Blog posts by Noah Lakritz

Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, November 25, 2019 on general organic

According to a recently released report by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), California’s gross sales revenue from certified organic processed products grew from $11.65 billion in 2017 to $13.17 billion in 2018. These figures show continued growth for the sector, which includes organic products such as cheese, fruit juice, and dried pasta. CDPH, which provides oversight of processed food for the State Organic Program, provides an annual report on the number of organic registrants, annual gross sales, and the amount of each organic processed product type sold.  The report also...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Tuesday, November 12, 2019 on advocacy, general organic, NOP, policy

Now is the time to support the implementation of the long-overdue Origin of Livestock proposed rule. The rule would ensure clear and enforceable requirements for the sourcing of organic dairy herds by requiring new dairy animals to be managed organically from at least the last third of gestation. The organic community has advocated for this rule for many years. Inconsistent interpretation of the current rule has put some farmers at a disadvantage in an already struggling industry. On October 1, 2019, the USDA reopened the rule’s public comment period. Organic farmers, industry stakeholders,...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, September 16, 2019 on advocacy, CCOF Foundation, drought, financial assistance, general organic, help and tips

Enrollment for the USDA Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) began on September 11, 2019. More than $3 billion is available for producers affected by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019. Producers in 29 California counties are eligible for relief, including prevented planting payments for those unable to plant eligible crops in 2019. Crops that qualify for federal crop insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage are eligible for the WHIP+ program.  Consult the list of counties eligible for 2018 and/or 2019 relief. Read more about program eligibility...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, September 16, 2019 on policy

The Organic Trade Association’s (OTA) lawsuit against the USDA over the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule will move to final arguments. After multiple failed attempts by USDA to dismiss the case, a U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia has confirmed a timeline for final arguments. OTA’s motion for summary judgment will be due on October 18, USDA’s reply is due November 22, OTA will further reply by December 20, and the USDA’s final reply is due on January 17, 2020.  Background on the Lawsuit The 2017 lawsuit alleges that the USDA violated the Organic Foods Production Act...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 on advocacy, general organic, policy, research


JSM Farm Tour

Last week, Javier Zamora of JSM Organics hosted Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-20)’s Legislative Assistant Riya Mehta, Melody Meyer of Source Organic, Cassandra Christine of the Organic Trade Association, and CCOF policy staff for a tour of his farm in Royal Oaks, California. Zamora shared his story of success in an increasingly challenging market for small-scale organic growers and highlighted the challenges he and other growers face.  Mehta communicated Congressman Panetta’s continued support for organic and expressed a desire to seek policy support for both current and transitioning...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, August 19, 2019 on advocacy, general organic, policy

On Monday, August 12, CCOF partner organization California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN) released a publication that highlights the ongoing challenge of climate change on California farms and calls for farmer-driven solutions.  The publication summarizes research that evaluates current and predicted climate change impacts on California agriculture, including water scarcity and changing precipitation, warming temperatures and extreme heat, pests, disease and weed challenges, and wildfires.  It also highlights on-farm adaptation strategies and policy solutions that can help cultivate...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, June 3, 2019 on advocacy, biodiversity, funding, general organic

National Program The USDA is accepting applications for up to $12.5 million in grant funding for the adoption of innovative conservation projects on agricultural lands. The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) administers the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program, which funds projects in areas including soil health, irrigation efficiency, wildlife and pollinator habitat, water and air quality, greenhouse gas markets, on-farm energy use, and conservation finance.  NRCS will accept applications through July 29, 2019, for up to $2 million in funding per project. Applicants must...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 on advocacy, NOSB, policy

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will meet for its Fall 2019 meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on October 23-25. The meeting will include updates from various subcommittees, votes to retain or remove substances from the National List of Allowed & Prohibited Substances (National List), and votes on other proposals.  NOSB encourages public comments on proposals that will be discussed and voted on during the meeting. The deadline to submit written comments or requests for oral comment speaking slots is October 3. Opportunities for oral comments will be available via webinar on...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, May 20, 2019 on advocacy, education, general organic, pests and pesticides


strawberries

Joji Muramoto, a longtime research associate with University of California Santa Cruz, has been hired as the first University of California Cooperative Extension Specialist dedicated to organic agriculture. Muramoto will coordinate a statewide program focusing research on organic fruit and vegetable production. He will provide educational resources to producers on topics such as organic pest management and soil fertility. Cooperative Extension serves as a vital link between the University of California and the agricultural sector. Extension Specialists conduct research that addresses on-farm...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, May 20, 2019 on advocacy, CCOF, education, NOP

Last week the National Organic Program (NOP) launched the Organic Integrity Learning Center, an online platform that will provide free organic education geared towards certifiers, inspectors, reviewers, and compliance specialists. CCOF-produced videos were featured in a lesson titled “Sound and Sensible Organic Certification.” These videos were produced with a grant from USDA’s Sound and Sensible initiative to ease the process of transition and certification for producers. CCOF is proud to contribute content that highlights CCOF members and their practices in the new Learning Center.  The...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, May 20, 2019 on advocacy, general organic, policy

Organic producers can benefit from several crop insurance policies developed by USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) and purchased from local farm insurance agents. Crop insurance programs have become better suited to the needs of organic producers in recent years, with policies that allow producers to structure their policies based on their farms’ unique conditions. Organic Premium Price Elections now allow organic producers to hold crop insurance based on the price premium they would see in the market rather than the conventional commodity price. The number of crops with Organic Price Premiums...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, May 20, 2019 on CCOF

Last week, CCOF welcomed our new policy director, Rebekah Weber. Weber comes to CCOF from Vermont, where she worked as a clean water advocate for Conservation Law Foundation. In this role, Weber built coalitions of diverse stakeholders and advanced legislation to protect Lake Champlain and improve community resilience. Previously, Weber engaged in farmer outreach as a Fulbright Fellow in Nepal and worked on agriculture and environmental policy for U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy. She holds a Master of Arts degree in environmental law and policy from Vermont Law School and a Master of Science...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, May 13, 2019 on advocacy, general organic, policy, research


cattle

On January 1, 2019, Senate Bill 965 created the California Cattle Council. The new council will be a representative organization comprised of members of the cattle and dairy industries. It will work on projects such as research, promotion, cooperation with agencies and industry groups, and the development of best management practices. Potential research projects relevant to organic producers include the improvement of efficiency and sustainability of the industry, regulatory compliance, and market research concerning public consumption patterns and trends.  As the organic markets for dairy...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, May 6, 2019 on general organic, NOSB, policy, regulatory

USDA published a final rule making two amendments to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. The final rule is based on public input and the November 2017 National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) recommendations for livestock and handling and will be effective May 30, 2019. Elemental sulfur is currently allowed for use as an insecticide, plant or soil amendment, and for plant disease control. The new rule will allow for the substance to be used in organic livestock production as a topical insect repellent treatment.  Potassium acid tartrate, a biproduct of wine production, will...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, May 6, 2019 on advocacy, events, general organic, policy

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) will hold its annual Organic Week Event during the week of May 20, 2019. Each year, small- and large-scale growers, companies, researchers, and policy advocates convene in Washington for a week of organic networking, policy advocacy, and education.   Organic Week is comprised of three events: Member Day, Advocacy Day, and Conference Day. At last year’s Organic Week, CCOF members Javier Zamora of JSM Organics and Darrell Wood of Leavitt Lake Ranches spoke on panels. During Advocacy Day, CCOF members and staff joined in meetings with congressional...