Blog posts by Brise Tencer

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 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 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 Brise Tencer on Friday, February 7, 2014 on advocacy, drought, farm bill, funding

Farm Bill Features Wins for Organic Farmers Today, President Obama signed a farm bill into law that includes funding for critical programs that support the growth of the organic sector. Among the wins for organic was the National Organic Certification Cost Share program, a main focus of CCOF’s policy work last year through visits to Congress members and dozens of emails and calls by CCOF members.  The National Organic Certification Cost Share program helps farmers and processors afford the expense of organic certification by reimbursing them for up to 75 percent of their certification costs,...
Written by Brise Tencer on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 on advocacy, drought, funding

We were thrilled this morning to learn that the USDA is making $20 million available in assistance to California producers affected by drought. I was on a conference call this morning with USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack as he made this announcement. He was joined by Representative Jim Costa and CDFA Secretary Karen Ross, who spoke about the implications of the drought and their commitment to helping farmers. The funds will be available for both crop and grazing land, and will focus on conservation practices that conserve and protect water. Funds are available to install a number of conservation...
Written by Brise Tencer on Friday, October 11, 2013 on NOSB, standards

As a result of the government shutdown, the National Organic Standards Board meeting scheduled for October 22-24 has been cancelled. Stay tuned for further information. It is unclear if the fall meeting will be rescheduled or agenda items will be postponed until the next regularly scheduled NOSB meeting, which will be held in San Antonio, Texas, April 29-May 1, 2014.
Written by Brise Tencer on Monday, September 30, 2013 on advocacy, farm bill, funding

Much to the dismay of sustainable agriculture advocates across the nation, the farm bill expires today. For those outside of the agricultural sector, this may have been overshadowed by the budget debate and the looming threat of a government shutdown.  However, for farmers across the country, this unusual farm bill impasse, caused primarily by partisan fighting over efforts to cut the SNAP program (formerly known as food stamps benefits), brings uncertainty that threatens their business. Last year’s attempt to pass a farm bill resulted in a nine-month extension of 2008 Farm Bill programs, but...
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...
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 Brise Tencer on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 on grower, inputs, materials, pests and pesticides, regulatory, State Organic Program

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 principles...
Written by Brise Tencer on Monday, January 14, 2013 on advocacy, farm bill, funding, policy

In the last days of December and the beginning of January, Congress and the White House passed legislation to avoid the “fiscal cliff.” They attached language to the legislation that extends provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill for nine months, giving themselves until September 2013 to write a new farm bill. Unfortunately for farmers across the nation, this farm bill does not actually extend all programs and leaves many growers high and dry. Organic farmers were hit particularly hard by this move as no funding was provided for the Organic Data Initiative (which provides for price reporting and...
Written by Brise Tencer on Tuesday, January 8, 2013 on advocacy, food safety, policy, standards

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released two proposed rules for implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law on January 4, 2011. One of the rules is about produce safety and other is about processing. Both rules have 120-day comment periods. Additional rules related to implementation of FSMA are expected. The proposed Produce Safety Rule would establish standards for growing, harvesting, packing, and holding produce on domestic and foreign farms in light of identified routes of microbial contamination of produce, including agricultural water;...