Blog posts by Kelly Damewood

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...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, June 20, 2016 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

Due to overwhelming support from CCOF members, the California State Assembly voted to approve Assembly Bill (AB) 1826—the California Organic Food and Farming Act—and forward it to the California Senate. Please join the 235 individuals and businesses who publicly support AB 1826. Write your senator today and show your support! The bill is expected to be voted out of the California Senate Committee on Agriculture this week and then move to the Senate Committee on Appropriations. The California Organic Food and Farming Act (AB 1826) will: Eliminate duplicative paperwork for certified organic...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, June 13, 2016 on materials and inputs, NOP, policy, regulatory, standards

CCOF and the Organic Trade Association (OTA) recently submitted statements representing the interests of organic producers in a federal lawsuit filed by the Center for Food Safety (CFS) against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which challenges the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) guidance on the Allowance of Green Waste in Organic Production Systems. The guidance states that organic standards are process-based. These processes aim to exclude pesticide residues. However, the compost may contain pesticide residues so long as those levels do not contribute to the contamination of...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, March 28, 2016 on rating system

Whole Foods Market has incorporated stakeholder feedback in adjustments it made to its Responsibly Grown Program. Whole Foods announced the adjustments in January and continues to move forward with improvements to the program.   About Responsibly Grown Responsibly Grown is a rating system used by Whole Foods Market to address agricultural challenges in the marketplace. The rating system accounts for soil health; air, energy and climate; waste reduction; farmworker welfare; water conservation and protection; ecosystems and biodiversity; and pest management. The Responsibly Grown program is...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, January 11, 2016 on advocacy, events, fees, policy, State Organic Program

Join CCOF at EcoFarm as we kick off our campaign to pass the Organic Farming Act—an act to end outdated State Organic Program fees and paperwork! California Central Coast Assemblymember Mark Stone will introduce the Organic Farming Act to update California’s state organic law. The Organic Farming Act will end unfair, duplicative, and outdated fees and paperwork while also creating a new framework for the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to support organic agriculture. To pass the Organic Farming Act, we need your help at two critical EcoFarm events. Attend the California...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, November 30, 2015 on advocacy, policy, regulatory, State Organic Program

Since the implementation of the national organic standards in 2002, CCOF members have expressed concerns that the California State Organic Program (SOP) duplicates the fee and reporting requirements of the USDA National Organic Program (NOP). In response to these concerns, CCOF wrote a comprehensive report in 2015 titled Review of the California State Organic Program. About the Report CCOF wrote the Review of the California State Organic Program in collaboration with an advisory committee to ensure input from a range of stakeholders, including organic producers, policy experts, and public...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, March 9, 2015 on CalCAN, events

The 4th California Climate & Agriculture Summit On March 24 & 25, the 4th California Climate & Agriculture Summit will take place in Davis, CA. The Summit is organized by California Climate & Agriculture Network (CalCAN), a coalition of the state’s leading sustainable agriculture organizations and farmer allies that came together out of climate change concerns. They mainly focus on climate change impacts on California agriculture and methods to advance sustainable agricultural solutions to a changing climate. At the Summit, you will learn the latest science, policy, and...

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