From Field to Forum

Written by Laura McKissack on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 on directory, marketing, MyCCOF

CCOF is the only full-service organic certification agency and trade association. Our certified members receive full trade association benefits, including advocacy, education, networking opportunities, and marketing support. We want to help our certified members grow their businesses, and in doing so the organic marketplace. One way we promote our members is by maintaining a searchable online directory of our certified operations. Those looking to find organic products or services can search by keyword, location, or sales method, including Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), farmers'...
Written by Cathy Calfo and Jake Lewin on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 on advocacy, NOP, NOSB, standards

In recent weeks we at CCOF have observed a variety of activities and discussions about organic certification and organic standards. In the week following the April National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting, the Accredited Certifiers Association issued a noteworthy letter supporting the USDA and NOP. See CCOF’s thoughts on the sunset process change when they were announced last fall. At CCOF we believe that everyone is welcome to their opinions. We know that organic standards and certification systems are stronger and stricter than they’ve ever been. Our focus is making meaningful...
Written by Gamai Gregory on Thursday, May 8, 2014 on Brazil, export, international


On April 29-30, 2014, three federal inspectors from the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture (MAPA), and a USDA/Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS) Brazil Agricultural Marketing Specialist, toured CCOF-certified farms in the Davis, CA area. The tour was organized through the USDA Cochran Fellowship Program, with the help of CCOF’s Gamai Gregory and Sean Feder. During their visit, the federal inspectors were guided through the U.S. Organic certification process, and CCOF programs and procedures. They visited the UC Davis Student Farm, hosted by Raoul Adamchak; and Dixon Ridge Farms, hosted by...
Written by Jane Sooby on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 on grower, pests and pesticides

The bagrada bug, referred to as an “invasive stink bug” by researchers, is often seen as a mating couple on brassica family plants. A native of the African and Asian continents, this insect first made its appearance in the western United States in 2008. Since then, its American range has spread east from Los Angeles County to Arizona and areas of southern Nevada, Utah, and west-central New Mexico. It has been found as far north as Monterey County. The insect has orange and white markings on its body and can be mistaken for the harlequin bug; however, it is much smaller than the harlequin bug...
Written by Brise Tencer on Monday, May 5, 2014 on advocacy, livestock, NOP, NOSB, policy, standards


CCOF believes that organic livestock standards should require humane and ethical treatment of animals during all stages of production, including transport and slaughter. CCOF, consistent with our mission and principles, has long advocated for NOP standards that ensure outdoor and soil access. In December 2011, the NOSB unanimously passed a recommendation on Animal Welfare and Stocking Rates that capped off several years of work on these subjects. The NOSB recommendations were consistent with CCOF and other organizations’ recommendations. In June 2013, the NOP released a report on the economic...
Written by Jane Sooby on Friday, May 2, 2014 on grower


California state Assembly Members Susan Eggman and Luis Alejo introduced a resolution on April 21 celebrating National Strawberry Month, which will begin May 1 and continue throughout the month. The resolution has passed the Assembly and is headed to the Senate. The resolution’s language includes as one of its “whereas”es that “California grows more strawberries than any other place in the world, … and more organic strawberries than all 49 other states combined.” The resolution recognizes strawberries as a “quintessential California crop that sustains families, communities, the environment,...
Written by Brise Tencer on Monday, April 28, 2014 on NOSB, standards

The spring 2014 National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting will be held April 29 - May 2 in San Antonio, Texas. The NOSB will take up a slate of issues left over from fall 2013, when the meeting was cancelled due to lack of a federal budget. CCOF will be represented at the meeting by staff and board members. We expect an array of interesting discussions and hot topics. View the meeting agenda online.   CCOF will report back to our members on outcomes from the meeting. In the meantime, you can read CCOF’s comments on the various proposals and discussion documents below. Streptomycin (...
Written by Jane Sooby on Thursday, April 24, 2014 on education


Where would you go to college if you wanted to become an organic farmer? There’s a lot to be said for the “school of hard knocks” and experience from which most of the world’s farmers graduate in order to become successful. The rare individual who grows up on a family farm is raised to appreciate the work ethic and practical savvy it takes to run a farm business. At the same time, the intimate knowledge of the hard labor and long hours that it takes to farm successfully often turns farm kids toward other careers. Rural America can also hold less attraction for many young people who prefer to...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, April 21, 2014 on grower, help and tips, seeds


In the past, it was a challenge for many organic farmers to source organic seed. Fortunately, there are now a number of resources available to make it easier for farmers to find organic seed or to produce it themselves. These resources include the new Organic Seed Finder website, Organic Seed Alliance’s seed production publications, and the eOrganic Seed Resource Guide. Organic Seed Finder, hosted and managed by the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA), was launched in October 2012 and serves as a free resource for farmers, certifiers, and other stakeholders looking to...
Written by Jane Sooby on Thursday, April 3, 2014 on assistance, drought, funding


As organic operations face unprecedented drought conditions in the western region in 2014, CCOF continues to provide support and information to help organic operations through this difficult time. We are pleased to announce availability of special hardship funds for any certified organic producers who are having a hard time making ends meet this spring due to damage caused by drought. ¿Necesita información en español? Thanks to a special grant from Farm Aid, CCOF is joining with Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) to make these funds available to growers affected by the drought....
Written by Jane Sooby on Thursday, April 3, 2014 on NOSB, regulatory, standards

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is the advisory committee that advises the Secretary of Agriculture on implementation of the Organic Foods Production Act. There are currently four seats open on the NOSB: environmentalist, organic producer, organic handler, and retailer with significant trade in organic products. NOSB members are volunteers who represent the diversity of the organic community. They are appointed for five-year terms and are expected to attend meetings twice a year, participate in conference calls bimonthly or more, review materials on the National List of Allowed...
Written by Val George on Friday, March 21, 2014 on drought, livestock, NOP, standards


An article published in many online newspapers on March 20 exemplifies how misinformation about the organic label can spread quickly. In the article, titled "How California’s drought is changing organic milk and honey", Hoda Emam begins by saying "the milk you think is organic, isn’t. Not really." Ms. Emam not only does a disservice to the organic label with this sentence but continues on in the article with information that makes it plainly obvious that many significant parts of this story were left out. It is important to note that although this article may be attempting to lead readers to...
Written by Zea Sonnabend on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 on pests and pesticides

2014 is the last season in which organic apple and pear growers can use antibiotics to control fire blight. Now is the time to look at non-antibiotic controls, for which there has been significant progress in the past few years. New resources are available to help organic producers make a plan for combatting fire blight. Download the Alternative Controls for Fire Blight 2014 Update. Some additional promising materials are being researched and will become available in the next few years; meanwhile, growers need to start learning to work with the products and techniques available now in order...
Written by Brise Tencer on Thursday, February 20, 2014 on advocacy, farm bill, funding

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: The Agricultural Marketing Service, home agency of the USDA National Organic Program, mailed an organic Market News survey to 12,000 certified organic, transitional, and exempt producers earlier in February. Survey questions focus on how organic producers acquire market information, how they price and sell their products, and to what degree they use AMS’s...
Written by Jane Sooby on Friday, February 14, 2014 on drought, NOP, standards

In response to requests made by CCOF and other certifiers, the National Organic Program (NOP) approved a temporary variance request pertaining to the livestock pasture standards. The variance applies to organic ruminant livestock producers located in California counties that have been designated as primary natural disaster areas. These producers, who typically graze their animals in February and March, are not required to graze or provide dry matter intake from pasture during February and March 2014, and may reduce their grazing season by the number of days in their grazing plan that fall in...

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