Blog posts by advocacy

Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, June 3, 2019 on advocacy, CCOF Foundation, education, food safety, regulatory

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) started its Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) inspections of produce farms this spring. Produce farms with more than $500,000 in average annual sales may be contacted by CDFA in 2019 for an inspection to verify the farm’s compliance with the FSMA Produce Safety Rule. What to Expect During an InspectionTo help orient growers to the FSMA inspection process, CDFA recently published information on what to expect during an inspection. The CDFA Produce Safety Program inspection procedures webpage includes information on the inspection...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, June 3, 2019 on advocacy, general organic, policy

Two CCOF-supported bills to streamline industrial hemp regulations in California have cleared their house of origin. Senator Scott Wilk’s (R-Santa Clarita) Senate Bill (SB) 153 received no opposition votes through the Senate and was voted into the Assembly. Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry’s (D-Winters) Assembly Bill (AB) 228 also did not receive opposition votes through the Assembly and was voted to the Senate. Both bills will now move through the senate and assembly before being sent to the governor’s desk for signature into law. SB 153 revises provisions regulating industrial hemp...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, June 3, 2019 on advocacy, biodiversity, funding, general organic

National Program The USDA is accepting applications for up to $12.5 million in grant funding for the adoption of innovative conservation projects on agricultural lands. The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) administers the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program, which funds projects in areas including soil health, irrigation efficiency, wildlife and pollinator habitat, water and air quality, greenhouse gas markets, on-farm energy use, and conservation finance.  NRCS will accept applications through July 29, 2019, for up to $2 million in funding per project. Applicants must...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 on advocacy, NOSB, policy

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will meet for its Fall 2019 meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on October 23-25. The meeting will include updates from various subcommittees, votes to retain or remove substances from the National List of Allowed & Prohibited Substances (National List), and votes on other proposals.  NOSB encourages public comments on proposals that will be discussed and voted on during the meeting. The deadline to submit written comments or requests for oral comment speaking slots is October 3. Opportunities for oral comments will be available via webinar on...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, May 20, 2019 on advocacy, biodiversity, general organic

Clean, transparent, fresh, sustainable. Environmentally friendly, animal humane, high quality, social activism. Those traits are all identified with organic, and in 2018 they all helped push organic sales to unprecedented levels. The U.S. organic market in 2018 broke through the $50 billion mark for the first time, with sales hitting a record $52.5 billion, up 6.3 percent from the previous year, according to the 2019 Organic Industry Survey released Friday by the Organic Trade Association. New records were made in both the organic food market and the organic non-food market. Organic food...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, May 20, 2019 on advocacy, education, general organic, pests and pesticides


strawberries

Joji Muramoto, a longtime research associate with University of California Santa Cruz, has been hired as the first University of California Cooperative Extension Specialist dedicated to organic agriculture. Muramoto will coordinate a statewide program focusing research on organic fruit and vegetable production. He will provide educational resources to producers on topics such as organic pest management and soil fertility. Cooperative Extension serves as a vital link between the University of California and the agricultural sector. Extension Specialists conduct research that addresses on-farm...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, May 20, 2019 on advocacy, CCOF, education, NOP

Last week the National Organic Program (NOP) launched the Organic Integrity Learning Center, an online platform that will provide free organic education geared towards certifiers, inspectors, reviewers, and compliance specialists. CCOF-produced videos were featured in a lesson titled “Sound and Sensible Organic Certification.” These videos were produced with a grant from USDA’s Sound and Sensible initiative to ease the process of transition and certification for producers. CCOF is proud to contribute content that highlights CCOF members and their practices in the new Learning Center.  The...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, May 20, 2019 on advocacy, general organic, policy

Organic producers can benefit from several crop insurance policies developed by USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) and purchased from local farm insurance agents. Crop insurance programs have become better suited to the needs of organic producers in recent years, with policies that allow producers to structure their policies based on their farms’ unique conditions. Organic Premium Price Elections now allow organic producers to hold crop insurance based on the price premium they would see in the market rather than the conventional commodity price. The number of crops with Organic Price Premiums...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, May 13, 2019 on advocacy, general organic, policy, research


cattle

On January 1, 2019, Senate Bill 965 created the California Cattle Council. The new council will be a representative organization comprised of members of the cattle and dairy industries. It will work on projects such as research, promotion, cooperation with agencies and industry groups, and the development of best management practices. Potential research projects relevant to organic producers include the improvement of efficiency and sustainability of the industry, regulatory compliance, and market research concerning public consumption patterns and trends.  As the organic markets for dairy...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, May 6, 2019 on advocacy, farm bill, funding, policy

The next deadline for Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) applications to be considered for funding this year is May 10, 2019. The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized this critical conservation program, though existing provisions from the 2014 Farm Bill will continue to apply for this fiscal year. “CSP helps agricultural producers in California take their conservation activities on their farm or ranch to the next level of conservation stewardship,” said NRCS California State Conservationist Carlos Suarez. While applications are accepted throughout the year, interested producers should act quickly...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, May 6, 2019 on advocacy, events, general organic, policy

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) will hold its annual Organic Week Event during the week of May 20, 2019. Each year, small- and large-scale growers, companies, researchers, and policy advocates convene in Washington for a week of organic networking, policy advocacy, and education.   Organic Week is comprised of three events: Member Day, Advocacy Day, and Conference Day. At last year’s Organic Week, CCOF members Javier Zamora of JSM Organics and Darrell Wood of Leavitt Lake Ranches spoke on panels. During Advocacy Day, CCOF members and staff joined in meetings with congressional...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, May 6, 2019 on advocacy, employment, general organic, survey


farmworkers

Despite taking a variety of steps to alleviate chronic shortages of agricultural employees, California farmers and ranchers continue to report problems in hiring enough people for on-farm jobs. A survey released today shows 56 percent of participating farmers had been unable to hire all the employees they needed at some point during the previous five years. The voluntary survey of 1,071 farmers and ranchers, conducted by the California Farm Bureau Federation in collaboration with the University of California, Davis, also indicated worsening problems in the past two years. Of those farmers...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, April 29, 2019 on advocacy, farm bill, general organic, policy

USDA issued an update on its progress in implementing provisions of the new farm bill, which was signed into law December 2018. Here are some highlights: TITLE I – Commodity ProgramsMargin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy): On March 22, 2019, Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that dairy producers who elected to participate in the Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy Cattle Program in 2018 can now retroactively participate in the MPP-Dairy for 2018. Contact your local FSA office for more information.Dairy Margin Coverage Program: On March 28, 2019, the National Agricultural Statistics...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, April 29, 2019 on advocacy, general organic, policy

The California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC) will assemble for a public meeting on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the California Department of Food and Agriculture building in Sacramento.  COPAC advises the California secretary of food and agriculture on education, outreach, and technical assistance for organic producers in the state. The committee is comprised of 15 primary members plus alternates for each seat.  Topics that will be considered during the meeting include:Update on the GMO test pilot programGlyphosate subcommittee updateProcessor subcommittee...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, April 22, 2019 on advocacy, biodiversity, funding, general organic, research

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California is now accepting proposals for its Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program. Up to $500,000 is available for one- to three-year grants. The maximum award amount for any project will not exceed $75,000 in fiscal year 2019. Proposals are due by June 10, 2019.  CIG is a voluntary program to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies in conjunction with agricultural production. The proposed projects should augment existing NRCS technical tools (planning, assessment, and/or...

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