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Federal Activity on Organic Abounds

Since the farm bill has been signed by President Obama, CCOF is looking forward to implementation of the programs that support the organic sector.

Meanwhile, organic efforts are moving forward on many federal fronts. Here are the details:

Final Chance to Comment on Removal of Marsala, Sherry, Streptomycin, and Tetracycline from the National List

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) approved removal of four materials from the National List, and the proposed rule that finalizes removal is now open for comment through August 31, 2015. Read the rule and submit a comment.

Marsala wine and sherry wine were eligible for sunset removal and the NOSB voted these ingredients off the list at its fall 2014 meeting.

Food Safety Regulations Soon to Become Law

Over the next few months, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will publish the final food safety requirements for produce farms and food processing facilities under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Many produce farmers and food processors that make food for people to eat will need to comply with the new food safety requirements.

How did we get here?

In 2011, President Obama signed FSMA in to law. FSMA represented the first overhaul to food safety practices in the United States since 1938.

House Rejects Farm Bill - Future Uncertain for Organic and Other Programs

As the farm bill process has twisted and turned, it’s been hard to predict what comes next.  Today, in a turn of events that surprised many, the House voted down the farm bill. The $940 billion bill was weak on organic and other sustainable agriculture priorities, but having no bill may be even worse. The USDA is currently acting under an extension of the 2008 Farm Bill, which expires in September. Under the extension, many programs important to CCOF members, such as the Organic Certification Cost Share program, are not available.

Material Sunset Process Announced by USDA will Break Regulatory Logjam

The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) last week posted a plan to update the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) material “sunset review” process to address a broken system that has challenged the organic community for some time. We believe that this proposal will break some of the existing regulatory logjam and allow the NOSB to focus on larger issues that matter to organic consumers and producers.

New Whole-Farm Crop Insurance Provides Options for Organic Farmers and Ranchers

A new type of crop insurance, Whole-Farm Revenue Protection, may better serve highly diversified organic crop and livestock producers than traditional crop insurance policies. Rather than covering losses of a particular crop, Whole-Farm Revenue Protection covers all crops and livestock produced on a single farm.

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.

President Signs Farm Bill into Law

Farm Bill Features Wins for Organic Farmers

Today, President Obama signed a farm bill into law that includes funding for critical programs that support the growth of the organic sector. 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. 

Preventing GMO Presence in Organic Products

In an environment where Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and their derivatives are widely distributed throughout the food chain, it is imperative that organic producers and handlers have strategies and plans to keep them out. A key tenet of "coexistence" is shared responsibility for the exclusion of the methods and products of genetic engineering.

Spring 2013 NOSB Meeting Report

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