Blog posts by Noah Lakritz

Response times may be slow due to the wildfires affecting Santa Cruz County and Covid-19. Organic compliance deadlines and inspections will be delayed for businesses affected by these crises. Read the latest updates on the Northern California wildfires, and visit our Covid-19 webpage to find pandemic-specific information »

Los tiempos de respuesta serán lentos debido a los incendios forestales afectando al condado de Santa Cruz y COVID-19. Los plazos de cumplimiento orgánico y las inspecciones se retrasarán para los negocios afectados por estas crisis.  Lea las últimas actualizaciones sobre los incendios forestales del norte de California y visite nuestra página web de Covid-19 para encontrar información específica a la pandemia »

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...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 on CCOF, crisis resilience, general organic

Applications opened last week for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). CFAP is a USDA program that will provide $16 billion in direct aid to farmers who suffered losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications and payments will be processed through the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA).  CCOF recognizes that this program has structural flaws that will prevent many of our members from accessing desperately-needed financial relief. We are working to advocate for improvements to this program. If you would like to contact us about your experience with CFAP, please email us at policy@...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, May 18, 2020 on advocacy, crisis resilience, financial assistance, general organic, policy

The COVID-19 crisis has prompted unique responses by federal, state, and local governments. This legislative update provides a brief snapshot of some key state and federal policy areas CCOF is monitoring.  USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program On Thursday, May 14, USDA hosted a webinar to introduce producers to the application process for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The webinar recording can be viewed via Zoom. USDA has said that it will release applications soon. The CFAP website has initial instructions to prepare producers to apply, including contacting your local...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, May 18, 2020 on advocacy, education, general organic, research

Organic researchers need your help in identifying the challenges that certified organic producers and transitioning organic producers face. The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF), Organic Seed Alliance (OSA), and the Social and Economic Sciences Research Center (SESRC) created surveys that will help set their research priorities.  Certified organic farmers and ranchers can take the organic survey here:https://www.opinion.wsu.edu/organicproduction/. Farmers and ranchers who are transitioning to organic certification can take the transition survey here: https://www.opinion.wsu.edu/...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, May 4, 2020 on crisis resilience, financial assistance, general organic

As of Monday, May 4, the Small Business Administration (SBA) will now accept new applications for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program exclusively from agricultural producers. During the first round of funding, SBA prohibited agricultural producers from applying for relief. While the current round of funding includes agricultural producers as eligible applicants, SBA has been processing applications left over from the previous round.  The EIDL program offers loan advances of up to $10,000 for businesses experiencing a loss in revenue due to COVID-19. These loans will not need to...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, May 4, 2020 on crisis resilience, general organic

On Wednesday, April 29, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced an expansion of the Farm to Family program, a collaboration between the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the California Association of Food Banks (CAFB). The program, which facilitates donations of excess produce from California farms to food banks, is expected to support more than 20 million pounds of produce donations in the coming months. Newsom’s announcement highlighted $3.6 million in funds the state has already raised from a combination of USDA grants and philanthropic donations. The campaign...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, March 9, 2020 on advocacy, CCOF, general organic, policy

On February 26, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree introduced the Agriculture Resilience Act (ARA), an ambitious piece of legislation that proposes a path to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in U.S. agriculture by 2040. The bill focuses on policy goals in the following six areas: increasing research, improving soil health, protecting existing farmland, supporting pasture-based livestock systems, boosting investments in on-farm energy initiatives, and reducing food waste. Specific targets in the plan include cutting emissions from ruminant livestock by at least half, restoring half of the...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, March 9, 2020 on advocacy, general organic, research

Organic researchers need your help in identifying the challenges that certified organic producers and transitioning organic producers face. The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF), Organic Seed Alliance (OSA), and the Social and Economic Sciences Research Center (SESRC) created surveys that will help set their research priorities.  Certified organic farmers and ranchers can take the organic survey here:https://www.opinion.wsu.edu/organicproduction/ Farmers and ranchers who are transitioning to organic certification can take the transition survey here:https://www.opinion.wsu.edu/...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, February 10, 2020 on advocacy, CCOF, CCOF Foundation, general organic, research

Next week, CCOF is releasing our Roadmap to an Organic California: Policy Report, the next installment in a first-of-its-kind research project that investigates how organic is a solution to California’s toughest challenges.  From climate change to economic and health inequities, organic agriculture is a proven solution. CCOF’s 2019 Benefits Report analyzed three decades of peer-reviewed research to document the economic, environmental, and health benefits of organic. The Policy Report builds on this scientific foundation and presents nearly 40 policy recommendations to grow organic to combat...

Pages