Blog posts by Peter Nell

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...
Written by Peter Nell on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 on

Cannabis cultivators applying for commercial medical cultivation licenses must submit documentation of their water sources to the California State Water Resources Control Board by June 20, 2017.     According to a recent notice from the board, applicants using the water sources below must submit the required forms:   Water is already being diverted under a riparian right. An Initial Statement of Diversion and Use must be on file with the Division of Water Rights.  Pending application to appropriate water. Water is planned to be diverted and used under a riparian right and no diversion...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, May 22, 2017 on advocacy, policy, regulatory

The United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry will be hosting a full committee hearing titled “Examining the Farm Economy: Perspectives on Rural America” on Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. EST.   The hearing comes hot on the heels of USDA Secretary Perdue’s announcement of the proposed reorganization of the USDA Rural Development agencies by eliminating rural development as a core mission area. USDA’s Rural Development agencies include business cooperative services; utilities services such as water, waste, electric, and telecommunications; housing services;...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, May 8, 2017 on advocacy, events, standards

The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) Environmental Farming Act Science Advisory Panel will host its next meeting on May 18, 2017 in Sacramento and will vote to finalize the Healthy Soils Program framework. The Healthy Soils Initiative has five goals: Protect and restore soil organic matter in California’s soils. Establish a Healthy Soils Program that is implemented through the Environmental Farming Act Science Advisory Panel with funding from CDFA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and from the USDA’s National Resources Conservation Service’s Environmental Quality...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, May 8, 2017 on advocacy, education, events, grower, handler, water

One year after California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) Secretary Karen Ross led a delegation to Israel on a California Climate-Smart Agriculture Policy Mission, CDFA and the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will co-host a forum on water and agriculture. The forum will be held at the Leland Stanford Mansion in Sacramento on May 25, 2017. The agenda includes a full day of discussion from Israeli and Californian officials and researchers speaking on water and agriculture issues. Registration for the forum costs $40 and includes lunch. The forum will cover...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, May 8, 2017 on advocacy, regulatory, standards

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has released proposed regulations for California’s cannabis cultivation and licensing program. Members of the public can submit written comments on the proposed regulations until 5:00 p.m. on June 12, 2017. Detailed instructions on how to submit comments can be found on the CDFA website. Written comments can be submitted through a printable postcard or should be addressed and mailed to: Rachelle Kennedy Department of Food and Agriculture CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing 1220 N Street Sacramento, CA 95814 Comments can also be...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, May 1, 2017 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

California Secretary of Food and Agriculture Karen Ross recently appointed several CCOF members and President of CCOF Certification Services, LLC Jake Lewin to the California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC). COPAC is a 15-member committee, which advises the secretary on administration of the California State Organic Program (SOP) as well as education, outreach, and technical assistance for organic producers. Lewin is the first appointee to COPAC’s new certifier seat. He will bring over 20 years of organic certification experience and leadership to the committee. Lewin’s expertise...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, May 1, 2017 on advocacy, general organic, NOP, policy

President Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of Agriculture, George Erwin “Sonny” Perdue III has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate and sworn into office. As head of USDA, Secretary Perdue oversees the National Organic Program. During the Senate confirmation process, Secretary Perdue indicated support for USDA promotion of organic and an understanding of consumer demand for organic products. CCOF congratulated Secretary Perdue and will continue to advocate for organic priorities in the 2018 Farm Bill.
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, April 24, 2017 on advocacy, farm bill, policy

The United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry will hold its second 2018 Farm Bill hearing in Frankenmuth, Michigan on May 6, 2017. The farm bill is a hefty piece of legislation passed by Congress every five years that sets the nation’s food and agriculture policies. Consisting of 12 major sections or titles, the farm bill sets the rules for commodity, conservation, trade, nutrition, credit, rural development, research, forestry, energy, horticulture, and crop insurance programs. The current farm bill was approved in 2014, and Congress is now preparing to pass a...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, April 17, 2017 on advocacy, policy, regulatory

Congressman Doug LaMalfa of California’s 1st district will host a town hall meeting in Redding, California on April 19, 2017. California’s 1st district is comprised of Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, and Tehama counties, and portions of CCOF’s North Valley and Sierra Gold chapters. As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, Congressman LaMalfa plays a key role in the creation and implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill. He also is a member of the House Organic Caucus, a bipartisan group of House members who are interested in organic agriculture...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, April 17, 2017 on advocacy, policy, research

April 19, 2017 is the last day to submit comments on the Organic Research, Promotion, and Information Order, commonly known as the Organic Check-Off. After extending the deadline by 60 days, the National Organic Program has received over 3,500 comments on the program. The Organic Check-Off would create a 17-member governance board of stakeholders who would decide on allocating research, promotion, and technical assistance funds. The proposed program would generate funds from all organic operations (farms, ranches, processors, handlers, and importers). Organic operations would contribute one-...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, April 10, 2017 on advocacy, policy

The comment period is closing soon for the proposed rule removing 11 materials from the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List).    Comments are accepted until April 19, 2017 on regulations.gov using docket number AMS-NOP-16-0052-0001.    If the substances are removed from the National List, use of the substances will be prohibited in organic production beginning June 27, 2017. More information on the substances can be found here.   CCOF encourages all to submit comments. Contact CCOF’s Policy Team for additional information and questions.  
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, April 10, 2017 on advocacy, policy, research

The deadline to submit comments on the Organic Research, Promotion, and Information Order, commonly known as the Organic Check-Off, is closing on April 19, 2017. The program would create a 17-member governance board that would decide how to allocate research, promotion, and technical assistance funds generated by the program. Under the proposed program, all organic operations (farmers, ranchers, processors, handlers, and importers) would contribute one-tenth of 1 percent of their operation’s net organic sales each year. Any certified operation with a gross organic revenue of less than $250,...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, April 3, 2017 on advocacy, materials and inputs, NOP, NOSB, policy

CCOF submitted nine comments to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) ahead of their 2017 spring meeting. The comments cover many agenda items, including the 2019 Sunset Review substances. NOSB is the federal advisory committee to the National Organic Program that meets twice a year. This spring, the board will meet in Denver, Colorado, on April 19-21, 2017. NOSB will begin the yearly Sunset Review process in which it reviews substances on the National List of Allowed & Prohibited Substances (National List) to determine their status in organic production. This year 43 substances are...

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