From Field to Forum

Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, August 15, 2016 on pests and pesticides, research


Cole Crops

As part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service’s efforts to develop a biological control program for the bagrada bug, the laboratory of Dr. Brian Hogg at the USDA in Albany, California, is investigating whether any native predators or parasitic wasps attack bagrada bug eggs. The laboratory is currently looking for organic farms growing cole crops in the Central Valley to include in its survey. Any cole crops will work for the study, although fields with a history of bagrada bug infestation would be ideal. The study involves placing frozen bagrada bug eggs (...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 15, 2016 on marketing, organic market

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has integrated organic price data into its market news reporting system. AMS price data reporting helps organic producers assess markets and establish price points for their products. These data are a useful resource for those who are considering entering the organic marketplace and are formulating a business plan. The information also assists buyers and processors who need to know the price of raw materials they use in their products. AMS issues a daily report on organic specialty crop prices based on information...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 8, 2016 on materials and inputs, NOP, standards

The National Organic Program is removing the following materials from the National List: egg white lysozyme; cyclohexylamine; diethylaminoethanol octadecylamine; and tetrasodium pyrophosphate. The rule goes into effect Sept. 12, 2016. Organic products made with these materials that are already in the stream of commerce can still be sold as organic after the effective date, but products manufactured on or after Sept. 12 may not be made with these substances. For questions about how this rule may impact your operation, contact your Certification Service Specialist. For general questions...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 8, 2016 on livestock

A new report from the Organic Center, Organic Food and Farming as a Tool to Combat Antibiotic Resistance and Protect Public Health, addresses the problem of the widespread use of antibiotics in conventional animal production, which threatens human health because it creates disease-causing organisms that are resistant to antibiotics. The report, written by Organic Center staffers Tracy Misiewicz and Jessica Shade, demonstrates that organic farming is the most effective way to address this problem, particularly in the absence of meaningful regulation of antibiotic use in conventional livestock...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, August 1, 2016 on advocacy, genetic engineering, policy, regulatory

Last Friday, President Barack Obama signed the GMO labeling bill into law. The president’s signature comes after the Senate passed the bill in a 63-30 vote, and the House passed it in a 306-117 vote. The new law will require mandatory labeling of GMOs on certain product labels. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) must now begin formulating regulations to implement the law.  CCOF is closely monitoring regulatory developments and will alert members and encourage the submission of public comment when the USDA releases proposed rules. For more information, contact CCOF Policy Director Kelly...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 1, 2016 on pests and pesticides


The disease-carrying pest Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) has moved north from southern California and now threatens the central and northern regions of the state. To combat the pest, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has increased areas under quarantine, mounted a comprehensive search-and-destroy effort, and is preparing to release swarms of psyllid-killing wasps to route the pest. ACP Impact and Challenges ACP carries a bacterium that causes a deadly disease in citrus trees and related tree species called huanglongbing or citrus greening disease. Infected trees first...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, August 1, 2016 on materials and inputs, NOP, regulatory

Last month, a court ruling invalidated a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) guidance regarding the allowance of green waste in organic systems (NOP 5016). The ruling was based on a determination that USDA violated administrative procedures when issuing the guidance. The final impact of this ruling on the use of compost will be determined in the future pending an appeal of the decision by USDA or the issuance of new guidance. More information will be made available in the coming weeks. CCOF is closely monitoring regulatory developments and will alert members...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, August 1, 2016 on

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA)'s Medical Cannabis Cultivation Program (MCCP) is preparing to issue state cannabis cultivation licenses beginning in January 2018. They would like to get a sense of how many applicants the state can expect to: Apply for licensure Use the Track and Trace system CDFA would appreciate you taking a few minutes to complete a short survey. Feel free to forward the survey link to others that may not have received it directly. As CDFA moves forward in its program planning process, surveys will be one of the tools MCCP uses to gather...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, July 25, 2016 on advocacy, general organic, policy, research

The Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania began a side-by-side comparison of organic and conventional farming back in 1981. Today, the data collected in Rodale’s Farming Systems Trial show that organic farming produces competitive yields, builds higher levels of soil organic matter, retains more soil moisture, and is more profitable compared to conventional practices. The Farming Systems Trial also suggests that organic systems produce higher yields than conventional under drought conditions. Yield data from five years when rainfall was below average showed that organic corn yielded 31 percent...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, July 25, 2016 on container/hydroponics, NOSB, regulatory

In September of 2015, the National Organic Program appointed 16 members to a task force to explore hydroponic and aquaponic production practices and their alignment with the USDA organic regulations. The task force was charged with preparing a report to inform the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) as it determines the best path forward on hydroponic and aquaponic production systems. The NOSB is a federal advisory committee whose 15 members represent the entire organic community. NOSB members recommend whether substances should be allowed or prohibited in organic production or handling,...
Written by Laura Mathias on Monday, July 18, 2016 on cost share

The National Organic Certification Cost Share Program is still open for 2016 applications, but only a few months remain to apply for funds. Through this program, eligible operations will be reimbursed up to 75% of their organic certification costs, not to exceed $750, for each NOP scope of organic certification. Any operation that is located within the United States and received organic certification between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016 may apply for reimbursement. The Cost Share application deadline is October 31, 2016. At this point, over 400 CCOF-certified members have applied....
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, July 18, 2016 on advocacy, grower, policy

CCOF is accepting applications for appointment to the Organic Trade Association (OTA) Farmers Advisory Council (FAC). Applications are due August 5, 2016. FAC provides the OTA Board of Directors and staff with critical input from small- and medium-sized organic farmers, ranchers, and growers on matters pertinent to the advancement of organic agriculture, with a specific focus on OTA’s policy agenda. Under the terms of CCOF and OTA’s strategic partnership, the CCOF Board of Directors may appoint up to five farmers to FAC. FAC members must participate in quarterly conference calls. Additionally...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, July 11, 2016 on advocacy, genetic engineering, policy

By a 63-30 bipartisan vote, the United States Senate approved a federal GMO labeling bill introduced in June by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Republican Pat Roberts of Kansas and ranking Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. Roberts and Stabenow have been publicly working on the terms of the bill since early this year in response to a federal bill that would have prohibited mandatory labeling and Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling requirements that took effect July 1 (with a six-month grace period). The labeling bill sparked heated debate among organic leaders, consumer and...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, July 11, 2016 on funding

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is making air quality funds available to help agricultural producers improve and maintain air quality within designated nonattainment areas of California. Funding for the National Air Quality Initiative (NAQI) is available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Producers interested in participating in this initiative are encouraged to get their applications in soon. EQIP applications are accepted year-round, but interested producers need to be ready by July 29, 2016 to be considered for this year’s funding. To be ready...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Tuesday, July 5, 2016 on advocacy, grower, policy

CCOF is accepting applications for appointment to the Organic Trade Association (OTA) Farmers Advisory Council (FAC). Applications are due August 5, 2016. FAC provides the OTA Board of Directors and staff with critical input from small- and medium-sized organic farmers, ranchers, and growers on matters pertinent to the advancement of organic agriculture, with a specific focus on OTA’s policy agenda. The CCOF Board of Directors may appoint up to five farmers to FAC under the terms of CCOF and OTA’s strategic partnership. FAC members must participate in quarterly conference calls. Additionally...

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