Blog posts by policy

Written by Rachel Witte on Monday, February 22, 2016 on advocacy, biodiversity, NOP, policy

On January 15 of this year, the National Organic Program (NOP) announced the final guidance on Natural Resources and Biodiversity Conservation for Certified Organic Operations. The guidance addresses one of the core principles of organic production: conserving natural resources and biodiversity. The USDA organic regulations require certified producers to maintain or improve natural resources on their farms. This guidance provides certifiers and certified producers with examples of production practices that support conservation principles and also comply with the NOP regulations. It also...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, February 8, 2016 on advocacy, food safety, policy

Wild Farm Alliance recently announced the release of the publication Co-Managing Farm Stewardship with Food Safety GAPs and Conservation Practices: A Grower's and Conservationist’s Handbook. The publication provides a resource for organic produce growers taking steps to address food safety on their farms, while continuing to conserve biodiversity and natural resources. FDA Food Safety Regulations Encourage On-Farm Conservation In November 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published the final Produce Rule of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). In the preamble of that FSMA...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, February 8, 2016 on advocacy, general organic, policy

The U.S. Department of Agriculture sent the 2015 Certified Organic Survey to all known organic farms in the United States earlier this year. This survey requests information on acreage, production, and sales for a variety of certified organic crop and livestock commodities. Of the many surveys organic farmers receive, this survey stands out in importance because the data collected will help determine the value for covered crop losses under federal crop insurance policies. Historically, crop insurance has only reimbursed organic producers for the value of their crops in conventional markets....
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, February 1, 2016 on policy, regulatory

The California Food Policy Council (CAFPC) published the 2015 Report on Legislation Related to and Food and Farming. The document reports on California bills related to CAFPC’s guiding principles and critiques the 2015 California legislative session. The document also presents legislator voting records to identify California policymakers who champion food issues, and offers a Food Policy Index to provide context-setting data points. As part of the CAFPC policy workgroup, CCOF participated in identifying bills to be tracked and analyzed for the report. CCOF strongly values the CAFPC...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, January 11, 2016 on advocacy, events, fees, policy, State Organic Program

Join CCOF at EcoFarm as we kick off our campaign to pass the Organic Farming Act—an act to end outdated State Organic Program fees and paperwork! California Central Coast Assemblymember Mark Stone will introduce the Organic Farming Act to update California’s state organic law. The Organic Farming Act will end unfair, duplicative, and outdated fees and paperwork while also creating a new framework for the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to support organic agriculture. To pass the Organic Farming Act, we need your help at two critical EcoFarm events. Attend the California...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, January 4, 2016 on advocacy, NOSB, policy


The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is a citizen advisory board that offers input to the National Organic Program on allowed materials and practices in certified organic production. Appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, the NOSB meets twice a year to review organic materials and policies. Secretary Tom Vilsack recently appointed six new members to the NOSB who will begin serving their terms in 2016. The new NOSB members are: Jesse Buie (pictured), organic producer representative, a CCOF-certified farmer in Mississippi with a distinguished background in health care...
Written by zsonnabend on Monday, December 7, 2015 on advocacy, policy, research, seeds

It is a challenge for organic growers in California to find seed varieties that perform well in organic conditions, due to the fact that most plant breeding has been done for conventional production. This need for organic-specific vegetable varieties is being addressed by a new organic plant breeding project at the University of California, Davis, funded by a federal Organic Research and Extension Initiative grant. The project will focus on developing organic tomato, bean, and pepper varieties. Cultivars will be developed on CCOF-certified organic land at UC Davis’s student farm. The plan is...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, November 30, 2015 on advocacy, policy, regulatory, State Organic Program

Since the implementation of the national organic standards in 2002, CCOF members have expressed concerns that the California State Organic Program (SOP) duplicates the fee and reporting requirements of the USDA National Organic Program (NOP). In response to these concerns, CCOF wrote a comprehensive report in 2015 titled Review of the California State Organic Program. About the Report CCOF wrote the Review of the California State Organic Program in collaboration with an advisory committee to ensure input from a range of stakeholders, including organic producers, policy experts, and public...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, November 23, 2015 on grower, pests and pesticides, policy

CCOF, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and University of California Cooperative Extension are hosting a meeting on the invasive stinkbug Bagrada bug on Friday, December 11 at the Cooperative Extension office in Salinas from 9:30 a.m – 3 p.m. Click here to register for the meeting. The meeting is free of charge and will include lunch for onsite participants courtesy of CCOF and the University of California Cooperative Extension Entomology Program. The meeting will also be broadcast as a webinar, allowing remote participants the ability to hear all presentations and interact...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, November 23, 2015 on advocacy, food safety, policy, regulatory

On Friday, November 13, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration published the final Produce Safety Rule of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The Produce Safety Rule establishes food safety standards for produce farms in the United States. Will the Produce Safety Rule impact my operation? The Produce Safety Rule includes requirements that address water quality, employee health and hygiene, wild and domesticated animals, manure and compost application, equipment, and buildings. For a run-down on the Produce Safety Rule and organic operations, see the Organic Trade Association’s response...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, November 9, 2015 on grower, pests and pesticides, policy

CCOF is collaborating with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), scientists from numerous agencies, and Cooperative Extension on a Bagrada Bug Working Group. The working group brings together scientists and extension personnel from across the country who are working to develop organic management and biological control of Bagrada bug. What is Bagrada bug? The Bagrada bug is a member of the stinkbug family that has wreaked havoc in mustard-family crops over the past six years. A native of Africa, it has no natural enemies in the U.S. and has spread from southern California...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, October 19, 2015 on advocacy, materials and inputs, NOP, NOSB, policy

The fall 2015 National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting will be held October 26-29 in Stowe, Vermont. This biannual meeting impacts what materials producers can use in organic production. After reviewing public comment and hearing testimony at the meeting, NOSB will make recommendations on standards and materials to the National Organic Program (NOP). NOSB will review a diverse set of materials at the meeting, which include humic acids used in crop production, parasiticides used in livestock production, and colors used by processors. Phil LaRocca, chairman of the CCOF Board of Directors...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, October 5, 2015 on advocacy, policy

In July, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would stop all state and local regulation of foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs), including GMO labeling requirements. The vote was 275 in favor and 150 opposed. The bill, dubbed the “Deny Americans the Right to Know” or DARK Act, was widely seen as an effort to undermine state-level labeling of GMO foods. CCOF wrote letters to representatives who voted on both sides of the issue, praising those who voted against it and expressing disappointment toward those who supported it. At this time, there is no...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, September 28, 2015 on advocacy, materials and inputs, NOP, NOSB, policy

Don’t miss out! Submit your feedback to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) before the October 8th deadline. The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB)* will meet October 26-29 in Stowe, Vermont, to review organic materials and standards. The long list of materials up for review by NOSB during this meeting includes humic acids, parasiticides, and colors used in processing. Your operation may be affected! To advocate on your behalf, CCOF will submit comments on materials and standards. . . . . . but NOSB needs to hear from you, too! Advocate for and protect the integrity of organic...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, September 21, 2015 on advocacy, financial assistance, policy

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) continues to refine crop insurance options for organic growers. The latest change is that more crops are eligible for coverage at the organic or contracted price instead of at the conventional price. For crop year 2016, RMA has added barley, cabbage, cranberries, cultivated wild rice, dry peas, forages (including alfalfa in some states), grass seed, onions, potatoes, processing clingstone peaches, rye, sugarcane, safflower, and wheat to the list of crops that can be insured for their organic price. Now, a total of 47 crops are...

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