CCOF Blog

Written by Shawna Rodgers on Monday, April 2, 2018 on CCOF, general organic, research


Photo Courtesy of Mycological Natural Products   An organic hotspot is defined as a county with high levels of organic agricultural activity whose neighboring counties also have a high level of organic activity. In a recent Pennsylvania State University study, agricultural economist Professor Edward Jaenicke released his findings that organic hotspots increase median household income by over $2,000 annually while simultaneously decreasing local poverty rates by as much as 1.35 percent. Professor Jaenicke shared his discoveries at our CCOF Annual Meeting and Conference last month, but the CCOF...
Written by Josaphine Stevenson on Monday, April 2, 2018 on CCOF Foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund - Vocational & Higher Ed, future organic farmers


Sarah Spear comes from the big sky state of Montana. She is very passionate about sustainable and organic agriculture. Coming from an agricultural background, Spear can honestly say her upbringing has played a larger role in her interest of sustainable production practices. Spear is in her senior year at Montana State University, where she is pursuing her Bachelor of Science in sustainable food and bioenergy- agroecology. After completing her studies at MSU, Spear plans to contribute to the agricultural field by owning and/or managing an organic farm.     Congratulations Sarah!   Please join...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, March 26, 2018 on advocacy, CCOF, farm bill, general organic, policy

Last week, Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-CA-01) took action to support his organic constituents when he signed on as a cosponsor of H.R.3871, the Organic Farmer and Consumer Protection Act.    20 CCOF-certified members signed a letter urging Congressman LaMalfa to support H.R.3871 because it 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.    CCOF applauds Congressman LaMalfa’s support for organic priorities and his continued...
Written by Shawna Rodgers on Monday, March 26, 2018 on CCOF Foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, future organic farmers

With fewer young people going into agriculture, many agricultural experts and sector leaders are concerned about the future of American farming. New organic farmers and entrepreneurs are needed to meet the demand for organic products that are healthy for both people and the planet. The Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund helps grow the next generation of farmers by providing financial support for organic education from kindergarten through college! As of March 22, 2018, the CCOF Foundation is grateful and excited to welcome the following new supporters of the Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, March 26, 2018 on advocacy, NOSB, policy

The deadlines to submit public comments and register for oral comments to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) at their fall meeting in Tucson 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.    Crop Scope Substances Alcohols: ethanol, isopropanol Sodium carbonate peroxyhdrate  Newspaper or other recycled paper  Plastic mulch and covers  Aqueous potassium silicate  Elemental sulfur Lime sulfur...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 26, 2018 on events, grower, policy, regulatory

The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division will host seven public workshops throughout California starting on March 27. CDFA will provide guidance on how to complete the annual cannabis cultivation license application, including information on business-entity structure documentation, bond forms, criminal history, fees, local-authorization documents, and diagram requirements.    The workshops will be in an open-house format to allow participants the opportunity to ask questions about their individual applications. CalCannabis will be...
Written by Josaphine Stevenson on Monday, March 26, 2018 on CCOF Foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund - Vocational & Higher Ed, future organic farmers


Hailey Hughes is a senior at Michigan State University studying sustainable and organic horticulture. Hughes is passionate about the health of our land, ecosystems and communities. Like many young farmers today, she does not come from a farming background. Instead, Hughes is going to school, working on farms, and doing her own research. In the summer of 2016, Hughes worked her first season at Providence Organic Farm in northern Michigan and fell in love with farming.    Eventually, she hopes to open her own small organic diversified vegetable farm using a CSA and farmers’ market model. Hughes...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 19, 2018 on advocacy, CCOF Foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, future organic farmers


Melody Meyer

  I have been honored to be the executive director for the UNFI Foundation since its inception in 2012. Early on, my board asked me how we could bring together likeminded foundations to make a larger impact in our priority areas together as a community.    I began holding monthly calls with other funders who supported organic agriculture, and we all coalesced around the idea of fostering new organic farmers. We were concerned that the average age of the U.S. farmer was over 65, and we knew that organic farming provided a clear path to prosperity.   When Cathy Calfo from the CCOF Foundation...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, March 19, 2018 on advocacy, policy, standards

USDA ignored the pleas of organic producers across the country when it announced its final decision to ignore the organic rulemaking process and withdraw the widely supported Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) rule.    CCOF members have long advocated for the OLPP rule because it would have brought greater clarity and consistency to organic livestock production and certification.     CCOF members are already in compliance with the majority of the provisions that would have been clarified under OLPP, including living conditions, preventive health care practices, stocking densities...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, March 19, 2018 on NOSB

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will host their first yearly meeting in Tucson, Arizona on April 25-27, 2018.    Organic stakeholders can register now to speak at a pre-meeting webinar and/or at the meeting in Tucson.    The NOSB will host webinars on April 17, 2018 and April 19, 2018 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Those interested in the webinar must register before April 4, 2018. Commenters are allotted a three-minute comment slot and can only register for one commenting slot on either day.    The NOSB will also accept in-person comments in Tucson. Commenters must register...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, March 19, 2018 on advocacy, CCOF, policy


(L to R) Jo Ann Baumgartner, Wild Farm Alliance; Patricia Carrillo, ALBA; Assemblywoman Anna Caballero (D-Salinas); Dave Runsten, Community Alliance with Family Farmers; Peter Nell, CCOF   In early March, CCOF joined coalition members of the California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN) in Sacramento to advocate for California’s climate-smart agriculture programs. Attendees met with California legislators, staff members, and California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Secretary Karen Ross to discuss how agricultural programs can help California achieve climate goals and to...
Written by Shawna Rodgers on Monday, March 19, 2018 on CCOF Foundation, events, general organic, grower, regulatory

The CCOF Foundation’s Organic Training Institute (OTI) is offering food safety workshops throughout 2018 that meet the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) training requirement for produce growers.  Our most recent workshop was held near Fresno, California earlier this month.    FSMA is the first major overhaul to food safety regulations since 1938 and includes new regulations that directly impact growers of fresh produce. Produce farms that gross between $250,000-$500,000 in annual sales may be required by the FSMA Produce Safety Rule to have a supervisor attend a Produce Safety Alliance (...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, March 19, 2018 on advocacy, events, policy

The Organic Trade Association’s (OTA) Organic Week is an annual event that brings the organic sector to Washington D.C. for a week of conferences, meetings with legislators, and more.   CCOF’s top priority at this year’s Organic Week is Hill Visit Day—an event that brings organic farmers, ranchers, handlers, processors, organizations, and others into the offices and meeting rooms of Capitol Hill to advocate for organic priorities in the 2018 Farm Bill.    Organic Week also includes the Organic Center’s two day Organic Confluences Summit. The summit brings together a diverse group of organic...
Written by Shawna Rodgers on Monday, March 19, 2018 on general organic, research


Blue House Farm in Pescadero, California   We recently held our annual meeting in Sacramento, California, to discuss the latest topics, trends, and challenges currently testing the world of organic agriculture. The theme was Organic Hotspots: Revitalizing Rural America, drawn from Professor Edward C. Jaenicke’s exciting research about the correlation between organic agricultural activity and economic development. Pennsylvania State University’s Jaenicke and co-author Julia Marasteanu’s research papers reveal exciting discoveries for the economies, communities, and people living near clusters...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, March 19, 2018 on financial assistance, general organic, policy, regulatory

In light of California’s new recreational cannabis cultivation and sales allowances, some organic producers are considering adding cannabis cultivation to their operations. However, producers should be aware that USDA has a long-standing policy regarding cannabis production, which could impact grower’s eligibility for a range of USDA programs including Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Farm Service Agency (FSA), and crop insurance.    USDA staff cannot provide technical assistance to cannabis producers and producers with conservation contracts with NRCS who are growing cannabis...

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