Blog posts by grower

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 Zea Sonnabend on Friday, November 22, 2013 on advocacy, genetic engineering, grower

A proposal by the food industry continues the onslaught of new genetically engineered crops that threaten both organic farmers and consumers who may not want GMOs in their food. The latest genetically modified crop likely to be deregulated in 2014 are Arctic® apples, which have been engineered not to brown when sliced. Organic proponents will likely question why the world needs non-browning apples, especially as this trait is not based on the basic agronomy or pest risks of the apple. However, there has been little controversy over the potential release so far. This may be a result of the...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, November 5, 2013 on funding, grower

This blog post was written by Sarah Tait of Kiva Zip and Alan Haight of Riverhill Farm. Kiva Zip is a nonprofit located in San Francisco, California, that offers 0% interest loans up to $5,000 to financially excluded entrepreneurs who lack access to traditional sources of capital. Kiva Zip is actively looking for small farms and food producers that could benefit from their program. Alan and his wife Jo, owners of Riverhill Farm in Nevada City, California, are one such example of a small farm benefitting from a Kiva Zip loan. They used their Kiva Zip loan to purchase equipment for their farm...
Written by Zea Sonnabend on Monday, October 7, 2013 on grower, pests and pesticides

Update October 7, 2013: In September, new Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP) were found in Dinuba, Exeter, and Wasco, California. This expands the quarantine areas to parts of Kern and Fresno, as well as Tulare County. A quarantine area of 86 square-miles was set up for the find in Exeter on October 2, and similar zones previously in the other new areas. The details and maps can be found at www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/go/acp-quarantine-sjv. In order to move bulk citrus out of any quarantine area there must be a special permit obtained from CDFA. This involves an ACP-Free Declaration form and the use of...
Written by Guest Blogger on Thursday, August 29, 2013 on grower, water

This post was written by Liz Birnbaum, Program Coordinator at the Ecological Farming Association. All businesses face the challenge of managing their resources to provide a meaningful financial return. Organic farmers face the added challenge of attaining financial viability in harmony with the natural systems upon which their success ultimately depends. A key element in all farming is water. And how it gets used, stored, and managed can make a huge difference in a farm’s success. Water management is not one-size-fits-all, so where can a farmer find the resources to save water and money...
Written by Zea Sonnabend on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 on advocacy, grower, handler, materials and inputs, NOSB, standards

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) met April 9-11 in Portland, Oregon. NOP Deputy Administrator Miles McEvoy reported on the many activities of the National Organic Program (NOP) in the six months since the last meeting. Recent activities include work on the previous NOSB nanotechnology recommendations, international agreements, and aquaculture standards. Proposed rules in progress include origin of livestock, final rule on sodium nitrate, and apiculture standards. Guidance documents still to come this year include grower groups, inspector qualifications, responding to results...
Written by Brise Tencer on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 on advocacy, food safety, grower, handler, standards

Update 04/30/13: The FDA has extended the comment period on the proposed food safety regulations until September 16.  This change was made as a result of numerous requests for more time to review the proposals, which are complex.  The additional time offers CCOF members an opportunity to provide more feedback about the proposals, areas for concerns, or suggested changes. We encourage you to continue sending us your feedback to policy@ccof.org. Original Post 03/13/13: I wanted to take this opportunity to update CCOF members on the FDA proposed rules for implementation of the Food Safety...
Written by Guest Blogger on Friday, April 19, 2013 on grower, help and tips

This article appeared in the spring 2013 issue of Certified Organic and was written by Jay Silverstein, partner at Moss Adams. Whether retirement is near or far, thinking about who will take the reins and lead your farm into the future isn’t easy, but it’s especially relevant these days. According to the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, approximately 70 percent of U.S. farmland will go on the market in the next 20 years as the nation’s farmers age. Without a succession plan, many family-run farms are likely to go out of business, be bought by larger farms, or get turned...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 on funding, grower, livestock

This post was written by Anita Brown, public affairs director, USDA NRCS California Many organic farmers have dreams of a conservation project they would love to tackle: a multipurpose hedgerow; an efficient, water-saving irrigation system and schedule; a comprehensive plan to build soil organic matter; a hoop house to extend the growing season for local customers. However, the day-to-day demands of farming can leave those dreams stuck on a back burner.  For those who haven’t heard, there is a relatively new resource to help you get cooking on those projects, and over 200 California organic...
Written by Zea Sonnabend on Thursday, March 7, 2013 on advocacy, farming: materials and inputs, grower, NOP, NOSB, policy, standards

CCOF is committed to ending the use of antibiotics in organic fruit production. We believe that a longer time period is necessary for oxytetracycline than the current 2014 expiration date because of the continuing research in varying locations and seasons that would ensure success, the need for registration of new materials, and enough time for grower education and outreach. We would like to see an extension in the range of 2017 to 2020 for phase out; however, we support the majority position to extend the expiration date for the use of oxytetracycline to October 21, 2016. While our clients...
Written by Guest Blogger on Thursday, February 7, 2013 on funding, grower, livestock

This post was written by Val Dolcini, State Executive Director of the USDA Farm Service Agency in California There’s a new USDA loan program that might be the perfect fit for beginning farmers and ranchers seeking access to capital. On January 15, the USDA Farm Service Agency rolled out a new Microloan program designed to help farmers and ranchers with credit needs of $35,000 or less. This new credit tool simplifies and streamlines the process for farmers obtaining loans under $35,000; it cuts the paperwork burden in half and is built to fit the needs of smaller-scale farmers and ranchers. ...
Written by Cathy Calfo on Monday, January 21, 2013 on grower, handler, livestock, retail

CCOF’s annual membership meeting will take place at the top of a series of anniversary events – Celebrating Forty Years of Growing Organic Agriculture. The meeting will be held 9:00–10:00 a.m. this Wednesday, January 23, in the Kiln Room at the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, California. This meeting is an opportunity for CCOF members to meet with each other, CCOF staff, and board members to let us know what’s on your mind (there will be an open microphone!), so please join us! As part of the celebration, you can take a walk down memory lane: either by joining the anniversary...
Written by Brise Tencer on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 on grower, inputs, materials, pests and pesticides, regulatory, SOP

Understandably, organic growers are concerned about the Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP), a pest that is a carrier of a devastating disease of citrus trees, huanglongbing (HLB). ACP findings are particularly concerning for organic producers because of how few choices there are for organic control methods. In cases of CDFA eradication efforts, there are no currently accepted organic treatments, but organic producers do have tools for management and prevention.  We encourage citrus growers to read up on the issue and be proactive with preventive management. In general, organic common sense...
Written by Jane Sooby on Friday, January 4, 2013 on farming: materials and inputs, grower, help and tips, inputs, water

Widespread leakage of nitrogen from agricultural production has become a huge problem worldwide. Recent news articles have reported that numerous small towns in California’s central valley, the country’s most productive agricultural region, must use bottled water because their municipal water supplies are contaminated with dangerous levels of nitrates. A report issued by UC Davis in early 2012 documented that in California’s Tulare Lake Basin and Salinas Valley, “roughly 254,000 people are currently at risk for nitrate contamination of their drinking water.” The “dead zone” in the Gulf of...