From Field to Forum

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, February 6, 2017 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

On January 26, the California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC) held its first meeting of the year where it welcomed six new committee members and elected Mindee Jeffery of Good Earth Natural Food as committee chair. COPAC advises the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) on organic issues. Current Secretary Karen Ross recently appointed six new members to the committee, including three producer seats, two alternate producer seats, and an environmental seat. Several seats remain open for appointment, including a processor seat, a newly created...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, January 30, 2017 on advocacy, farm bill, policy

Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Karen Ross will host five listening sessions on the forthcoming 2018 Farm Bill. The listening sessions are an opportunity to provide input and recommendations on California’s federal policy and program priorities. “The farm bill is as important to San Francisco and Los Angeles as it is to the Central Valley,” said Secretary Ross. “This legislation ensures a robust farm safety net, promotes farming and ranching practices that are environmentally sound, and provides important nutritional funding for our citizens. How our...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, January 23, 2017 on advocacy, livestock, policy, regulatory

On January 18, 2017, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule. CCOF strongly supports the rule because it requires high animal welfare standards, including sufficient outdoor access for poultry. The rule would make the standards that CCOF has always required of its certified operations applicable to all USDA organic producers. CCOF was one of the first organizations to call for more consistency in verifying that organic poultry have sufficient outdoor access. We are pleased that UDSA is bringing clarity for consumers,...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, January 23, 2017 on advocacy, marketing, policy, research

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking public comments on the proposed Organic Research, Promotion, and Information Order, also known as a proposed organic check-off program. USDA will accept comments now through March 20, 2017. You may submit comments to www.regulations.gov, under docket number AMS-SC-16-0112. The proposed organic check-off program would be funded by organic producers. It would include a range of agricultural commodities such as fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, poultry, breads, grains, snack foods, condiments, beverages, and packaged and prepared foods...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, January 23, 2017 on advocacy, materials and inputs, NOSB, policy

The public comment period is now open for the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) proposed 2017 Sunset Rule to remove 11 substances from the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List). If the USDA finalizes the proposed rule, then 11 previously allowed substances would be prohibited from organic production as of June 27, 2017. USDA will accept public comments on the proposed rule through March 20, 2017. Comments may be submitted to www.regulations.gov using docket number AMS-NOP-16-0052. The proposed rule would remove the following three synthetic...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, January 23, 2017 on materials and inputs

Join us in learning more about OMRI-listed crop biostimulants/biofertilizers that contain microbes. Get a better return on investment from these products and help others to, also. Register now for three free conference calls teaming university, company, and grower expertise. The total value of the U.S. biofertilizer market is $120 million dollars and increasing rapidly. No surprise, given evidence indicating that nearly 40 percent of a large number of sustainable-organic vegetable growers used one or more Microbe-Containing Biostimulants and Biofertilizers (MCBSFs) nearly every season from...
Written by Zea Sonnabend on Tuesday, January 17, 2017 on advocacy, pests and pesticides, policy


The stakes are high in the fight to save California citrus from the threat of Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) and the disease it spreads, Huanglongbing (HLB) (also known as citrus greening). In Florida, more than 90 percent of commercial citrus trees are estimated to have HLB, and there has been a 70 percent decline in production, with an economic impact of $7.8 billion. California growers and government have invested heavily in trying to contain the spread of the pest and disease. Because of this, and somewhat because of the varied geography of California compared to Florida, the pest has not...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, January 9, 2017 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

On January 1, 2017, the CCOF-sponsored California Organic Food and Farming Act (COFFA) went into effect. This law updates the California State Organic Program (SOP) by streamlining registration for farmers, reducing registration fees for small organic farmers, and making changes to the role of the state’s organic advisory committee. Improved SOP Registration Process This year, organic farmers will immediately experience a significantly improved SOP registration and renewal process. Rather than report acreage and sales for each crop grown, farmers will only report six categories of crops and...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, January 2, 2017 on cost share, fees, financial assistance, State Organic Program

On December 21, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that certified organic producers will be able to apply for reimbursement of State Organic Program (SOP) fees as an additional scope of certification through the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (Cost Share). SOP fees are an additional cost of certification for organic producers operating in the state of California, where producers must pay SOP fees to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) in addition to paying fees to their accredited certifying agent. In 2016, CCOF worked with the...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, January 2, 2017 on research

The Drake University Agricultural Law Center is collecting data on farmer experiences with production contracts—legal agreements under which they care for poultry or livestock owned by another party or grow a crop under a contract. This survey is being conducted on behalf of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. Results will be used to prepare a new guide to help farmers better understand and utilize production contracts. The data we are collecting is important to provide new resources to farmers on production contracts. The survey should take participants less than 10 minutes to...
Written by Rachel Witte on Monday, December 19, 2016 on CCOF

As you gather close to family this time of year, our staff will be doing the same. Please note that the CCOF office will be closed for the holidays from December 26th through December 30th. We’ll be sure to get back to your messages and requests right away when we return. Thank you for your support of organic in 2016! Happy holidays!
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, December 19, 2016 on advocacy, policy, water

The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (Central Coast Water Board) is proposing to update its Agricultural Order (Ag Order), which may result in significant new recordkeeping requirements for some farms in the region.1 Impacted farmers can submit a comment by January 3 or attend an upcoming public hearing on March 7-9, 2017, at the Watsonville City Council Chambers. Spanish translation will be provided at the meeting. Background The California state Irrigated Lands Program regulates discharges from irrigated agricultural lands statewide. Each of the state’s nine regional water...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, December 19, 2016 on advocacy, general organic, policy

Based on data collected from organic certifiers, the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service just released a summary of organic statistics from 2014 and 2015. The summary includes data on certified organic crop and livestock operations. It shows that the number of certified organic operations increased from 13,174 in 2014 to 14,861 in 2015, a growth rate of 13 percent. Certified organic pasture and rangeland acreage increased by 47 percent, from 1,467,874 acres in 2014 to 2,160,764 acres in 2015. Acreage of most organic crop types increased between...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, December 19, 2016 on advocacy, policy

The proposed mergers of Dow Chemical with DuPont, Monsanto with Bayer, and Syngenta with ChemChina could potentially reduce competition and farmers’ choices and will likely make inputs (including seeds and animal feed) more expensive. Join us in opposing this concentration of power by signing a sign-on letter on agrochemical and seed industry mergers. An alliance of environmental and farm groups, including Friends of the Earth, is asking for participation from all concerned constituents, but especially farmers, to make our voices heard. We are pushing for an investigation into and halt of the...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, December 19, 2016 on advocacy, policy, State Organic Program

The California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC) advises the Secretary of Food and Agriculture on issues related to organic standards enforcement and on support for organic agriculture in California through education, outreach, and other activities. CCOF encourages its members to consider applying to serve on COPAC. There are currently open seats for: 3 producers, 1 processor, 1 environmental representative, and 1 technical representative. Numerous alternate positions are also open. View the current COPAC roster online. Producer, processor, and wholesaler members must have...

Pages