Blog posts by grower

Written by Jon Knapp on Monday, July 14, 2014 on grower, research, seeds


The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is currently working on a project that could assist organic farmers in seed treatment. Conventional farming practices that focus on chemical treatment and fumigation can be harmful to both the environment and humans alike, and many of these methods are prohibited in organic production. OFRF is expanding on the work of prior studies that found suppression of soil-borne plant pathogens from microbes present in solid and liquid organic soil amendments. OFRF seeks to identify which specific subset of microbes is responsible for this pathogen...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, July 14, 2014 on grower, pests and pesticides, research


Citrus greening disease, also known by its Chinese name Huanglongbing, threatens the citrus industry on a massive scale. It has devastated millions of acres of citrus crops throughout the United States and abroad, ravaging citrus in countries in Asia, Africa, and South America. The highly destructive disease can spread quickly, and once a tree is infected it cannot be cured. Citrus greening is spread by the Asian citrus psyllid, a small insect that transmits the disease as it feeds on the leaves and stems of citrus trees. These psyllids are prolific breeders, with each female laying up to...
Written by Zea Sonnabend on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 on grower, inputs, materials, pests and pesticides


Organic citrus growers have spent more than a year now wading through the decision-making process for policies regarding the spread and eradication of Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP) and the deadly disease it can spread, Huanglongbing (HLB) or Citrus Greening. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) relies on a group of scientists known as the Science Advisory Panel (SAP) for recommendations about trapping and testing protocols, eradication zones, quarantines, and which materials are approved for control and/or eradication. The SAP met in December in Ontario, CA and issued their...
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 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 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...

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