From Field to Forum

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 Josaphine Stevenson on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 on

Consumers are increasingly interested in healthy eating, which means being educated about the source and ingredients in their food and whether it is grown organically. There is, however, a lot of confusion about what organic means and a lot of misleading or false information out there. Are your customers confused about what organic means? Order a complimentary batch of the 2017 “Why Buy Certified Organic?” postcards today!   CCOF sends tens of thousands of “Why Buy Certified Organic?” postcards to farmers and other organic advocates to distribute at farmers’ markets, through CSA boxes, and...
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 Guest Blogger on Monday, May 22, 2017 on education, events, general organic, grower, handler


The Organic Grower Summit (OGS) on December 13-14, 2017 at the Monterey Hyatt in Monterey, California is bringing together organic growers, farmers, and producers for two days of education, information, and networking with their production, supply chain, and support service providers.    OGS Exhibitors will represent the following industries:  Organic production Service and supply chain management Seed Packaging Soil amendments Food safety Equipment/machinery Crop protection Ag technology   The OGS audience and attendees will include:  Organic growers and farmers Field production...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, May 15, 2017 on policy, State Organic Program

The California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC) met in Sacramento on May 3 to discuss a range of organic issues.   California’s Secretary of Food and Agriculture Karen Ross made a flurry of appointments to the committee over the past few months, including appointing President of CCOF Certification Services, LLC Jake Lewin, to the new certifier seat on COPAC. All but one of the primary seats are now filled. A technical representative seat is still open.   COPAC advises the secretary on organic issues. Since passage of the California Organic Food and Farming Act last year, COPAC’s...
Written by Zea Sonnabend on Monday, May 15, 2017 on education, grower, help and tips, pests and pesticides

Spring is the time to anticipate pest problems that may emerge with the warmer weather of summer. It is a good time to remember what to look out for and to take some preventative steps to keep ahead of the pests. After the very wet winter in California, we might be about to experience an abundance of some of these pests, as well as invasive plants.   Because in California we grow so many crops over such a long season, there are always pests of concern.  Some pests are already under quarantine in certain regions, while other species are not quarantined but are worth preparing for. This blog...
Written by Josaphine Stevenson on Monday, May 15, 2017 on CCOF Foundation, marketing

Consumers are more food-conscious than ever before and want to make smart choices by buying healthy food for their families. However, food labels and seals can be confusing, misleading, and sometimes even false. As competing eco-labels continue to saturate the marketplace – from “Non-GMO” to “All Natural” – shoppers are becoming more confused about what is the best choice. Learn about why organic is non-GMO and more. To tackle one area of consumer confusion that directly impacts certified organic growers’ sales, CCOF launched the Buy Certified Organic campaign in 2011. This campaign prints...
Written by Josaphine Stevenson on Monday, May 15, 2017 on CCOF Foundation, FOFGF Vocational & Higher Ed, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, future organic farmers


Brendan Fatzinger is a Georgia native and is pursuing a B.S. in horticulture with a certificate in organic agriculture at the University of Georgia’s College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. Growing food has long been a fascination of his, and doing so in a responsible and sustainable manner is very important to him. Fatzinger’s career focus is to one day help further research in fruit and vegetable breeding with an emphasis on traits favored by organic growers. Congratulations Brendan! Please join us in congratulating the recipients of the CCOF Foundation’s Future Organic Farmer...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, May 8, 2017 on livestock, policy, regulatory, standards

If you support the organic rulemaking process and strong organic livestock and poultry standards, please take a moment to email the United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and tell him that the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule must be implemented without delay.  After postponing the rule for five months, this week USDA stalled again, issuing an additional six-month delay for implementation. USDA also opened another comment period on the rule with comments due June 9, asking people to weigh in on these four alternatives: Let the rule become effective. This means that...
Written by Josaphine Stevenson on Monday, May 8, 2017 on education, FOFGF FFA, FOFGF Vocational & Higher Ed, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund


Interested in teaching or pursuing a career in organic agriculture? Apply for a Future Organic Farmer Grant! Are you a certified K-8 teacher in the United States interested in bringing organic agriculture into your classroom? If so, please apply for one of our $1,000 Look at Agriculture…Organically! grants for organic education. Find the application details on the California Ag in the Classroom website. Applications close May 15, 2017. Studying organic agriculture in a junior college, undergraduate or in a vocational training program? Apply for one of our $2,500 vocational higher education...
Written by Laura Mathias on Monday, May 8, 2017 on cost share, fees, financial assistance, general organic

The National Organic Certification Cost Share Program is now open for 2017 applications!   This means that all certified organic entities in the United States are eligible to apply for a refund of 75% of their certification-related costs, including inspection fees, up to a maximum of $750 per certification or certified scope. Beginning in 2017, operations located in California can also receive a refund of their State Organic Program registration fees.    Certification cost share helps keep organic certification accessible for all, from the smallest to largest organic operations. Cost share...
Written by Josaphine Stevenson on Monday, May 8, 2017 on education, farmers markets, general organic


Postcards

CCOF's free "Why Buy Certified Organic?" postcards are still available! This informational card will help educate consumers about what "certified organic" really means. Your customers will walk away knowing the top reasons to buy certified organic foods. Cards come in packets of 50, limit two packets per order. Order your cards today! If you have questions, please call or email the CCOF Foundation at (831) 346-6322 or ccoffoundation@ccof.org. 
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, May 8, 2017 on general organic, genetic engineering, policy, research

In response to the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) recent GMO testing pilot project results, CCOF has expanded its GMO testing and will assist CDFA in identifying any potential source of inadvertent GMO presence along the organic supply chain. Following a request made by CCOF members at our Annual Meeting in 2015, and upon the recommendation of the California State Advisory Committee (COPAC), CDFA launched the GMO testing pilot project last year. The goal of the project is to evaluate the risk of GMO presence in organic products. On May 3, 2017, CDFA reported on the...

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