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CCOF Applauds USDA Announcement of Organic Equivalence Agreement with Japan

(September 25, 2013) Santa Cruz, CA - USDA and Japan announced Thursday at Natural Products Expo East a new organic equivalency agreement, finalizing many years of perseverance toward equivalence without critical variances. As of January 1, 2014, the Japan Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries will recognize the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) as equivalent to Japanese Agricultural Standards (JAS). CCOF engaged early in the agreement process, representing our more than 2,600 members by hosting visits with Japanese officials here in the United States.

Farm Bill Features Wins for Organic Farmers

(January 29, 2014) Santa Cruz, CA – The U.S. House of Representatives today approved a farm bill that includes funding for critical programs that support the growth of the organic sector. The Senate is expected to follow suit in the coming days. Among the wins for organic was the National Organic Certification Cost Share program, a main focus of CCOF’s policy work last year through visits to Congress members and dozens of emails and calls by CCOF members.

DARK Act Dead—For Now

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.

$20 million Announced in Assistance for Drought-Impacted Producers

We were thrilled this morning to learn that the USDA is making $20 million available in assistance to California producers affected by drought. I was on a conference call this morning with USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack as he made this announcement. He was joined by Representative Jim Costa and CDFA Secretary Karen Ross, who spoke about the implications of the drought and their commitment to helping farmers.

187 Substances Relisted on National List

The National Organic Program (NOP) has relisted 187 substances on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List). The complete list of substances can be found on the Federal Register.

2017 Sunset Review Proposed Rule

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.

A Cause for Celebration: CCOF Policy Day at the State Capitol

Edmund Gerald "Jerry" Brown, Jr.

On February 11, a dedicated group of individuals came together in Sacramento to represent and advocate on behalf of organic at CCOF’s Policy Day. Over 100 members of the organic community met with elected representatives and public officials to hammer home the message that organic is a significant and growing part of the California and national economy.

Addressing Seed Purity – Part 1 of 2

This post was written by Kristina Hubbard, director of advocacy and communications for Organic Seed Alliance. She recently published an article in Agriculture and Human Values entitled, "Confronting coexistence in the United States: organic agriculture, genetic engineering, and the case of Roundup Read alfalfa."

Animals Need Access to Soil, Not Concrete

CCOF believes that organic livestock standards should require humane and ethical treatment of animals during all stages of production, including transport and slaughter. CCOF, consistent with our mission and principles, has long advocated for NOP standards that ensure outdoor and soil access.

In December 2011, the NOSB unanimously passed a recommendation on Animal Welfare and Stocking Rates that capped off several years of work on these subjects. The NOSB recommendations were consistent with CCOF and other organizations’ recommendations.

Apply for SWEEP Grant to Improve Irrigation Efficiency by March 14

The State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) offers agricultural operations in California up to $100,000 to invest in irrigation systems that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save water.

As noted in a previous CCOF blog entry, SWEEP funds can be used to install the following:

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