California Organic Farmers & Assemblyman Mark Stone Unveil Bill to Remove Barriers to Organic Production

(February 29, 2016) Sacramento, CA – Today Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay) joined CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers) to unveil new legislation that removes barriers to organic production and protects the integrity and competitiveness of California’s $9 billion organic sector.

“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.

California’s organic program was intended to boost the strength and integrity of the organic sector, but the program is now duplicated at the federal level. AB 1826, the California Organic Food and Farming Act (COFFA), will strengthen the integrity and competitiveness of organic products in California by updating the state program. For over a decade, California has funded organic enforcement in its state with additional fees on certified organic producers, while the National Organic Program (NOP) has spent money on enforcement in every other state. COFFA will ensure that California’s State Organic Program (SOP) funds supplement, rather than replace, mandated NOP enforcement while also reducing duplicative paperwork and fees for producers.

“AB 1826 levels the playing field for California’s certified organic farmers. Without this bill, we will continue to pay unfair fees and cope with dizzying paperwork mazes that operations in every other state don’t face,” said CCOF-certified organic farmer Thaddeus Barsotti, owner of Capay Organic and Farm Fresh to You, based near Esparto, California.

California is the only state in the nation that saddles organic farmers with an extra layer of fees and reporting that add no additional consumer protection. The outdated SOP was created before robust federal oversight of organic production. COFFA will remove barriers to production for all types of organic producers, especially highly diversified and small-scale operations, by reforming outdated fees and paperwork.

CCOF Executive Director/CEO Cathy Calfo added, “COFFA is a win-win for California businesses and consumers. It’s not every day that you get a chance to streamline fees and paperwork and at the same time make a program like the State Organic Program work even better for the people of California.”

Stone joined California’s organic producers to unveil the legislation at CCOF’s Annual Meeting and Conference, Blueprint for an Organic World, at the Sacramento Sheraton Grand Hotel on February 29. For more information about COFFA visit: www.ccof.org/coffa.

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 3,000 certified organic members in 42 states and three countries. For further information on CCOF visit: www.ccof.org.

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Author: 
Galen Dobbins
Author contact information: 

CCOF
2155 Delaware Ave, Suite 150
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(530) 263-2509