Blog posts by Noah Lakritz

Written by Noah Lakritz on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 on general organic, policy

On January 8, California Governor Gavin Newsom released a $227 billion proposed budget for the 2021–2022 fiscal year. Despite concern over the effect of COVID-19 response on the state's budget deficit, the Governor's proposal includes healthy funding levels for several critical agriculture programs, including the following: $3.75 million ongoing funding to the California Department of Food and Agriculture to support integrated pest management strategies and a new, tiered approach to the pesticide mill fee that taxes pesticides based on toxicity levels$6.7 million for UC Cooperative Extension...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, January 11, 2021 on

On December 1, United States Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) released a landmark new bill to support existing and aspiring Black farmers. The 78-page bill would provide increased resources for all farmers, but particularly for Black farmers, through increased land access, education, and funding for existing USDA programs such as the Conservation Stewardship Program. It would also seek to remediate historic and ongoing discrimination at the Department of Agriculture by reforming the USDA Office of Civil Rights and creating an independent...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, November 16, 2020 on crisis resilience, financial assistance, general organic, resources

The deadline for farmers and ranchers to apply for financial relief from USDA through the second Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2) is December 11. CCOF encourages members to consider applying for the program, which may provide significant financial relief for your agricultural business. The CCOF policy team has spoken with multiple members who have benefited from the program and is ready to support members with the application process directly.   In addition to the CFAP resources outlined in our previous blog post, the following resources are newly available, including a CFAP 2...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, November 16, 2020 on advocacy, general organic

CCOF partner, the Organic Trade Association (OTA), is requesting farmer feedback on two initiatives:Continuous Improvement and Accountability in Organic StandardsJustice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Organic Community CCOF supports OTA’s effort to prioritize these initiatives in 2021 and encourages our members to fill out the associated surveys, described in detail below, by the November 30 deadline.  Continuous Improvement and Accountability in Organic StandardsChickens outside, standards for shampoo, and strategies for avoiding GMO contamination are some of the requirements that...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, October 19, 2020 on crisis resilience, financial assistance, general organic, resources

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) is now accepting applications for the second round of funding for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2) through December 11, 2020. CFAP 2 features a new payment structure and simplified application process that will likely benefit many organic producers, including those ineligible and those that qualified for little relief in the first round of funding. Farmers and ranchers are eligible to apply for CFAP 2 regardless of whether they received a payment from the first round of CFAP funding. In addition to increased payments for many commodities,...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Tuesday, October 6, 2020 on general organic

The Agricultural Council of California is providing a video developed with the California Department of Public Health to address topics outside normal employee safety issues surrounding COVID-19. This Spanish language video provides safety practices guidelines to reduce COVID-19 spread outside of the workplace. The video is intended for farmworkers and employees of food processing plants. Topics include, but are not limited to: the impacts of COVID-19 in the Latinx communityhow to safely commute in shared transportationkeeping COVID-19 germs out of the househow to protect families when...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Tuesday, October 6, 2020 on general organic

El Consejo Agrícola ofreció un video desarrollado con CDPH para abordar temas fuera de los problemas normales de seguridad de los empleados relacionados con el COVID-19. Este video en Español proporciona guias de prácticas de seguridad para reducir la propagación del COVID-19 fuera del lugar de trabajo. El video está dirigido a trabajadores agrícolas y empleados de plantas procesadoras de alimentos. Los temas incluyen, pero no se limitan a: los impactos del COVID-19 en la comunidad Latinacómo viajar de forma segura en transporte compartidomantener los gérmenes del COVID-19 fuera de la...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, September 28, 2020 on crisis resilience, policy, resources

The USDA announced a second round of funding for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). CFAP 2 will provide $14 billion in additional direct payments to farmers and ranchers. This new round of includes substantive changes from the first round, some of which may benefit organic producers:Compensation for losses experienced from April 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020 (or from April 16 for livestock)Additional price loss based payments for commodity crops covered by the first round of CFAPA new fixed $15/acre payment for many grains, oilseed, and hemp crops that were not previously...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, September 21, 2020 on general organic, NOP, NOSB, policy

The deadlines to submit public comments and register for oral comments to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) at their virtual fall meeting in St. Paul, Minnesota, are approaching! We encourage members of the organic community to submit public comments on the substances up for re-listing or removal from the National List of Allowed & Prohibited Substances and the other NOSB agenda items. Read NOSB's meeting materials (discussion documents, petitions, proposals, and Sunset Reviews). Handling Substances:KaolinSodium bicarbonateWaxes - nonsynthetic (Wood resin)Ammonium bicarbonate -...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Tuesday, August 18, 2020 on general organic, NOP, policy

The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) released an official proposed rule for Strengthening Organic Enforcement (SOE). The proposed changes will constitute the most significant changes to organic regulations since the creation of the NOP.  Among other changes, the proposed rule will:Reduce the types of uncertified entities in the organic supply chain (importers, brokers, traders)Require the use of NOP Import Certificates for all organic products entering the United StatesClarify NOP oversight of certification activities, including that NOP oversight extends to the actions of any person...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Tuesday, August 18, 2020 on advocacy, financial assistance, general organic

California state legislative leaders and California Governor Gavin Newsom are considering how the state can assist communities in recovering from the coronavirus pandemic. As these conversations get underway, it is essential to promote food and agriculture as solutions to economic recovery. One of the ways the state can easily invest in California agriculture is through CDFA’s Healthy Soils Program. The program has been increasingly popular with the state’s farmers and ranchers, including organic farmers and ranchers. The Healthy Soils Program turns farm-based climate solutions into rural...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Tuesday, July 28, 2020 on advocacy, CCOF, general organic, NOP

The Policy Team and Certification staff are gearing up for the release of proposed changes to the National Organic Program (NOP). While the official rule, called the Strengthening Organic Enforcement proposed rule, is not out yet, the NOP has released a pre-published draft and other resources on their website. OTA has also compiled a 10 page summary. We expect the proposed rule to:Reduce the types of uncertified entities in the organic supply chain (importers, brokers, traders)Require the use of NOP Import Certificates for all organic products entering the United StatesClarify NOP oversight...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Tuesday, July 28, 2020 on crisis resilience, financial assistance, general organic, producer

The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) is a USDA program that provides direct relief to producers who face economic losses due to COVID-19. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will accept applications for CFAP payments through August 28, 2020. According to USDA statistics, billions of dollars are still available for distribution to eligible applicants. Growers can apply online or download an application and fill it in. Detailed information on eligible crops, payment rates, and how to apply is on the CFAP website. USDA has added several previously ineligible commodities to the CFAP...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, July 13, 2020 on advocacy, general organic, policy

The National Young Farmers Coalition is now accepting applications for the newly created California Young Farmer Political Leadership Fellowship. The fellowship is designed to support young farmers in gaining positions in and influence on California policy boards, agricultural advocacy groups, local water districts, conservation districts, and other decision-making bodies. Young farmers who identify as being a part of a community that has been marginalized by policy-making such as Black, Indigenous, or other People of Color are encouraged to apply. For more information, visit the National...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 on advocacy, general organic, NOP, policy

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) released proposed regulations for the OCal program. The OCal program will be a statewide certification program to certify cannabis under a program based on the National Organic Program (NOP). Currently, federal laws prevent the certification of cannabis under the NOP and the labeling of cannabis as organic.  CDFA is seeking public comments on the proposed regulations until July 7, 2020. Read the proposed regulations and submit a comment. The CCOF Policy team is developing detailed comments on the proposed rule. We will urge CDFA to...

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