California State Senate Votes to End Duplicative Paperwork for Organic Farmers with Passage of AB 1826

Assemblymember Mark Stone’s AB 1826 Now Moves to Governor’s Desk

(August 17, 2016) Santa Cruz, CA – Today, AB 1826—the California Organic Food and Farming Act (COFFA) passed the California State Senate with a unanimous vote in support of California’s organic farmers, who produce over 40% of organic food sales in the United States.

“California’s state organic program has helped the state become the global leader in organics, but it has also created some duplicative fees and paperwork for producers. AB 1826 will help limit those duplications and ensure California remains as a top producer of the high quality organic products enjoyed by consumers around the world,” said bill author, Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay).

Due to the efforts of the many individuals and businesses who support the bill, CCOF-sponsored COFFA will head to the Assembly for a final vote of approval, and then onto the Governor’s Desk.

California is the only state that requires organic producers to submit fees and registration paperwork in addition to their USDA organic fees and paperwork. These additional burdens hinder organic production and prevent California producers from meeting the growing demand for organic products. COFFA addresses these issues by allowing federally accredited organic certifiers to submit paperwork and fees on behalf of their clients as well as capping or lowering state program fees.

 “COFFA will help family farms like ours feed Californians organic food at an affordable price by eliminating red tape that stalls business and organic farming,” said Vernon Peterson, member of CCOF Board of Directors, and owner of Abundant Harvest Organics, a certified organic farm that cultivates 172 acres in Kingsburg, Ca.

“Small organic farmers are especially vulnerable and need this relief to survive" Peterson added, explaining the critical need to pass AB 1826.

“This bill supports the next era of growth in organic agriculture,” said CCOF Executive Director Cathy Calfo. “Today, organic is everywhere thanks to the integrity of the USDA label, leaving states a new role to play – that of encouraging more organic production to meet tremendous consumer demand.”

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.

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.

There is still time to register support for California’s organic farmers! Visit www.ccof.org/coffa to read more about the bill and encourage Governor Brown to sign COFFA into law.  

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.


###
 

Author: 
Robin Boyle, CCOF Director of Marketing and Sales
Author contact information: 

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