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Now is the Time to Comment on the Organic Check-Off

The deadline to submit comments on the Organic Research, Promotion, and Information Order, commonly known as the Organic Check-Off, is closing on April 19, 2017.

Order May Impact Organic Poultry Operations

The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board has issued tentative Order # R5-2016-XXXX Waste Discharge Requirements General Order for Poultry Operations, which may impact organic poultry operations. The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board will be holding a hearing on December 5th and 6th in Rancho Cordova, for those that wish to comment on the proposed Order.

Organic Buffer Plantings Eligible for Conservation Payments

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that new buffer plantings around organic fields are eligible for rental payments and cost-share if they are enrolled in 10-15 year conservation contracts.

Part of the Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CCRP), the new organic option is open for sign-up throughout the year and is not subject to bidding and ranking processes. Instead, land is enrolled automatically if it qualifies for the program.

Organic Check-off Program Still Open for Comment

The deadline to comment on two proposed rules for the Organic Research, Promotion, and Information Order (also known as the Organic check-off program) has been extended through April 19, 2017.

The proposed check-off program is projected to raise at least $30 million per year to fund organic research, technical assistance, and promotion of the organic brand.

Organic Check-off Proposal Open for Comment

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.

Organic Farmers: Weigh in on the National Organic Survey

National policies, issues, and institutions affect organic farmers, yet we lack a strong presence to ensure that the certified organic farmer’s viewpoint, needs, and concerns are represented in the national arena. To address this situation, several organic farming organizations have been discussing building a more effective and clearer voice for certified organic farmers. We are proud of certified organic’s growth and growing prominence in the marketplace, and believe now is the time that farmers, who are at the core of this success, establish a focused and strong voice.

Organic Farming Bill Clears Assembly Appropriations Committee

A crucial milestone in the California Organic Food and Farming Act’s progress occurred on Friday, May 27, when the bill, AB 1826, was forwarded out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Chaired by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, the Appropriations Committee is responsible for assessing the fiscal impact of all bills. Many CCOF members sent letters of support to Assemblymember Gonzalez and helped move the bill out of committee.

Organic Funding Opportunities Now Open for Applications

Two grantmaking programs that fund organic work are now open for proposals.

The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is accepting research proposals.

Organic Plant Breeding Comes to UC Davis

It is a challenge for organic growers in California to find seed varieties that perform well in organic conditions, due to the fact that most plant breeding has been done for conventional production. This need for organic-specific vegetable varieties is being addressed by a new organic plant breeding project at the University of California, Davis, funded by a federal Organic Research and Extension Initiative grant.

Please Share Your Farm Bill Priorities

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is encouraging producers and handlers to participate in OTA’s Farm Bill survey to provide feedback on new policy priorities for the upcoming 2018 Farm Bill. Major topics that are addressed in the survey include production concerns; marketing, funding, regulatory, research, and extension barriers; and past Farm Bill evaluation.

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