Blog posts by policy

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, November 17, 2014 on policy, seeds

Public breeding programs are needed now more than ever before, according to a recently released report titled Proceedings of Summit on Seeds and Breeds for the 21st Century Agriculture, published by the Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI). The publication is a collection of essays and information gathered from RAFI’s two-day summit on seed varieties and public breeding. Held earlier this year, the summit brought together over 35 researchers, plant and animal breeders, farmers, academics, and other stakeholders to discuss our nation’s seed supply and develop recommendations for...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, November 17, 2014 on policy

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) recently released its 2014 Grassroots Guide to Federal Farm and Food Programs. The guide is a free digital resource for farmers, conservationists, and other members of the sustainable agriculture and food community. The comprehensive guide breaks down federal programs and policies into plain-language explanations and includes valuable resources. The guide is organized into nine chapters and details over 40 federal food and farm programs, along with a quick-reference overview chart, glossary, and other resources – all accessible via NSAC’s...
Written by Jane Sooby on Friday, November 7, 2014 on certification process, policy

CCOF is excited to announce that 33% of its members in California have successfully applied for the organic certification cost-share rebate, which refunds 75% of certification-related expenses up to a maximum of $750 per certified scope of operation.  We encourage the remainder of CCOF-certified members to apply for certification cost share in California before the postmark deadline of November 29, 2014. We also encourage members in other states to submit applications for cost share according to their state deadlines. A few things to keep in mind about certification cost share: Growers,...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, November 3, 2014 on NOSB, policy

Last week, several CCOF staff and members attended the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting in Louisville, Kentucky to share their expertise and weigh in on the future of organic standards. The NOSB meets biannually to review organic standards and to determine what recommendations it will make to the National Organic Program (NOP) for future rulemaking. Members of the public are encouraged to attend these meetings because they have the opportunity speak and share their opinions on farming and processing inputs and practices. CCOF also participated in the National Organic Coalition’...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, November 3, 2014 on policy

On October 31, CCOF submitted a public comment to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) regarding its draft Statewide Plant Pest Prevention and Management Program (the Statewide Program) Environmental Impact Report (PEIR). CDFA implements the Statewide Program to prevent the introduction and spread of injurious insect pests, plant diseases, and noxious weeds in California. For the Statewide Program, CDFA uses an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach, which is the coordinated use of information about pest biology, the host environments, and available control methods to...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, October 27, 2014 on policy

Are you up-to-date on the latest Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) proposed rules? On Thursday, November 6, in Sacramento, California, the California Department of Food and Agriculture will host a free listening session on the FSMA Updated Proposed Rules for Produce Safety, Preventive Controls for Human Food, and Preventative Controls for Animal Food. CCOF is co-sponsoring the listening session and encourages all members to take advantage of this opportunity to hear an overview of the updated proposed rules, ask questions, and learn more about food safety rules. The listening session will...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Friday, October 17, 2014 on advocacy, NOP, NOSB, policy, standards

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will meet October 28-30 in Louisville, Kentucky to review organic standards and to determine what recommendations it will make to the National Organic Program (NOP) for future rulemaking. In preparation for the meeting, CCOF submitted nine public comments that address a range of topics such as soil conservation, GMO priorities, and crop and handling materials. CCOF’s comments are below – read more to learn more about CCOF’s recommendations to the NOSB and the value of certain topics and materials to organic production. CCOF representatives will also...
Written by Robin Boyle on Friday, September 19, 2014 on food safety, policy

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued updates to four proposed rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). FDA is accepting comments on the updates now through December. The updated rules include significant changes, such as: revised water testing standards, deferred manure treatment standards, and a more collaborative approach to regulating parts of mixed-type facilities — e.g. operations that grow, pack, and/or process on the farm. FDA issued the updated rules after receiving extensive public comments and information on the originally proposed rules, which the...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, September 2, 2014 on CCOF, policy

IntroductionKelly Damewood, CCOF Policy Director David Lester, student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, recently completed a summer internship with CCOF. Over the course of two months, he completed an in-depth review of county regulations that may support or encourage certified organic agriculture. Read on for an interesting and worthwhile summary of his findings. For over thirty years, CCOF – one of the first organic certification agencies in the United States – has worked on landmark law and policy such as the California Organic Food Act of 1979 and the National Organic Program (NOP). CCOF...
Written by Cathy Calfo on Monday, July 21, 2014 on CCOF, policy

Kelly Damewood joined CCOF as Policy Director on July 14. Kelly most recently received an advanced degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law in food and agricultural policy. She has also worked as a journalist for Food Safety News, writing and publishing news articles on food safety issues for the online publication with worldwide distribution. Prior to that, Kelly received her law degree from the Vermont Law School, specializing in environmental law.  Kelly will lead CCOF’s policy staff and organize member engagement on issues related to the National Organic Program (NOP),...
Written by Zea Sonnabend on Friday, June 13, 2014 on advocacy, genetic engineering, NOP, NOSB, policy


In an environment where Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and their derivatives are widely distributed throughout the food chain, it is imperative that organic producers and handlers have strategies and plans to keep them out. A key tenet of "coexistence" is shared responsibility for the exclusion of the methods and products of genetic engineering. The organic part of this shared responsibility is extensive already, but specific new guidance from the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) adopted by the National Organic Program (NOP) would make these practices more transparent to others...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, June 2, 2014 on advocacy, genetic engineering, policy


The CCOF Board of Directors voted in mid-May to adopt a strong GMO policy shared by CCOF’s strategic partner, the Organic Trade Association. The policy calls for a moratorium on production of genetically modified crops until more research on their environmental and potential health issues has been conducted, and a meaningful regulatory framework is in place. The CCOF board also reiterated its support for mandatory GMO labeling. Earlier this year, CCOF wrote a letter to California Congresswoman Noreen Evans expressing support for her bill that would require labeling of GMOs in all foods...
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 Jessy Beckett on Thursday, August 8, 2013 on advocacy, food safety, policy

For those of you who haven’t yet had the chance to comment on the new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that is currently being developed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), you now have a little more time! Today, the FDA extended the public comment period from September 16 to a final deadline of November 15. The Food Safety Modernization Act is legislation passed in early 2011 in response to various food safety scares. It will affect both farming and processing operations in a variety of ways. For a detailed analysis of how the FSMA may apply to your business, please check out the...
Written by Brise Tencer on Thursday, June 20, 2013 on advocacy, farm bill, policy

As the farm bill process has twisted and turned, it’s been hard to predict what comes next.  Today, in a turn of events that surprised many, the House voted down the farm bill. The $940 billion bill was weak on organic and other sustainable agriculture priorities, but having no bill may be even worse. The USDA is currently acting under an extension of the 2008 Farm Bill, which expires in September. Under the extension, many programs important to CCOF members, such as the Organic Certification Cost Share program, are not available. The bill failed mostly due to a partisan rife over cuts to...

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