Blog posts by Noah Lakritz

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...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, February 3, 2020 on advocacy, CCOF Foundation, events, general organic

From January 22-25, the Ecological Farming Association brought together the organic community for a week of connection, learning, and celebration at the EcoFarm Conference. CCOF members and staff were active participants in the conference both as attendees and as workshop presenters and moderators, event hosts, and keynote speakers. As CCOF staff, we relish the opportunity to connect with our members and partner organizations in-person, and EcoFarm provides the perfect opportunity to do so.  Farm Tours and Pre-Conference Gatherings The events kicked off on Tuesday with a field day at CCOF-...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, January 13, 2020 on employment, general organic, policy

A newly implemented law will change the classification for many workers in California from independent contractors to employees. Assembly Bill 5, which Governor Newsom signed into law on September 2019, codifies the California Supreme Court’s Dynamex decision into state law. The Dynamex decision outlines a three-part “test” to determine a worker’s employment classification. According to the new law, a worker can only be considered an independent contractor if all three of the following conditions are met:(A) The individual is free from control and direction in connection with the performance...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, January 6, 2020 on advocacy, CCOF, events, roadmap


Eco Farm Blog Photo

Photo by Liz Birnbaum CCOF is hosting a reception to celebrate the release of the Policy Report for the Roadmap to an Organic California project. Join us at EcoFarm for organic beer and wine, snacks, and good company as we celebrate the project’s completion and launch a new decade of organic advocacy in California.  When January 24 from 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. Where Embers Living Room Alisomar Conference CenterPacific Grove, California Who Will be There CCOF members and friends Cost Free!
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...

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