Blog posts by Peter Nell

Written by Peter Nell on Monday, November 20, 2017 on events, policy


Last week, CCOF hosted a farm tour for the California State Legislature to highlight the challenges and opportunities for organic agriculture. Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-CA-04) and legislative staff joined Paul Underhill at Terra Firma Farm and Thaddeus Barsotti at Capay Organic Farm. While the tour highlighted the multiple environmental and economic benefits of organic agriculture, it also clearly demonstrated the immense regulatory pressures organic farmers are struggling with today.    Underhill began the tour of Terra Firma Farm by broadly introducing organic and showing real-...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, November 13, 2017 on advocacy, policy

On November 9, the USDA announced it would once again delay implementation the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule (OLPP).    This was a disappointing announcement for the organic community, which has asked for a long time that the USDA implement the OLPP which would clarify and strengthen organic standards for animal welfare. It was developed with over 14 years of public input and is supported by the vast majority of organic stakeholders as demonstrated by the over 40,000 public comments in support of the OLPP. Despite overwhelming support for the rule, the USDA did not implement...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, October 23, 2017 on advocacy, general organic, grower, handler, materials, NOSB, standards

CCOF submitted 11 written comments to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) ahead of the fall 2017 NOSB meeting.   NOSB is the federal advisory committee to the National Organic Program and meets twice per year to discuss organic standards. This fall, the meeting will be held in Jacksonville, Florida from October 31 through November 2, 2017.   At the meeting in Jacksonville, the board will complete the 2019 Sunset Reviews on 43 substances listed on the National List of Allowed & Prohibited Substances (National List). NOSB will vote to relist the substances on the National List or...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, October 23, 2017 on advocacy, general organic, research

The California Farm Bureau Federation (CFBF) released their 2017 agricultural labor availability survey results in a report titled Searching for Solutions: California Farmer Continue to Struggle with Employee Shortages. The report includes data from 762 farmers and ranchers throughout California and its findings are consistent with a 2012 CFBF labor survey.   The report shows that 55 percent of responding farmers experienced employee shortages during the summer of 2017. A majority of farmers reported that they were unable to recruit up to 50 percent of their seasonal workforce needs, with 15...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, October 23, 2017 on advocacy, general organic

The Organic Center will host a webinar titled How Does Organic Mitigate Climate Change? on October 26, 2017 from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. and also on November 29, 2017 from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.    Registration for the webinar is now open.   Dr. Tracy Misiewicz, the associate director of science programs for the Organic Center, will present information relating to the Organic Center and the National Soil Project’s study on organic soil. The study shows that soil from organic farm soil is better at sequestering carbon than conventional farm soil. The webinar will provide scientific evidence that...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, October 2, 2017 on advocacy, general organic, NOSB, regulatory, standards

The deadlines to submit public comments and register for oral comments to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) at their fall meeting in Jacksonville are approaching! It is critical that members of the organic community 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. The votes and discussions in Jacksonville will impact future organic standards and substances allowed in organic production.   In total, 43 substances will be discussed at the fall meeting:   Crop scope...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, October 2, 2017 on general organic, standards

USDA’s Natural Resources Conversation Service (NRCS) updated their resources for organic farmers and farmers interested in transitioning to organic. Their organic resources have various resources such as guides, videos, fact sheets, webinars, booklets, and more.    NRCS’s newest booklet, Growing Organic: NRCS Assistance for Organic Farmers, provides a wealth of information for farmers who are interested in implementing practices that support soil health, weed management, habitat and biodiversity, irrigation and water management, pasture management, and high tunnels.   An updated guide for...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, September 25, 2017 on advocacy, research, standards

On Monday, over 20 CCOF members throughout Congressman Doug LaMalfa’s (R CA-01) district signed a letter urging the congressman to support H.R. 2436, the Organic Agriculture Research Act of 2017.    The letter explains that organic farmers and ranchers work hard to produce their crops, livestock, and food products, but their sector needs more funding for organic agricultural research.    The Organic Agriculture Research Act will increase annual organic research funds in the farm bill up to $50 million. These funds will ensure that researchers have ongoing support for their organic research...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, September 25, 2017 on advocacy, NOSB, policy

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will host their second yearly meeting in Jacksonville, Florida October 31 through November 2, 2017.    Organic stakeholders can now register to speak at a pre-meeting webinar and at the meeting in Jacksonville.    The NOSB will host an online webinar on October 24, 2017 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Those interested in the webinar must register before October 11, 2017. If all speaking slots are taken, NOSB will host an additional webinar on October 26, 2017 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Commenters are allotted a three-minute comment...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, September 18, 2017 on general organic, NOP

Last week, the National Organic Program’s (NOP) Deputy Administrator Miles McEvoy announced his retirement in a letter to the organic community.    In his letter, McEvoy gives deep appreciation to each level of the organic food chain. He highlights his top ten list of accomplishments at NOP which includes: Developing a quality management system for NOP that improves program consistency and effectiveness. Improving the communication and transparency of NOP. Developing the NOP Handbook and implementing the Sound and Sensible certification process. Ensuring that all accreditation audits were...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, September 18, 2017 on general organic, standards

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) filed a lawsuit against USDA over its delay of the implementation of the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) rule.    OTA’s lawsuit alleges that: USDA violated the Administrative Procedure Act because it delayed OLPP without any public process and also violated the same act by abusing its discretion by proposing action to indefinitely delay or shelve the rule; USDA violated the Organic Foods Production Act and its consultation provisions where industry and public stakeholders can revise, refine, and advance organic standards via the well-defined...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, September 18, 2017 on general organic, materials, NOSB, standards

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) has released the meeting materials for their upcoming fall meeting in Jacksonville, Florida.    NOSB will discuss: Compliance, Accreditation, & Certification Subcommittee: o Proposal: Eliminating the incentive to convert native ecosystems to organic production o Proposal: Excluded operations in the supply chain (uncertified handlers) Crops Subcommittee: o Crops 2019 Sunset Reviews o Proposal: Petition - Fatty alcohols (octanol/decanol mix) o Proposal: Petition - Anaerobic Digestate o Proposal: Strengthening the organic seed guidance (NOP 5029)...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, September 18, 2017 on events, general organic, grower

USDA and the National Center for Appropriate Techonology (NCAT) will host the third annual Latino Farmer Conference on November 7, 2017, in Palm Desert, California. The conference is open to all farmers and ranchers, and will be presented in Spanish with English translation provided via translation headsets. The conference aims to bring the Latino farming community, the agricultural industry and agribusiness, and advocates for sustainability together for workshops and networking.   Registration is $20 and includes breakfast and lunch. No one will be turned away due to lack of funds, and...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, September 11, 2017 on advocacy, policy, regulatory

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will vote on the re-listing or removal of 43 substances on the National List of Allowed & Prohibited Substances (National List) at their meeting in Jacksonville, Florida on October 31 – November 2, 2017.    Members of the public are encouraged to submit public comments via https://www.regulations.gov/ using docket number AMS-NOP-17-0024-0001 until October 11, 2017. Additionally, oral comments will be accepted in-person and through a pre-meeting webinar.   NOSB reviews all substances on the National List every five years to determine their status...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, September 11, 2017 on general organic, grower, handler, regulatory

FDA released an informational guide to assist businesses in complying with the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 (FSMA). The guide, “Standards for Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption: What you Need to Know about the FDA Regulation: Guidance for Industry Small Entity Compliance Guide,” explains FSMA and its rules.    CCOF highly encourages members falling into the small entity category, as defined in the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement and Fairness Act, to reference the comprehensive guide for questions regarding FSMA requirements.   Chapter...

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