CCOF led the charge to create an Organic Transition Program in California. And on June 30, the governor signed into law the 2022–2023 state budget that includes $5 million for grants, technical assistance, education, and outreach to support farmers and ranchers to transition to organic. The program also sets aside funds for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
This win builds on CCOF’s bill, AB 2499, that outlines the structure of an Organic Transition Program, including what practices should be eligible for grant funding and how mentorship of transitioning producers by seasoned organic growers is a key component of technical assistance. Our bill passed the Assembly on May 25 and is now headed to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
As CCOF advocates for more resources to support organic transition, we are also bolstering the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources’ Organic Agriculture Institute (OAI). We understand organic research and technical assistance are critical to the success of all organic producers. CCOF worked closely with the California Organic Products Advisory Committee and the California Department of Food and Agriculture to secure $850,000 to support organic research and technical assistance at OAI. CCOF is also excited to see that the department has allocated an additional $1 million to OAI.
With these funds, OAI will support the organic sector by
- researching organic systems,
- providing extension, training, and education on organic production for growers throughout California,
- providing technical assistance on transitioning to organic,
- summarizing organic acreage and practices in California, and
- conducting economic analyses of organic production and markets.
CCOF is grateful to the governor, Secretary of Food and Agriculture Karen Ross, and legislative leaders for this unprecedented support of organic agriculture. Please join us in expressing our appreciation by signing on to our thank you letter.