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NOP Guidance on Biodiversity and Natural Resources Open for Comment

The National Organic Program (NOP) issued a draft guidance to clarify biodiversity and natural resources requirements. The Draft Guidance, “Natural Resources and Biodiversity Conservation for Certified Organic Operations,” is open for comment now through February 27, 2015.

Now is Your Chance to Comment on Food Safety Rules!

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is accepting public comments on its recently updated food safety rules now through December 15. To comment, CCOF highly recommends that you use the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s (NSAC) comment template and instructions.

The updated rules include significant changes, such as:

OFRF Organic Farmer Survey Opportunity Extended to September 14

The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) announced that it will keep its National Survey of Organic Farmers open through September 14, 2015.

Please take a few minutes to fill out the survey.

The 34-question survey focuses on certified organic farmers’ research needs and also collects information on the organic community’s experience with GMO contamination, pesticide drift, and food safety issues.

OFRF Survey Gathers Organic Farmers’ Research Needs

Please take a few moments to respond to the Organic Farming Research Foundation’s (OFRF) National Survey of Organic Farmers. Widespread participation by organic farmers across the country will ensure that all types and scales of certified organic production are reflected in the survey’s results. Responses will be accepted through August 30.

OFRF’s Organic Research Survey and California Focus Groups

If you haven’t had the opportunity to weigh in on Organic Research Priorities using the Organic Farming Research Foundation's (OFRF) national survey, we highly recommend doing so.

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 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.

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.

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.

Public Comments for Spring NOSB Meeting in La Jolla, CA

The spring 2015 National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting will be held April 27-30 in La Jolla, California. All CCOF members are encouraged to attend! This biannual meeting impacts what materials are allowed for use in organic production. After reviewing public comment and hearing testimony at the meeting, NOSB will make recommendations on standards and materials to the National Organic Program (NOP).

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