In the wake of the atmospheric river that hit California with a series of intense storms in early January, many people had questions about the status of organically certified ground and about the safety of food grown in flooded fields.
An atmospheric river caused widespread flooding and landslides in California at the beginning of 2023, creating an estimated $5–7 billion of damage. Especially hard hit were farms in many rural areas adjacent to rivers that overflowed their banks, flooding fields, homes, and businesses. President Joe Biden approved a major disaster declaration for California, which triggered the release of federal funds to assist people and businesses affected by the damage.
California agricultural operations have been significantly impacted by the wildfires and ongoing, severe drought. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has technical and financial assistance available to help farmers and livestock producers recover. Impacted producers should contact their local USDA Service Center to report losses and learn more about program options available to assist in their recovery from crop, land, infrastructure and livestock losses and damages.
We have taken the opportunity to reflect on our role and relationship with our certified members as major fires appear to occur more frequently and after learning of other tragic events affecting CCOF-certified operations.