220 Business Leaders Rally Behind CCOF-Backed Legislation to Update State Organic Program

Assemblymember Mark Stone’s AB 1826 Now Moves to State Assembly Floor Vote

(May 27, 2016) Santa Cruz, CA – More than 220 individuals and businesses have rallied behind AB 1826—the California Organic Food and Farming Act (COFFA)—to support the critical role organic producers play in California’s economy and environment. The California Farm Bureau Federation, the Environmental Working Group, the Organic Consumers Association, and the Organic Trade Association are among the wide swath of supporters lending their voices to the passage of this important legislation. Due in large part to the efforts of these supporters, CCOF-sponsored COFFA, authored by Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay) passed the California Assembly Appropriations Committee on Friday and is heading for a floor vote by the California State Assembly next week.

“We have a great opportunity through the California Organic Food and Farming Act to put organic producers in a more competitive economic position and to support growth of the organic sector along with its many environmental and economic benefits,” said Stone.

Streamlining processes for California’s organic farmers is an issue that reaches beyond party lines. COFFA has received bi-partisan support from organic consumers and businesses large and small. COFFA’s success so far is thanks to the active participation of the bill’s supporters asking their representatives to vote in favor of the legislation.

“The importance of supporting organic production in California is evident in the overwhelming broad support we’ve received for the bill,” said Cathy Calfo, Executive Director/CEO of CCOF. “We’ve collected support from more than 200 businesses, in addition to many more members and supporters who have sent letters to their representatives on behalf of AB 1826.”

Calfo also acknowledged the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) strong commitment to improving the state organic program and supporting organic agriculture.

California’s organic producers are subject to fee and paperwork requirements from the State Organic Program (SOP) that duplicate requirements mandated by the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP). California is the only state requiring these additional burdens of its organic producers. COFFA would address this outdated structure by allowing certifying agents to submit the fees and paperwork to the state on behalf of organic producers.

“AB 1826 helps to level the playing field for California’s certified organic farmers. Without this bill, we will continue to pay duplicative fees and cope with dizzying paperwork mazes that operations in every other state don’t face,” explained CCOF-certified organic farmer Thaddeus Barsotti of Capay Organic.

The bill will also update the role of the SOP by allowing the California Secretary of Agriculture and the SOP advisory committee to support organic agriculture through education, outreach, and other programmatic activities.

Now is the time to register your support for California’s organic farmers! Visit www.ccof.org/coffa to read more about the bill and send a letter to your representatives.

About CCOF

CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1973 that advances organic agriculture for a healthy world through organic certification, education, advocacy, and promotion. CCOF is based in Santa Cruz, California, and represents more than 2,900 certified organic members in 42 states and three countries. For further information on CCOF visit: www.ccof.org.

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Author: 
Laura Mathias, CCOF Marketing Communications Supervisor
Author contact information: 

CCOF
2155 Delaware Ave, Suite 150
Santa Cruz, CA 95060