Blog posts by policy

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, November 20, 2017 on CCOF, marketing, policy

The feature article for the fall edition of CCOF’s Certified Organic magazine is now available online for ready reference, to download, and to print on demand. The article provides an overview of what’s in the farm bill, describes the political dynamics around the farm bill, and presents organic farm bill priorities.    Please read it and share widely!
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, November 20, 2017 on events, policy


Last week, CCOF hosted a farm tour for the California State Legislature to highlight the challenges and opportunities for organic agriculture. Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-CA-04) and legislative staff joined Paul Underhill at Terra Firma Farm and Thaddeus Barsotti at Capay Organic Farm. While the tour highlighted the multiple environmental and economic benefits of organic agriculture, it also clearly demonstrated the immense regulatory pressures organic farmers are struggling with today.    Underhill began the tour of Terra Firma Farm by broadly introducing organic and showing real-...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, November 13, 2017 on advocacy, policy, research

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) held a listening session in Sacramento on November 2 to gather input on research priorities. CCOF’s senior policy specialist Jane Sooby commented on the need to integrate organic topics into NIFA’s research portfolio, pointing out that the unique nature of organic farming warrants in-depth study.   NIFA is an agency within the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture which funds food and agricultural research through a range of grants programs. The two federal programs dedicated to organic research, the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, November 13, 2017 on advocacy, policy

On November 9, the USDA announced it would once again delay implementation the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule (OLPP).    This was a disappointing announcement for the organic community, which has asked for a long time that the USDA implement the OLPP which would clarify and strengthen organic standards for animal welfare. It was developed with over 14 years of public input and is supported by the vast majority of organic stakeholders as demonstrated by the over 40,000 public comments in support of the OLPP. Despite overwhelming support for the rule, the USDA did not implement...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, October 23, 2017 on advocacy, events, policy

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), in collaboration with California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and other state entities, are hosting a Public Forum on Managed Groundwater Recharge to Support Sustainable Water Management. This all-day event will be held at the Sacramento Convention Center on November 8, 2017, and will bring together a variety of speakers to address recharge opportunities and issues.   Get more information and register.     Groundwater recharge is an important topic for California as the state continues to recover from an historic drought that...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, September 25, 2017 on advocacy, NOSB, policy

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will host their second yearly meeting in Jacksonville, Florida October 31 through November 2, 2017.    Organic stakeholders can now register to speak at a pre-meeting webinar and at the meeting in Jacksonville.    The NOSB will host an online webinar on October 24, 2017 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Those interested in the webinar must register before October 11, 2017. If all speaking slots are taken, NOSB will host an additional webinar on October 26, 2017 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Commenters are allotted a three-minute comment...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, September 11, 2017 on advocacy, policy, regulatory

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will vote on the re-listing or removal of 43 substances on the National List of Allowed & Prohibited Substances (National List) at their meeting in Jacksonville, Florida on October 31 – November 2, 2017.    Members of the public are encouraged to submit public comments via https://www.regulations.gov/ using docket number AMS-NOP-17-0024-0001 until October 11, 2017. Additionally, oral comments will be accepted in-person and through a pre-meeting webinar.   NOSB reviews all substances on the National List every five years to determine their status...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, August 28, 2017 on advocacy, farm bill, policy

The state of California shared their 2018 Farm Bill recommendations with congressional leaders in the House of Representatives and the Senate. The letter was signed by the heads of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA), the California Natural Resource Agency, and the California Health and Human Services Agency.    California’s recommendations cover funding food and nutrition programs, protecting and enhancing conservation programs, safeguarding marketing and trade programs, strengthening animal and plant health...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 21, 2017 on advocacy, policy, regulatory

California’s new cannabis regulations are being crafted by numerous state agencies. The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) has issued two documents for review, the Cannabis Cultivation Policy and the General Order. Comments on each document are due Sept. 6, 2017, by noon Pacific time.   The Water Board has also posted a Staff Report that provides the rationale for the draft policies. The Water Board will also accept public comments on this report.   The State Water Board is scheduled to hold two public hearings on October 17, 2017, in Sacramento, to receive oral comments...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 21, 2017 on advocacy, general organic, policy

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee is now accepting nominations to fill 10 seats. The Committee advises the Secretary of Agriculture on programs and services that USDA provides to the produce sector.   The Committee has a total of 25 members who represent the fruit and vegetable industry in the following capacities: Growers/Producers Wholesalers/ Distributors Importers/Exporters Processors Farmers Market Managers Food Hubs Association leaders Retail/Restaurant Food Service suppliers State departments of agriculture   USDA seeks to...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 14, 2017 on advocacy, farm bill, general organic, policy, regulatory


Photo, left to right: Grant Brians, CCOF Board of Directors member; Laura Batcha, OTA; Melody Meyer, UNFI; Sam Farr, retired Congressman; Karen Ross, California Secretary of Agriculture; Mark Lipson, organic farmer & OFRF senior policy and program specialist. CCOF-certified farmers and CCOF staff presented testimony at two farm bill listening sessions convened in California last week.   A listening session in Modesto on August 5 attracted an audience of over 250 to present their farm bill priorities to members of the House Agriculture Committee Michael Conaway (R-Texas...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, August 7, 2017 on advocacy, NOP, policy, regulatory

The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s State Organic Program (SOP) is accepting public comments on a recent proposal to expand crop reporting requirements. Comments must be submitted no later than September 11, 2017.    Background   The SOP is a state-administered enforcement arm of the National Organic Program (NOP). It investigates complaints of fraud and monitors the organic marketplace to ensure a level playing field for certified organic operations. To assist in its duties, the SOP requires all organic producers to annually register with the state.   The proposed rule would...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, August 7, 2017 on advocacy, policy, regulatory

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will meet via web conference on August 14, 2017 at 1:00–3:00 p.m. to discuss hydroponics in organic food production.    Access the web conference at https://cc.readytalk.com/r/3itgag2r7btt&eom.   CCOF highly encourages stakeholders and those interested to listen into the web conference.   NOSB is a federal advisory committee composed of 15 volunteers representing farmers; handlers; environmental protection and resource conservation; public interest and consumer groups; toxicology, ecology, or biochemistry; retailers; and organic certifying...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, August 7, 2017 on advocacy, farm bill, general organic, policy, regulatory

When Congress takes its August recess and Members go home to their districts, it’s a great time to meet with them directly. This year, it’s an especially good time for farmers to express their thoughts directly on the farm bill coming for renewal in 2018. This week I had the pleasure of sitting in with organic growers from Butte County, California when they met with their Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Oroville).   Hosting the meeting were members of Lundberg Family Farms, organic rice producers and processors.  Other growers joining the meeting were Phil LaRocca of LaRocca Vineyards and CCOF...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, August 7, 2017 on advocacy, farm bill, policy

On Thursday, August 10, 2017, Congressman Jimmy Panetta and Congressman Jim Costa will host a roundtable discussion with Ranking Member Collin Peterson of the U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Committee.   The roundtable will be held from 9:30am to 11:00 a.m. at:   Hartnell Community College – Steinbeck Hall 411 Central Ave.  Salinas, CA 93901   CCOF highly encourages members to attend the meeting and advocate on behalf of the organic community. The roundtable is a rare opportunity for stakeholders to speak to three congressmen on the important House Agriculture Committee as they work...

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