Blog posts by general organic

Written by Peter Nell on Monday, May 6, 2019 on general organic, policy

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has announced open registration for industrial hemp cultivation within the state. Industrial hemp cultivators must submit an application to their county agricultural commissioner to receive approval to grow industrial hemp. Cultivators must submit the application form with an annual registration fee of $900 for each county they intend to cultivate industrial hemp in.  Current California law requires registrants to obtain a laboratory test report indicating the THC content of their industrial hemp prior to harvest. CDFA is currently...
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 Guest Blogger on Monday, April 29, 2019 on CCOF, general organic, policy


2019 Investing in Integrity Award

Deputy Administrator Jennifer Tucker (center) with 2019 Investing in INTEGRITY award winners at the National Organic Standards Board meeting in Seattle, Washington. Pictured left to right: Jodi Snyder and Becky Scheifele of Global Organic Alliance, Sam Welsch of One Cert, and Phil LaRocca, Mary Chramiec, and Peter Nell of CCOF. NOP Names Eight 2019 Investing in INTEGRITY AwardeesThe USDA National Organic Program (NOP) honored eight USDA-accredited organic certifiers with a 2019 Investing in INTEGRITY award. Federally accredited certifiers are third-party organizations that certify and help...
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 29, 2019 on events, general organic

The 2019 Automated Weeder and Thinner Demonstration and Field day will take place on Tuesday, May 21, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon at the USDA Spence Research Field Station at 1572 Old Stage Road in Salinas.  Automated technologies are helping fill the gap in the supply of labor that is occurring in the farming community. At this field day, weeders and automated lettuce thinners developed by a number of companies will be demonstrated on lettuce plantings. Both driven and autonomous machines that use a variety of different mechanisms to remove unwanted plants will be available for viewing....
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...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, April 22, 2019 on advocacy, general organic, NOSB, policy

The deadline for nominations to fill upcoming vacancies on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is quickly approaching! USDA is seeking:– An environmental protection and resource conservation expert– An organic farmer representative– An organic retailer– Two organic handlers  Nominations must be submitted by May 17, 2019 and include a resume and an AD-755 Application form, and must be postmarked on or before May 17, 2019. Nominees must meet the criteria of NOSB membership. Members of NOSB participate in committee meetings, bi-monthly subcommittee conference calls, review materials and/...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, April 22, 2019 on advocacy, general organic, policy

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is now accepting comments on the GRO Organic initiative. Generate Results and Opportunity for Organic (GRO Organic) is a private-sector initiative for a voluntary industry-invested organic research, promotion, and education check-off like program. It will be collaboratively designed and implemented by organic stakeholders.  Comments on the initiative can be submitted through April 30, 2019 to GROideas@ota.com. Anonymous responses will not be accepted. Submissions must include name, location, and business affiliations so that the GRO Organic Steering...
Written by Jessy Beckett Parr on Monday, April 8, 2019 on food safety, general organic, grower


foodsafety

CCOF received a NIFA Food Safety Outreach grant in 2017 to provide Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) required Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) compliant trainings and technical assistance for small scale, organic, and Spanish speaking farmers in California. In collaboration with partner organizations Agriculture & Land-Based Training Association (ALBA) and the California Center for Cooperative Development, CCOF conducted eight trainings and two webinars between January 2018 and January 2019. Project Results192 attendees received FSMA PSA training throughout California from 2017-2019.51...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, April 8, 2019 on employment, general organic, policy


checklist

Are you a farmer who needs seasonal or temporary workers for planting, cultivating, or harvesting crops? The H-2A temporary agricultural workers program–often called the H-2A Visa Program–helps American farmers who anticipate a lack of available domestic workers fill employment gaps by hiring workers from other countries. With the new Checklist Tool, participating in the Program is now easier than ever. H-2A Visa Checklist ToolThe interactive H-2A Visa Checklist Tool is the latest addition to the farmers.gov website. While interest in the H-2A Visa Program grows each year, farmers often find...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 25, 2019 on food safety, general organic


FSMA

Food safety inspections on produce farms are beginning this month, but there are still questions as to what the first round of Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule inspections will look like. The fact that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be regulating farms for the first time is concerning for many produce farmers who have never interacted with FDA before on a regular basis. Adding to the anxiety for some producers, is the fact that this will be the first time in history that they will have to deal with regular inspections on their farm.  In order to help...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 25, 2019 on advocacy, CCOF Foundation, financial assistance, general organic


flood

Late winter storms immediately followed by warm spring weather has caused record flooding in much of the Midwest, including Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Kansas, South Dakota, and Minnesota. The consequences have been catastrophic for family farmers and ranchers in the region; just in Nebraska, the cost to agriculture is estimated at $1 billion. These expenses are due in large part to crop loss, livestock deaths, and building damage. But even farmers who have been able to salvage their products face significant barriers to storing or selling them because entire portions of critical...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, March 25, 2019 on advocacy, general organic

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is accepting nominations for its annual Organic Leadership Awards. Nominations are due by April 30, 2019, for the prestigious Organic Farmer of the Year, Rising Star, and the Growing the Organic Community awards. The honorees will be celebrated at OTA’s Leadership Awards Celebration on September 11, 2019, to kick off Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore, Maryland.  Last year, CCOF members Stephanie and Blake Alexandre of Alexandre Family Farms were honored with the Organic Farmer of the Year Award. The Alexandres were recognized for their exemplary...

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