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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.

Investments in Climate Smart Agriculture Delayed

This week the California State Legislature sent the fiscal year 2016-17 budget to Governor Jerry Brown without deciding how the state would spend billions in climate change investments.

Join CCOF April 12 for Free Webinar on AB 1826, The California Organic Food and Farming Act

CCOF invites you to join an informational webinar on AB 1826—The California Organic Food and Farming Act (COFFA)—a bill introduced by California Assemblymember Mark Stone to level the playing field for California’s organic producers and update the role of the State Organic Program.

Last Chance to Comment on Calculating Organic Percentages Draft Guidance!

The comment period is closing soon to submit comments to the National Organic Program regarding their draft guidance on calculating the percentage of organic ingredients in multi-ingredient products.

Comments can be submitted until April 7, 2017 to regulations.gov using docket number AMS_FRDOC_0001-1558.

The draft guidance could impact product labelling and the calculation of organic ingredients.

Leadership Opportunity: Now Accepting Applications for Farmers Advisory Council

CCOF is accepting applications for appointment to the Organic Trade Association (OTA) Farmers Advisory Council (FAC). Applications are due August 5, 2016.

FAC provides the OTA Board of Directors and staff with critical input from small- and medium-sized organic farmers, ranchers, and growers on matters pertinent to the advancement of organic agriculture, with a specific focus on OTA’s policy agenda.

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 Animal Welfare Standards Released by National Organic Program

The National Organic Program (NOP) announced on April 7, 2016, that it will propose amending the organic livestock and poultry production requirements.

The proposed regulation, which is based on recommendations from the National Organic Standards Board, is an effort to achieve consistency in organic livestock practices. It covers a range of topics including health care practices and living conditions for organic animals.

Here are some of the highlights of the proposed rule:

New Certified Organic Survey Shows National Growth with California Leading the Way

New statistics released by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) show that the total value of certified organic agricultural products sold in the United States increased from $5.5 billion in 2014 to $6.2 billion in 2015, a 13 percent increase. The number of certified organic farms and organic acreage also increased between 2014-2015.

New Law Will Protect Seed Libraries in California

Vague language in last year’s revision of the California Seed Law was clarified by legislation that exempts non-commercial seed trading–such as seed libraries, seed swaps, and other seed exchanges–from state permit and labeling requirements for commercial seed.

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