Blog posts by policy

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, September 21, 2015 on advocacy, policy

The Western Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education program (SARE) is seeking nominations or self-nominations for the following seats on its Administrative Council: Organic Farmer/Rancher Sustainable Farmer/Rancher Conventional Farmer/Rancher Tropical Farmer/Rancher NGO/Nonprofit Representative Nominations and self-nominations are being accepted until November 6, 2015. To apply, please contact Teryl Roper, Regional Coordinator at (435) 797-8698 or teryl.roper@usu.edu. SARE is a U.S. Department of Agriculture program that awards competitive grants conducted cooperatively by...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, September 14, 2015 on advocacy, materials and inputs, NOP, NOSB, policy

It’s that time of year again! Share your story and help shape the future of organic. NOSB Tentative Meeting Agenda Announced The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) recently announced the tentative agenda for the fall 2015 National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting to be held in Stowe, Vermont from October 26-29, 2015. Prior to the meeting, the USDA invites the public to comment on what should be included in and excluded from the organic standards. NOSB—a committee of certified organic farmers, processors, and other representatives—...
Written by Jane Sooby on Friday, September 4, 2015 on advocacy, drought, policy, water

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is updating the list of critically overdrafted basins in the state as part of its responsibilities under the new California groundwater management law, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014. The list of critically overdrafted basins and subbasins is open for comment through September 25, 2015. The draft list is online here, and the statewide map is posted here. Click on this link for more information and instructions on how to comment (scroll down to “Next Steps”). A basin is considered to be critically overdrafted if existing...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, August 31, 2015 on advocacy, food safety, policy, regulatory

Over the next few months, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will publish the final food safety requirements for produce farms and food processing facilities under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Many produce farmers and food processors that make food for people to eat will need to comply with the new food safety requirements.How did we get here? In 2011, President Obama signed FSMA in to law. FSMA represented the first overhaul to food safety practices in the United States since 1938.FSMA directed FDA to engage in public rulemaking to establish new food safety standards. In...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 31, 2015 on advocacy, financial assistance, policy

A new type of crop insurance, Whole-Farm Revenue Protection, may better serve highly diversified organic crop and livestock producers than traditional crop insurance policies. Rather than covering losses of a particular crop, Whole-Farm Revenue Protection covers all crops and livestock produced on a single farm. In response to suggestions made by CCOF’s partner organizations, the Organic Trade Association and its Farmers Advisory Council and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the Risk Management Agency (RMA) made a number of changes to the program since its initial release in...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 31, 2015 on policy, research

The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) announced that it will keep its National Survey of Organic Farmers open through September 14, 2015.Please take a few minutes to fill out the survey.The 34-question survey focuses on certified organic farmers’ research needs and also collects information on the organic community’s experience with GMO contamination, pesticide drift, and food safety issues.Widespread participation by organic farmers across the country will ensure that research needs of all types and scales of certified organic production are recorded. Survey results inform...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, August 31, 2015 on financial assistance, policy

CCOF encourages growers who implement conservation practices to contact their local U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The NRCS is undertaking a major “reboot” of the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) which will be implemented at the beginning of 2016. This “reboot” is an important opportunity for farmers to provide feedback to the NRCS. Specifically, CCOF is encouraging the NRCS to make the following improvements to CSP:NRCS should rank existing conservation practices the same as additional conservation practices. NRCS has consistently...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 24, 2015 on food safety, policy, research

A new study out of the University of California, Berkeley shows that removing vegetation adjacent to farms on California’s Central Coast has not reduced the incidence of E. coli found in fresh produce. Instead, the reverse is true: farms that retained nongrazed riparian or other natural vegetation types had significantly lower prevalence of generic E. coli in water and pathogenic E. coli in produce.These results contradict the conventional wisdom that developed in 2006 when spinach contaminated with pathogenic E. coli entered the stream of commerce and caused three deaths and 205 illnesses....
Written by zsonnabend on Monday, August 24, 2015 on advocacy, materials and inputs, NOSB, policy

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) approved removal of four materials from the National List, and the proposed rule that finalizes removal is now open for comment through August 31, 2015. Read the rule and submit a comment.Marsala wine and sherry wine were eligible for sunset removal and the NOSB voted these ingredients off the list at its fall 2014 meeting.Approval of the antibiotics streptomycin and tetracycline to control fire blight in organic apples and pears expired in October 2014, and the NOSB did not renew it. Growers who face increased disease pressure or economic losses...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, August 10, 2015 on financial assistance, policy

CCOF is continuing to search for feedback from farmers who have experience with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).If you have experience with CSP or are interested in the program, please take a few minutes to complete the following survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CSP_Survey_Feedback.This is a busy time of year, and we greatly appreciate any feedback. The results of this survey will help make CSP more accessible to farmers.What is the Conservation Stewardship Program? CSP is a national conservation program administered by the USDA’s...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 10, 2015 on policy, research

If you haven’t had the opportunity to weigh in on Organic Research Priorities using the Organic Farming Research Foundation's (OFRF) national survey, we highly recommend doing so. The confidential survey asks for data on farm size, production, and location; detailed information about organic farming challenges; and farmers’ most pressing information needs on topics such as pest control, soil health, water conservation strategies, pesticide drift, and GMO contamination of organic crops.In addition to the OFRF national survey, CCOF is conducting in-person focus groups with CCOF chapters across...
Written by Jane Sooby on Friday, July 17, 2015 on policy, research

Please take a few moments to respond to the Organic Farming Research Foundation’s (OFRF) National Survey of Organic Farmers. Widespread participation by organic farmers across the country will ensure that all types and scales of certified organic production are reflected in the survey’s results. Responses will be accepted through August 30.A link to the survey was distributed via email to every certified organic farmer in the United States with an email address, so follow the link you received or access the survey at http://opinion.wsu.edu/agresearch/.The 34-question survey focuses on...
Written by Guest Blogger on Friday, July 17, 2015 on financial assistance, policy

CCOF is seeking the feedback of farmers who have experience with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Whether you are currently enrolled in CSP, have enrolled in the past, attempted to apply, or are just thinking about signing up, we want your input! We are looking for information such as personal experience with the program, barriers you have encountered, criticisms or praises, and any other relevant information. Contact Eric Cissna at ecissna@ccof.org to share your experiences.What is the Conservation Stewardship Program? CSP is a national...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Friday, June 5, 2015 on marketing, policy, research

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) extended the deadline for the public to submit alternative or partial proposals on a new industry-funded organic promotion order until July 20, 2015.The USDA will consider the submitted proposals prior to publishing a proposed Organic, Promotion, Research, and Information Order that would create an industry-funded promotion and research program for organic products under the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996.Where to Submit ProposalsInterested parties should submit their proposals to Organic Promotion, Research, and...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Friday, June 5, 2015 on livestock, policy, regulatory, standards

Submit your comments today on the National Organic Program’s (NOP) proposed rule on Origin of Livestock.About the Origin of Livestock Proposed RuleAfter years of anticipation, the NOP recently published a proposed rule that updates and clarifies organic requirements related to the transition of nonorganic dairy animals to organic production. The proposed rule states that milk or milk products labeled or sold as organic must come from dairy animals that have been managed organically since the last third of gestation, but that the NOP will make a one-time allowance for a producer to transition...

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