Blog posts by Peter Nell

Written by Peter Nell on Monday, July 10, 2017 on general organic, policy, regulatory

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) released their 2017 Sunset final rule. The rule removes three synthetic substances and five non-organic agricultural substances from the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List) and renews three other substances.    The final rule is consistent with the 2015 recommendations of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). NOSB reviews all substances on the National List every five years to determine their status in organic production. NOSB makes recommendations to remove substances from the National List using the criteria...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, July 10, 2017 on advocacy, general organic, policy, regulatory

Both the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry and the United States House Committee on Agriculture have busy weeks with key farm bill hearings scheduled. On July 13, 2017 at 7:00 a.m. PST, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry will have a full committee hearing titled Opportunities in Global and Local Markets, Specialty Crops, and Organics: Perspectives for the 2018 Farm Bill.   The hearing will be the first time organic agriculture will be highlighted in a 2018 Farm Bill hearing. The committee will announce witnesses shortly. A live-...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, July 10, 2017 on advocacy, policy

The next California State Board of Food and Agriculture meeting will be held on July 11, 2017. The board is comprised of 15 members who represent agriculture, geographic regions, consumers, and faculty from both the University of California and California State University academic systems.    The meeting will be held at the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) offices, 1220 N Street – Main Auditorium, Sacramento, CA 98415, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.   The agenda includes two presentations to the board and two panel discussions. The board information packet is available...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, July 3, 2017 on education, general organic, policy

Applications for California’s highest environmental honor, the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Awards (GEELA), are now being accepted until August 11, 2017. GEELA honors individuals, organizations, and businesses that have demonstrated voluntary contributions in conserving California’s resources, protecting and enhancing the environment, building public-private partnerships, and strengthening the state’s economy.   Projects/programs must fall into one of five categories and subcategories: Climate change Ecosystem and land use stewardship Environmental education Sustainable...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, July 3, 2017 on advocacy, policy

The bill to create the California Beef Commission, AB 243, will be discussed at the next Judiciary Committee hearing on July 11, 2017.   CCOF does not have a position on AB 243 but will continue to track AB 243’s progress through the senate, as the creation of the California Beef Commission would affect members.   Supporters of AB 243 state that Californian cattle producers are interested in increasing the mandatory assessments on the sale of cattle but want to ensure that any increase in fees benefit California and Californian producers. Funds collected through the proposed check-off program...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, July 3, 2017 on advocacy, genetic engineering, policy, standards

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has released 30 questions for input from the public regarding GMO labeling (National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard). CCOF plans to respond to the proposed questions and encourages its members to also provide input to USDA. Submit responses to GMOlabeling@asm.usda.gov by July 17, 2017.   USDA is seeking input for a proposed rule on GMO labeling to fulfill its congressional mandate to implement a mandatory GMO labeling standard. The proposed rule is expected to be released for public comment in late fall or early winter. For more background, visit...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, July 3, 2017 on policy, regulatory, standards

The National Organic Program (NOP) has issued a memorandum in response to the National Organic Standards Board’s (NOSB) recommendations made at its spring 2017 meeting.    At their spring 2017 meeting in Denver, NOSB, the 15-member federal advisory committee that provides advice to USDA and the Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, recommended that L-Methionine, an essential amino acid, be added to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List). The National List includes allowed and prohibited synthetic, non-synthetic, and non-organic substances.    NOP responded to...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, June 19, 2017 on advocacy, policy, regulatory

USDA is accepting nominations for the environmental seat on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). Eligible candidates must have environmental protection and resource conservation backgrounds. The deadline to submit nominations is August 7, 2017.   Nominations must include a resume, an AD-755 Application form, and must be postmarked on or before August 7, 2017. Nominees must meet the criteria of NOSB membership, which includes having a general understanding of organic principles, practical experience in the organic community, demonstrated experience in the development of public policy,...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, June 19, 2017 on policy, regulatory

USDA has closed the comment period for the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) rule, which would strengthen and expand organic standards for animal welfare. CCOF submitted a comment  that explained the negative impacts to the organic community if the rule was further delayed, modified, suspended, or withdrawn, and called for the rule to be implemented.   The OLPP rule is the result of 14 years of stakeholder input. The rule ensures consistent, fair implementation of organic livestock standards. It reflects consumer expectation of organic products and organic principles. The rule...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, June 19, 2017 on advocacy, policy, regulatory

The Farmer Equity Act of 2017 (AB 1348) passed out of the California Assembly and moved into the Senate on May 31, 2017. The bill, introduced by Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), would require the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to ensure the inclusion of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers in its policies and programs. CCOF supports the bill.    AB 1348 codifies the definition of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers and requires CDFA to provide support for members of socially disadvantaged communities. The bill defines socially disadvantaged...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, June 5, 2017 on advocacy, policy

We need your support in urging USDA to implement the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) rule. USDA has twice delayed its implementation date and is now asking for comments on whether it should retract the rule altogether. Submit your comment today urging full implementation of the OLPP! CCOF strongly supports the rule because it requires high animal welfare standards, including sufficient outdoor access for poultry. The rule would make the standards that CCOF has always required of its certified operations applicable to all USDA organic producers. USDA is accepting public comment...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, June 5, 2017 on advocacy, policy

Legislators in Sacramento are currently debating three different bills which would extend and alter the California Cap-and-Trade Program. The cap-and-trade program is administrated by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The program requires the largest emitters of greenhouse gas emissions (energy producers, processing plants, etc.) to reduce their emissions over time. It also sets up the California Carbon Market, where greenhouse gas emission permits are bought and traded. The auctioning of the permits generates funding for climate change programs. More information on the program can...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, June 5, 2017 on advocacy, policy, regulatory

On May 26, 2017 Governor Brown signed California SB243: Citrus Disease Prevention into law. California State Senator Cathleen Galgiani of California District 5 (encompassing all of San Joaquin County and portions of Stanislaus and Sacramento Counties) introduced SB243 in early February and the bill quickly moved through the legislature. SB243 appropriates over $9 million from the Citrus Disease Management Account to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) for expenses necessary for the prevention and management of citrus disease. Previous bills established the California...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, June 5, 2017 on advocacy, education, general organic, policy

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) held its annual Organic Week in Washington D.C. last month. Each year, the week includes events including the Organic Center’s Organic Confluences summit and OTA’s Policy Conference and Advocacy Day. CCOF member Dieter Schellenberg of Schellenberg Farms and other CCOF-certified producers attended Organic Week this year to share their organic farmer-perspective with their elected representatives.   At the conference, OTA released the results of their latest Organic Industry Survey. In 2016, the organic sector continued its upward climb. Organic sales in the...
Written by Peter Nell on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 on

A few days short of its already delayed implementation date, USDA pushed the implementation date of the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule (OLPP) to November 14, 2017 and reopened the rule for public comment.   USDA is accepting public comment on the rule until June 9, 2017. Comments can be submitted via Regulations.gov using docket number AMS-NOP-17-0031; NOP-15-06A.   CCOF urges all members of the organic community to submit comments encouraging USDA to fully implement the rule.   In your own words, tell USDA why you support option 1: Let the rule become effective. This means that...

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