From Field to Forum

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...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, July 5, 2016 on cost share, fees, financial assistance, funding

The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has announced the availability of $2,180,870 for organic certification assistance to organic operations in California. Funds from the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program are available through CDFA’s State Organic Program (SOP) to help more organic operations succeed and take advantage of economic opportunities in this growing market. Cost Share helps farmers and processors afford the expense of organic certification by refunding up to 75 percent or $750 of their certification fees. Cost Share funds are available to any eligible...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Tuesday, July 5, 2016 on advocacy, NOP, policy, regulatory

On June 20, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California held that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) did not properly issue guidance on the allowance of green waste in compost used for organic production. USDA has 60 days to appeal the decision. The ruling is the outcome of a federal lawsuit filed against USDA that challenges the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) guidance on the allowance of green waste in organic production systems. The Court held that USDA did not properly issue the guidance because it did not provide for public notice and comment. The Organic...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, July 5, 2016 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

Track the progress of the AB 1826—California Organic Food and Farming Act, AB 1826—and read the current bill language. AB 1826 is CCOF-sponsored legislation that was introduced by California Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay) in February. The bill is currently in the California Senate Appropriations Committee, where it is scheduled to be heard August 1. AB 1826 will: Eliminate duplicative paperwork for certified organic producers. Reduce or cap California State Organic Program fees. Update the role of the California State Organic Program to support organic agriculture through...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, July 5, 2016 on seeds

Organic Seed Alliance released its latest report, State of Organic Seed, 2016, in June. Based on farmer surveys, discussions at grower conferences, and a comprehensive analysis of publicly funded research, Organic Seed Alliance found: Organic farmers are using more organic seed and are happier with organic seed quality than in the past. Since 2011, public and private investments in organic plant breeding and organic seed research have increased from $9 million to $31 million. More organic farmers than before believe that organic seed is the foundation of organic food integrity. At the same...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Wednesday, June 29, 2016 on advocacy, genetic engineering, labeling and packaging, policy

Last week Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Republican Pat Roberts of Kansas and ranking Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Michigan introduced a federal GMO labeling bill. The Organic Trade Association (OTA) worked closely on the bill and released a statement outlining its position in support. CCOF has not taken a position on the bill, and we are monitoring its progress closely. CCOF supports mandatory labeling of agricultural GMOs and their products. Labeling of GMO seed, products grown from GMO seed or stock, and products made with ingredients and byproducts of GMO crops is necessary for...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, June 27, 2016 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

“The bill is out, congratulations.” California state senator Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton), chair of the California Senate Committee on Agriculture, spoke these words as the committee voted AB 1826, the California Organic Food and Farming Act, out of committee on June 21. AB 1826 now heads to the California Senate Appropriations Committee. CCOF-sponsored AB 1826, authored by Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay), will reform California’s State Organic Program to eliminate redundant paperwork, reduce or cap program fees, and allow the program to support the organic sector through...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, June 27, 2016 on advocacy, genetic engineering, labeling and packaging, policy

For years, the Organic Trade Association has supported efforts to bring federal mandatory GMO labeling to the United States. Senators Roberts and Stabenow have introduced a federal labeling bill that not only requires disclosure of GMO ingredients, but also includes important provisions that are excellent for organic farmers and food makers – and for the millions of consumers who choose organic every day - because they recognize, unequivocally, that USDA Certified Organic products qualify for non-GMO claims in the market place. Those provisions safeguard USDA certified organic as the gold...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, June 27, 2016 on drought, funding, grower, water

Farmers can apply to receive up to $200,000 to invest in irrigation systems that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save water. The payments are offered under California’s State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP). Applications are due by August 5, 2016. Eligible applicants must be agricultural operations in California. Successful applications will reduce both greenhouse gas emissions and save water. Documentation of current and projected water and energy use is required in the application. This year, the California Department of Food and Agriculture is offering technical...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, June 27, 2016 on member news

Wendell J. Lundberg, the second eldest of four brothers who built Lundberg Family Farms, a national leader in organic rice and whole grain products, died on Sunday, June 12, 2016 at Enloe Hospital in Chico, CA. He was 85 years old. Wendell J. Lundberg was born August 17, 1930 in Holdridge, Nebraska to Albert and Frances Lundberg. In 1937, Wendell and brothers Eldon, Homer and Harlan moved with their parents to Richvale, California. After graduating from Biggs High School in 1948, Wendell attended UC Davis, where he completed a two-year course in agronomy. At Davis he was a founding member of...

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