From Field to Forum

Written by Valerie George and Jane Sooby on Monday, April 11, 2016 on advocacy, livestock, policy, regulatory

The National Organic Program (NOP) announced on April 7, 2016, that it will propose amending the organic livestock and poultry production requirements. The proposed regulation, which is based on recommendations from the National Organic Standards Board, is an effort to achieve consistency in organic livestock practices. It covers a range of topics including health care practices and living conditions for organic animals. Here are some of the highlights of the proposed rule: It sets forth separate living condition standards for mammals (e.g., cattle, sheep, and pigs) and poultry. It specifies...
Written by Jessy Beckett Parr on Monday, April 11, 2016 on CCOF Foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, future organic farmers


Cody

The CCOF Foundation’s Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund is a first-of-its-kind collaboration among organic industry leaders. Since 2014, the Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund has partnered with the National FFA Organization to give grants to high school students who are interested in conducting organic Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) projects. In collaboration with an FFA advisor, these students design organic agricultural projects to conduct over the course of a year. Students are challenged to involve other students, mentors, and members of their community to ensure their project’s...
Written by Tami Weiss on Monday, April 11, 2016 on events, food safety

The event is sponsored by: Today is the last day to register for the Food Safety Workshop in Ojai–register now! With the new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations rolling out and retailers increasingly demanding food safety plans, now is the time to focus on updating or creating a food safety plan that is in alignment with organic regulations. Join CCOF’s workshop in Ojai this Friday to learn more and get your questions answered. The Field-Level Introduction to Food Safety Workshop is aimed at helping producers better understand the components of field-level food safety plans....
Written by Jessy Beckett Parr on Monday, April 11, 2016 on CCOF Foundation, events, get certification help, grower

Interested in going organic, but don’t know where to start? Organic certification is simpler than you think. Join CCOF, Lundberg Family Farms, and the Mushroom Farm in Pescadero, California for a workshop on what it takes to go organic. The workshop will help assess how close your operation is to being organic and will detail the steps necessary to transition towards certification. You will come away understanding the tenets of organic certification. Organic growers and advisors will answer questions about farming organically. The workshop will include a presentation from CCOF staff about the...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, April 4, 2016 on advocacy, events, policy, State Organic Program

CCOF invites you to join an informational webinar on AB 1826—The California Organic Food and Farming Act (COFFA)—a bill introduced by California Assemblymember Mark Stone to level the playing field for California’s organic producers and update the role of the State Organic Program. CCOF’s Executive Director/CEO Cathy Calfo, Policy Director Kelly Damewood, and guest presenters will be available to answer your questions about AB 1826 during a free webinar on Tuesday, April 12, from 10-11 a.m. PDT. Participants will learn about the bill and CCOF’s strategy to pass it. Plus, find out what you can...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, April 4, 2016 on advocacy, NOSB, policy

Don’t miss out! Submit your feedback to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB)1 before the April 14 deadline. NOSB will meet April 25-27 in Washington, D.C. to review organic materials and standards. During the April meeting, NOSB will review numerous materials, including copper sulfate used in organic rice production and carrageenan used in organic processing. Your operation may be affected! To advocate on your behalf, CCOF will submit comments on materials and standards, but NOSB needs to hear from you, too! Advocate for and protect the integrity of organic standards by simply: Giving...
Written by Jessy Beckett Parr on Monday, April 4, 2016 on CCOF Foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, future organic farmers


Matthea

The CCOF Foundation’s Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund is a first-of-its-kind collaboration among organic industry leaders. Since 2014, the Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund has partnered with the National FFA Organization to give grants to high school students who are interested in conducting organic Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) projects. In collaboration with an FFA advisor, these students design organic agricultural projects to conduct over the course of a year. Students are challenged to involve other students, mentors, and members of their community to ensure their project’s...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, March 28, 2016 on advocacy, materials and inputs, NOP, NOSB, policy

Spring has arrived and the next National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting is just around the corner! It’s time to submit comments on materials and weigh in on NOSB recommendations to the National Organic Program (NOP). Spring 2016 Meeting The next NOSB meeting will be April 25-27 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. NOSB is a committee of certified organic farmers, processors, and other representatives, which recommends changes and adjustments to organic standards to the USDA NOP. NOSB reviews all materials allowed in organic production on a five-year cycle, known as the...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, March 28, 2016 on rating system

Whole Foods Market has incorporated stakeholder feedback in adjustments it made to its Responsibly Grown Program. Whole Foods announced the adjustments in January and continues to move forward with improvements to the program.   About Responsibly Grown Responsibly Grown is a rating system used by Whole Foods Market to address agricultural challenges in the marketplace. The rating system accounts for soil health; air, energy and climate; waste reduction; farmworker welfare; water conservation and protection; ecosystems and biodiversity; and pest management. The Responsibly Grown program is...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, March 28, 2016 on advocacy, genetic engineering, policy

After pulling some political shenanigans in the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, committee chair Pat Roberts failed to gain the votes needed to move the anti-GMO labeling bill forward. The bill popularly known as the DARK Act—an acronym for Deny Americans the Right to Know—was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives last year and forwarded to the Senate. The bill preempts states’ ability to require GMO labeling of food products and creates a voluntary labeling system. Political observers note that politicians are feeling pressure to pass legislation to head off implementation of...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, March 28, 2016 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

CCOF is proudly sponsoring California Central Coast Assemblymember Mark Stone’s recently-introduced bill—the California Organic Food and Farming Act (COFFA), AB 1826. COFFA will update the California State Organic Program to cap fees, eliminate paperwork for certified organic producers, and create a state framework that better supports organic farmers and businesses. The California Organic Food and Farming Act, AB 1826, will: End redundant SOP registration paperwork for certified organic operations by requiring accredited certification agencies (ACAs) to annually submit to the state the same...
Written by Tami Weiss on Monday, March 21, 2016 on education, events, food safety

Reserve your spot today for this two-day organic food safety training! This course is designed for organic growers and produce handlers who are new to Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) standards, staff members who need training in food safety, and organic professionals who need to update and improve their food safety program and/or documentation. The two-day workshop will prepare you for the new GFSI-benchmarked food safety certification offered by CCOF. The training will utilize the GLOBALG.A.P. Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA) standards and the Harmonized Produce Safety Standard (HPSS)...
Written by Tami Weiss on Monday, March 14, 2016 on CCOF, events, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, State Organic Program


On February 29, over 170 organic farmers, producers, policy makers, researchers, and business leaders came together in Sacramento to discuss the future of organic at CCOF’s 2016 Annual Meeting & Conference. At the Annual Meeting, keynote speaker Nikiko Masumoto set the tone for the day with an inspiring talk about being a second generation farmer. The Blueprint for an Organic World conference followed, with discussions on the future of organic, including the California Organic Food and Farming Act, soil health and climate change, organic research needs, and the importance of investing in...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, March 14, 2016 on advocacy, financial assistance, grower, policy

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that new buffer plantings around organic fields are eligible for rental payments and cost-share if they are enrolled in 10-15 year conservation contracts. Part of the Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CCRP), the new organic option is open for sign-up throughout the year and is not subject to bidding and ranking processes. Instead, land is enrolled automatically if it qualifies for the program. According to the FSA, eligible practices include riparian buffers, wildlife habitat buffers, wetland buffers, filter...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, March 14, 2016 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

CCOF Board of Directors member and organic farmer Thaddeus Barsotti wrote an opinion piece supporting the California Organic Food and Farming Act (AB 1826) that was published in the Sacramento Bee on March 8, 2016. Writing, “There is no group of people who wish to maintain the integrity of the certified organic label more than farmers,” Barsotti presented the reasons he supports CCOF’s effort to reform California’s State Organic Program through legislation. He traces the history of the program back to the era before the federal government began to regulate organic with a set of consistent,...

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