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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 Testify at Farm Bill Listening Sessions

Photo, left to right: Grant Brians, CCOF Board of Directors member; Laura Batcha, OTA; Melody Meyer, UNFI; Sam Farr, retired Congressman; Karen Ross, California Secretary of Agriculture; Mark Lipson, organic farmer & OFRF senior policy and program specialist.

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 Leaders Sought for State Organic Advisory Group

Since passage of the California Organic Food and Farming Act in 2016, the California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC) has new responsibilities to support organic agriculture through education and outreach. COPAC’s traditional role, to oversee the State Organic Program and advise the Secretary of Food and Agriculture on organic issues, continues.
 

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.

Organic Trade Association Seeks Court Hearing in Animal Welfare Standards Lawsuit

The Organic Trade Association wants its day in court. The association on Wednesday requested that oral arguments be heard on its lawsuit against the USDA over the department's failure to put into effect new organic livestock standards. The request comes as the case is gaining significant momentum and as more organic businesses and stakeholders take action and speak out in support of the lawsuit.
 

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.

Post-Fiscal Cliff Farm Bill Update

In the last days of December and the beginning of January, Congress and the White House passed legislation to avoid the “fiscal cliff.” They attached language to the legislation that extends provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill for nine months, giving themselves until September 2013 to write a new farm bill. Unfortunately for farmers across the nation, this farm bill does not actually extend all programs and leaves many growers high and dry.

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