Blog posts by Peter Nell

Written by Peter Nell on Monday, June 4, 2018 on advocacy, CCOF, general organic, policy


CCOF Member Darrell Wood of Leavitt Lake Ranches and Panorama Meats with California Senator Dianne Feinstein   The Organic Trade Association (OTA) held its annual Organic Week in Washington D.C. in late May. Hundreds of organic advocates flocked to DC to participate in the events, which included two conferences and meetings with congressional offices on Capitol Hill.   Organic Week began with The Organic Center’s Organic Confluences Summit. The summit brought together farmers, scientists, and organic stakeholders to discuss organic extension and knowledge transfer. CCOF member Javier Zamora...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, June 4, 2018 on import and export, marketing, NOP, organic market

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and the National Organic Program (NOP) recently released their Summary of Activities and Overview Action Plan. The Summary of Activities summarizes NOP enforcement activities since fall 2017. The Overview Action Plan sets forth NOP’s planned enforcement and oversight activities.    In the Overview Action Plan, NOP states that it will maintain the following:  Strong organic control systems: trusted people, processes, and rules Farm to market traceability: worldwide supply chain integrity Robust enforcement: a level playing field for all.   The action...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, May 21, 2018 on advocacy, general organic, policy

USDA announced the termination of the rulemaking process for the national certified organic marketing order. The marketing order was commonly known as the organic check-off. USDA reported that the rulemaking process was terminated because of “uncertain industry support and outstanding substantive issues with the proposed program.”   The program was proposed by the Organic Trade Association in 2015 to strengthen the position of certified organic products in the marketplace, support research to benefit the organic industry, and improve access to information and data across the organic sector...
Written by Peter Nell on Tuesday, May 8, 2018 on general organic, Non-GMO & More seal, standards

USDA is accepting comments on the proposed rule to establish the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard. The standard was mandated by Congress in 2016 to require food manufacturers and other food labeling entities to disclose information about bioengineered foods and bioengineered ingredients.   USDA is using the term “bioengineered” for what are commonly known as genetically modified organisms (GMOs). GMOs are banned in organic production.    Comments will be accepted until July 3, 2018 via regulations.gov or by mail to Docket Clerk, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Room 4543-South,...
Written by Peter Nell on Tuesday, May 8, 2018 on general organic, materials and inputs, standards

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) published a proposed rule to amend the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List). The proposed rule is based on public input and recommendations from the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).   AMS will accept public comments on the proposed rule until June 29, 2018. Comments can be submitted via regulations.gov.    At their Fall 2017 meeting in Jacksonville, Florida, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) recommended that AMS add elemental sulfur to the National List to treat livestock and livestock housing. Elemental...
Written by Peter Nell on Tuesday, May 8, 2018 on advocacy, biodiversity, employment

CCOF members Colin and Karen Archipley are featured in a new documentary titled “The Farm.” The film highlights the Archipleys’ certified organic hydroponic farm Archi’s Acres and their work with veterans enrolled in the Archi’s Institute for Sustainable Agriculture.   The film follows transitioning military service members as they begin and complete the six-week course on organic agribusiness at Archi’s. The foundation of the program is learning sustainable agribusiness and farming methods and business development through practical and applicable skills.    Over 400 students have graduated...
Written by Peter Nell on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 on advocacy, general organic, import and export, NOP, NOSB, policy


CCOF Certification Services LLC President Jake Lewin presented on an expert panel discussing organic imports at the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting in Tucson, Arizona. The panelists discussed oversight of organic imports and tracking organic products throughout the supply chain.    “We have feasible, clear steps that we can take to shore up certifier oversight of imports and allegations of fraud,” said Lewin in his opening remarks.    Lewin outlined three first-step solutions to immediately increase oversight of imported organic crops and products. Those solutions include...
Written by Peter Nell on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 on advocacy, general organic, NOP, policy

  The National Organic Program (NOP) extended the commenting deadline for their proposed rule of 35 amendments to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List). NOP will now be accepting comments until May 14, 2018.    The proposed rule amends the National List by changing the restrictions for 17 substances allowed for organic production or handling; adding 16 new substances; prohibiting rotenone for organic crop production; and removing ivermectin as an allowed parasiticides for organic livestock production.    Proposed Updates to Existing Substances on National List...
Written by Peter Nell on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 on advocacy, policy

USDA is accepting nominations for all 25 positions of the reestablished Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee (FVIAC). FVIAC examines issues facing the fruit and vegetable industry to provide ideas on ways to improve programs to better meet the changing needs of the produce industry.   The deadline for nominations is May 24, 2018. Nominees should submit a cover letter detailing qualifications, a resume (fewer than five pages), the required Form AD-755, and optional letters of endorsement. Nominations should be submitted to marlene.betts@ams.usda.gov or valerie.minick@ams.usda.gov;...
Written by Peter Nell on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 on general organic, NOP, policy

The National Organic Program (NOP) will host a free webinar on advances in information technology to strengthen the integrity of the organic seal for producers, businesses, and consumers.   The hour-long webinar will begin at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, May 10, 2018. Pre-registration is not required.    Participants can connect to the webinar online and over the phone: On the Web  Meeting URL:  http://www.readytalk.com Access Code: 7202000  By Phone  Toll-Free (U.S. & Canada): (866) 740-1260 Access Code: 7202000 Calling in from another country? Find a call-in number at...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, April 23, 2018 on advocacy, CCOF, general organic, policy

Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA-3) joins fellows California Congressional delegates in supporting organic integrity with his cosponsorship of the Organic Farmer and Consumer Protection Act of 2017, H.R.3871.   H.R.3871 would ensure a fair playing field for organic producers and protect consumer trust in the organic seal by strengthening the USDA National Organic Program’s oversight of domestic and international organic production.   Twelve CCOF members recently signed a letter to Congressman Garamendi successfully urging him to support the bill. Congressman Garamendi responded to his...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, April 23, 2018 on advocacy, general organic, policy

California Governor Jerry Brown appointed Jeff Huckaby, president and CEO of Grimmway and Cal-Organic, to the California State Board of Food and Agriculture.    The 15-member board advises the California governor and secretary of agriculture on key issues of importance to California’s farmers, ranchers, stakeholders, and citizens. The members represent a broad range of agricultural commodities, a variety of geographic regions, and both California university systems.    Cal-Organic became a CCOF member in 1995 and today manages over 45,000 certified organic acres. Huckaby originally joined...
Written by Peter Nell on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 on materials, materials and inputs, NOSB

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced the renewal of 17 substances to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List) as part of the 2018 Sunset Review process. Notably, USDA renewed carrageenan to the National List, which the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) had recommended for removal. NOSB evaluates substances on the National List every five years to confirm that each substance continues to meet the required criteria for its allowance or prohibition. NOSB considers public comment and any new information pertaining to the substance’s impact on...
Written by Peter Nell on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 on advocacy, policy, regulatory

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is proposing establishing a Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) regulating the handling of milk in California.    The establishment will be subject to producer approval by referendum. Two-thirds of the eligible producers or producers representing two-thirds of the milk produced in California will need to vote in favor of the FMMO for the FMMO to be established.  AMS hosted a public meeting on April 10, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District Building in Clovis, California to explain and answer questions relating to the California...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, April 2, 2018 on general organic, international, Japan, trade

USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is accepting applications for an agribusiness trade mission to Japan on June 11-15, 2018. Applications are due April 13, 2018.    CCOF encourages members exporting to or interested in exporting to Japan to apply.    The trade mission will provide American exporters with the opportunity to learn about Japan’s strict product regulations and Japanese consumer trends. Japan is an importer-dependent economy and U.S. exporters are the county’s top supplier of food and agricultural products. FAS’ Japan Exporter Guide reports further details on U.S. trade to...

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