisan vote, the United States Senate approved a federal GMO labeling bill introduced in June by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Republican Pat Roberts of Kansas and ranking Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. Roberts and Stabenow have been publicly working on the terms of the bill since early this year in response to a federal bill that would have prohibited mandatory labeling and Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling requirements that took effect July 1 (with a six-month grace period). The labeling bill sparked heated debate among organic leaders, consumer and...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Tuesday, July 5, 2016 on advocacy, grower, policy

CCOF is accepting applications for appointment to the Organic Trade Association (OTA) Farmers Advisory Council (FAC). Applications are due August 5, 2016. FAC provides the OTA Board of Directors and staff with critical input from small- and medium-sized organic farmers, ranchers, and growers on matters pertinent to the advancement of organic agriculture, with a specific focus on OTA’s policy agenda. The CCOF Board of Directors may appoint up to five farmers to FAC under the terms of CCOF and OTA’s strategic partnership. FAC members must participate in quarterly conference calls. Additionally...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Tuesday, July 5, 2016 on advocacy, NOP, policy, regulatory

On June 20, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California held that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) did not properly issue guidance on the allowance of green waste in compost used for organic production. USDA has 60 days to appeal the decision. The ruling is the outcome of a federal lawsuit filed against USDA that challenges the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) guidance on the allowance of green waste in organic production systems. The Court held that USDA did not properly issue the guidance because it did not provide for public notice and comment. The Organic...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Wednesday, June 29, 2016 on advocacy, genetic engineering, labeling and packaging, policy

Last week Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Republican Pat Roberts of Kansas and ranking Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Michigan introduced a federal GMO labeling bill. The Organic Trade Association (OTA) worked closely on the bill and released a statement outlining its position in support. CCOF has not taken a position on the bill, and we are monitoring its progress closely. CCOF supports mandatory labeling of agricultural GMOs and their products. Labeling of GMO seed, products grown from GMO seed or stock, and products made with ingredients and byproducts of GMO crops is necessary for...

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