Focus on Natural Resources and Soil Conservation in 2017
In 2016 the National Organic Program (NOP) issued final guidance 5020 on natural resources, commonly called biodiversity.
Contamination Happens–What to Do Next
Operations are not always aware of their options and responsibilities when they suspect that contamination or commingling may have occurred at their operation. Prompt and thorough reporting can help your operation maintain compliance and ensure appropriate measures are taken.
Update on Hydroponic/Container Production
In recent years we have seen an increase in the number and complexity of container-based agricultural production systems. These production systems were addressed by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) in 2010 in their recommendation regarding Terrestrial Plants in Containers and Enclosures. This recommendation advised a prohibition on hydroponic and aeroponic systems, but was never finalized into official standards. In the interim a wide spectrum of container production has continued to evolve ranging from transplants, to rooftop gardens, to commercial crop production.
CCOF Inspector Field Evaluations
Updated: April 11, 2016
Field evaluations are required by the National Organic Program (NOP) for all certifiers. As a result, CCOF implemented a pilot program in 2015 that has been very successful. We appreciate the NOP’s requirement and are embracing it with additional time and effort in 2016.
NOP Integrity Database
The NOP is launching a new database for certified organic operations’ data, called the Organic INTEGRITY Database. The database provides updated information about all USDA NOP certified organic operations in the hope of deterring fraud, increasing supply chain transparency, and promoting market visibility for organic operations. CCOF worked closely with the NOP to ensure the database would continue to function as a resource for domestic and international buyers, and is continuing to work with the NOP to improve the system.
Alternative Recordkeeping Documentation
CCOF has improved our available sample forms with new online Google templates, found at www.ccof.org/documents. You can also make maintaining documentation easier for yourself by using alternative documentation tools. Recently the National Organic Program (NOP), as part of their Sound and Sensible Certification initiative, has encouraged certifiers and inspectors to recognize alternative documentation, aside from logs or receipts.
Documenting New and Transitioning Parcels
Operations are required to update their Organic System Plan (OSP) regarding changes that can affect their compliance, such as new land managed by the operation. However, many farms implement transition of conventional ground or begin managing new ground without including it in their OSP or inspections.
All transitioning parcels and new ground should be added to your certification as soon as possible to ensure appropriate inspections and verification of practices, and to alleviate the need for costly, last-minute inspections.
CCOF Improves Recordkeeping Tools
Not sure what you should keep for your records? Looking for examples and templates of different record keeping documents? CCOF has a page for recordkeeping support to help answer these questions and provide tools that operations can use to demonstrate compliance. We have templates for equipment cleaning logs, planting stock records, commercial availability search records and more!
It’s Farmers’ Market Season
Spring has arrived and Farmers’ Market season is ramping up. In preparation for the season CCOF has updated our Farmers’ Market Best Practices Guidelines. Learn how to clearly label your organic products, prevent commingling with non-organic product, and prevent using misleading signage. Print out a few copies and share them with your friends!