From Field to Forum

Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 on research

A new research study, "Biodiversity and Organic Farming in the United States," led by Carolyn Dimitri at New York University, needs the input of certified organic growers nationwide. Biodiversity is a vital component for the resiliency of farms and their surrounding ecosystems. However, there are many challenges to integrating conservation requirements in the National Organic Program. A “one-size-fits-all” solution is unlikely because of the importance of region, crop, and other factors in conservation techniques. This study will gather information about opportunities to measure or increase...
Written by Josaphine Stevenson on Monday, March 27, 2017 on CCOF Foundation, FOFGF Vocational & Higher Ed, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, future organic farmers


Jonathan Houser is a 26-year-old Navy submarine veteran who lives in Sparta, North Carolina, with his wife Hannah and daughter Sallie. They are expecting their second child this winter. Houser grew up on his grandfather’s tobacco and cattle farm, and the Houser family now owns Blue Feather Creek Farm, a small 30-acre farm that is home to sheep, chickens, and rabbits (so far). They also grow a variety of crops using sustainable methods without the use of synthetic chemicals. Houser is currently attending Appalachian State University and expects to graduate in May 2017 with a degree in...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 20, 2017 on CalCAN


On February 28 at the Fifth California Climate and Agriculture Summit, CalCAN recognized three individuals for their leadership in the field of agriculture and climate change. Awards were given to experts in three areas: policy, science, and farming or ranching. The awards were presented by CalCAN coalition members Dave Runsten (CAFF), Reggie Knox (California FarmLink), and Kelly Damewood (CCOF). The 2017 winners are: California Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross – Secretary Ross has led the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) since she was appointed by Governor Brown in...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, March 20, 2017 on research

In conjunction with National Agriculture Day, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is launching the 2017 Census of Agriculture on March 21, 2017. The Census of Agriculture is taken every five years and collects comprehensive data on farms, ranches, and the people who operate them. The Census is conducted in all 50 states and all five U.S. territories. CCOF’s Senior Policy Specialist Jane Sooby participated in the 2016 NASS Community-based Organization Workshop and spoke to the importance of the Census of Agriculture to organic. Data is collected from any place from which at...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 20, 2017 on farm bill

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is in the midst of preparing California’s recommendations for the 2018 Farm Bill. The farm bill is renewed every five years and serves as the policy guideline for food and farming in the United States. The legislation touches all of us in numerous ways, as this blog post and others to follow in a series will explain in greater detail.       The farm bill is essential for agriculture in the present time, but it also plays a vital role in shaping our future. It helps fund research and education programs; it supports the development of our...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, March 20, 2017 on materials, materials and inputs, NOSB

The deadlines to register for oral comments and submit written comments to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) at their spring meeting in Denver, Colorado are quickly approaching! It is critical that members of the public submit comments on the materials and other agenda items because the discussions at this meeting will impact future organic standards and materials allowed in organic production. 43 substances will be discussed at the spring meeting: Crop scope substances and common brands and products: Biodegradable biobased mulch film Boric acid  Sticky traps/barriers...
Written by Josaphine Stevenson on Monday, March 20, 2017 on CCOF Foundation, FOFGF Vocational & Higher Ed, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, future organic farmers


Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, Nicole Gurreri often spent hot summer days helping her grandfather– a retired farmer–manage his garden. Though she enjoyed the rhythm of weeding and harvesting, her favorite activity was picking his plentiful fruit bushes, always making sure that she ate one berry for every one that was dropped into her harvest bucket. Many years later Gurreri found herself at College of the Atlantic, a tiny school on the coast of Maine with a strong focus on sustainability. As she studied ecology and natural sciences her freshman year, she became interested in the local and...
Written by Josaphine Stevenson on Monday, March 13, 2017 on CCOF Foundation, FOFGF Vocational & Higher Ed, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, future organic farmers


Joshua Dransfield was born and raised on a dairy farm in Gap Mills, West Virginia. He graduated from James Monroe High School with honors in August 2015, where he played football and baseball and was a member of 4-H and FFA. During his FFA tenure, Dransfield was named the national first place at the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Grasslands Contest in Missouri. He also represented his state as a member of the 2015 Dairy Judging Team, competing in Madison, Wisconsin, and Louisville, Kentucky. In fall 2015, he enrolled in West Virginia University. After finishing his first semester there, Dransfield...
Written by Adrian Fischer on Monday, March 6, 2017 on CCOF Foundation, events

CCOF hosted over 200 participants at our Annual Meeting and Conference, in Visalia, California on February 9 and 10. Conference attendees, representing a broad spectrum of the organic community, gathered to hear about innovations and inspiration in the organic sector. Keynote speaker Gary Hirshberg gave an insightful speech about the are new opportunities for organic posed by this moment in our country’s history. He called upon those in the room to join with the larger organic community to champion organic with a unified voice. “Organic is about building the next generation of hope,” he said...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 6, 2017 on advocacy, funding, policy, water

The State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) offers agricultural operations in California up to $100,000 to invest in irrigation systems that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save water. As noted in a previous CCOF blog entry, SWEEP funds can be used to install the following: Weather-, soil-, or plant-based sensors for irrigation scheduling Micro-irrigation or drip systems Conversion of a diesel pumps to solar, wind, electric, or natural gas Improved energy efficiency (e.g., retrofitting or replacing pumps) Low pressure irrigation systems Variable frequency drives to...
Written by Josaphine Stevenson on Monday, March 6, 2017 on CCOF Foundation, FOFGF Vocational & Higher Ed, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, future organic farmers


Parvati Brown was born in a small farming community in Nepal, where age-old, animal-based organic farming practices endured for centuries. Within her lifetime she witnessed the dramatic shift toward the convenience of modern day synthetic chemical-based farming practices. Initially, the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides provided bigger yields from their fields than ever before. However, over the years this method had a negative impact on the overall health of the soil and the community. Brown is now a full-time horticulture student at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz, California,...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 6, 2017 on materials and inputs, NOSB

Your feedback is needed! Over the course of its next two meetings, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will review several of the fertilizers, pest control products, livestock treatments, processing aids, and ingredients currently allowed for use by certified organic operations, which are recorded in the National List of Allowed & Prohibited Substances (National List). These production and handling inputs will be reviewed and voted on by NOSB based on their Sunset timeline (renewal date), and may not be renewed if new information indicates these substances are incompatible with...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, February 27, 2017 on farm bill, policy

The United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry held its first 2018 Farm Bill hearing in Manhattan, Kansas, on February 23, 2017, kicking off what committee chair Pat Roberts (R-KS) characterized as the “farm bill journey.” 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...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, February 27, 2017 on materials and inputs, NOSB

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) has released the list of substances up for review at their spring meeting in Denver, Colorado, on April 19-21, 2017. Members of the public are encouraged to submit public comment via www.regulations.gov using docket number AMS-NOP-16-0100-0001 by March 30, 2017. Oral comments will also be received in person at the meeting and through an online webinar occurring April 13, 2017. Those interested in giving an in-person comment at the meeting or through the webinar must register before March 30, 2017. NOSB reviews all substances on the National List of...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, February 27, 2017 on materials and inputs, NOSB

Your feedback is needed! Over the course of its next two meetings, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will review several of the fertilizers, pest control products, livestock treatments, processing aids, and ingredients currently allowed for use by certified organic operations, which are recorded in the National List of Allowed & Prohibited Substances (National List). These production and handling inputs will be reviewed and voted on by NOSB based on their Sunset timeline (renewal date), and may not be renewed if new information indicates these substances are incompatible with...

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