From Field to Forum

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...
Written by Jon Knapp on Monday, February 10, 2014 on member news

CCOF-Certified for More than 30 Years, and Still Growing CCOF has been around for a while now - we turn 41 this year - and some certified members have been with us the whole time! We’re proud to be leading the organic movement alongside such accomplished organic pioneers and producers. The commitment to organic is not to be taken lightly. Organic producers work to grow and make foods that are good for the environment and good for the body. Together, we are working to prevent the spread of GMOs, protect biodiversity and natural resources, minimize the use of synthetic pesticides and...
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 Gamai Gregory on Friday, January 10, 2014 on export, international, Japan

U.S.–Japan Equivalency Agreement Effective January 1, 2014 The U.S.–Japan Equivalency Agreement is now effective! Organic product certified in either the United States or Japan may now be sold as organic in either market. See the USDA Organic Insider announcement for more details about the agreement, partnership resources, a Q&A, and other resources for exporting and importing. With the equivalency agreement, restrictions on humic acid and lignin sulfonate no longer apply for products shipped to Japan, and CCOF no longer asks for documentation regarding the use of these materials. CCOF...
Written by Jake Lewin on Friday, January 3, 2014 on certification process, farming: materials and inputs, food safety, inputs, materials, materials and inputs, MyCCOF, services

Our efforts to reduce paperwork, simplify certification, and provide benefits to our members continue in 2014! We are pleased to present three important new tools built to meet your needs: our new online Materials Search, expansion of MyCCOF: Supplier Management, and field-level food safety certification. MyCCOF: Materials Search – Viva La Revolution! The CCOF materials revolution continues in January 2014 with a bold new offering free for all CCOF certified members. After changing how materials are managed and providing better, faster reviews, we have taken the next step. All CCOF internally...
Written by Cathy Calfo on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 on foundation, funding

So do we. That’s why we are investing in the CCOF Foundation and asking you to join us by making your own tax-deductible contribution before the end of this year. Between 2005 and 2009, the CCOF Foundation led the Going Organic project to provide information about organic certification and production to hundreds of agricultural professionals and helped 40 farmers to convert more than 4,000 acres to organic production. Going Organic also supported the introduction of the USDA organic seal by promoting its acceptance. Organic seems to be everywhere from the local farmers' market and farm stand...
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 Monday, November 11, 2013 on help and tips

This post was written by Ann Baier, Organic/Sustainable Agriculture Specialist, NCAT. We are here, we are here! Remember that line in Dr. Seuss’ book, Horton Hears a Who? Well, the ATTRA Project of NCAT is here! Long-time allies with CCOF in our mission to foster organic, ecological, sustainable, and successful farmers, a link to ATTRA’s “Ask an Expert” program has been added to the “revolving carousel” of CCOF's homepage. Some of you might say, “We love ATTRA! Our farming business is alive and well because of the information we got from ATTRA.” Others may ask, “What is ATTRA?” ATTRA is 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 Guest Blogger on Thursday, October 24, 2013 on advocacy, seeds, standards

This post was written by Kristina Hubbard, director of advocacy and communications for Organic Seed Alliance. She recently published an article in Agriculture and Human Values entitled, "Confronting coexistence in the United States: organic agriculture, genetic engineering, and the case of Roundup Read alfalfa." For another opinion on organic seed issues, visit UNFI VP of Policy and Industry Relations Melody Meyer's blog, Organic Matters. Seed has been in the national headlines a lot these days. We’ve read about chefs teaming up with plant breeders to explore seed as a new frontier, and been...
Written by Cathy Calfo on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 on funding

Since 2007, CCOF has allocated funds to partially offset certification costs for clients who have experienced extreme hardships. Such funding has been primarily used for supporting clients that have experienced drought, invasive pest losses or quarantines, or other natural disasters. In 2013, the program was renamed to honor Barney Bricmont, one of our founding members. We are pleased to announce $10,000 available in Hardship Assistance Program funds for 2013. Please submit this simple one-page request to apply for relief funding. Funding is limited and will be awarded based on need and the...

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