Blog posts by Guest Blogger

CCOF staff are working remotely and the CCOF office in Santa Cruz, California is temporarily closed to the public to help keep our staff and community safe from COVID-19. Response times may be slower than usual. We are still accepting new applications. Learn more.
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Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 30, 2020 on crisis resilience, funding, general organic

Note: This post was written on March 26, 2020. On March 27, 2020, the House of Representatives passed the bill and it was signed into law by the President. As farmers and communities all across the country continue to deal with the impacts of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Congress has been working around the clock to pass another round of emergency aid, this time targeted at small businesses and those who have lost income as a result of the crisis (including farmers), as well as boosting our medical capacity to respond.  Just before midnight on Wednesday, the Senate unanimously passed (96...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 30, 2020 on advocacy, financial assistance, funding, general organic, producer

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) provides grants, capped at $100,000, for over 25 practices that boost soil health. Eligible practices include cover crops, compost application, prescribed grazing, planting of hedgerows, mulch, reduced tillage, and more. For the full list of eligible practices, see the CDFA Request for Grant Applications.  The Healthy Soils Program has been streamlined and it’s now easier and less time-consuming to apply. There is a record amount of funding this year—a total of more than $25 million— and we expect a drop in funding next year so it’s a...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 23, 2020 on CCOF, crisis resilience, general organic

California officials issued guidance regarding retail food, beverage, and other service venues. These venues bring people from multiple communities into close contact with each other and have the potential to increase the transmission of COVID-19. “These are aggressive, but necessary actions to protect our communities,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “We all have a role to play when it comes to preventing the spread of COVID-19. These establishments that are remaining open should think creatively about how they can continue to provide services to the community. Shifting operations to focus on...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 23, 2020 on advocacy, general organic


OTA Farmstead Membership

Join us in our efforts to promote and protect organic agriculture! CCOF members may be eligible for the $50 Farmstead Membership in the Organic Trade Association. Farmstead Members have direct access to Organic Trade Association resources and full voting rights. The Farmstead Membership is reserved for reserved for small organic farmers with annual organic sales less than $250,000 who are also current members of one of the organizations affiliated with our Farmers Advisory Council, including CCOF. As a Farmstead Member, you provide a critical voice in helping to advance national policy...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 16, 2020 on advocacy, biodiversity, general organic, water

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is announcing one vacancy on the Environmental Farming Act Science Advisory Panel (EFA SAP). The panel advises the secretary on the implementation of the Healthy Soils Program and the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program, and also assists federal, state, and local government agencies, as appropriate or necessary, on issues relating to the impact of agricultural practices on air, water, and wildlife habitat.  According to statute, the Secretary of CDFA shall appoint five of the nine EFA SAP members. Members of the panel shall...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 2, 2020 on advocacy, general organic

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) continues to collect responses to the 2019 Organic Survey, a once-every-five-year special study to the 2017 Census of Agriculture.  Response windows are open through March. NASS encourages the producers who received these questionnaires to respond online, by mail, or by telephone. “We are extending the deadlines for response since we still have a steady stream of completed questionnaires coming in,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “NASS produces the most comprehensive agricultural data about U.S. agriculture. Our record of accuracy...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, February 3, 2020 on advocacy, education, general organic

The University of California system's first-ever institute for organic research and education will be established in the University of California's Agriculture and Natural Resources division (UC ANR) with a $500,000 endowment gift from Clif Bar & Company and $500,000 in matching funds from UC President Janet Napolitano. The California Organic Institute will accelerate the development and adoption of effective tools and practices for organic farmers and those transitioning to organic by building on the capabilities of UC ANR's Cooperative Extension and Sustainable Agriculture Research and...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, February 3, 2020 on advocacy, general organic, producer

USDA reminds agricultural producers interested in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) 2020 general signup to enroll by February 28, 2020. This signup is available to farmers and private landowners who are either enrolling for the first time or re-enrolling for another 10- to 15-year term. “This is the first opportunity for general sign-up since 2016, and we want producers and private landowners to know that we have just one month remaining,” Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Richard Fordyce said. “It is critical that they make their final determinations and submit offers very soon to...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 on CCOF, general organic, member news

Fair Farm Colorado, a CCOF member based in Longmont, Colorado, is the first egg operation to be certified to the Laying Hen and Pullet standards of the Global Animal Partnership (GAP), a comprehensive farm animal welfare standards program. Fair Farm Colorado’s operation is certified to GAP’s Entire Life on Farm (Step 5+). “Fair Farm just received GAP’s top animal welfare rating for a laying hen farm,” said Walt Pounds, Fair Farm’s founder and CEO. “We at Fair Farm Colorado are honored and excited to become the first egg operation to partner with the Global Animal Partnership,” he said. ...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, December 16, 2019 on education, events, general organic, producer

California Food Producers’ Starting a Specialty Food Business Course will cover the basics of product development, food safety, processing options, marketing, and cost analysis. Participants will have the opportunity to engage with university and industry specialists to learn the fundamentals of how to create a successful specialty food business. Participants will receive a course manual, USB flash drive with additional resources, and a certificate of completion from the University of California, Davis department of food science and technology.   This course is for anyone beginning or...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, December 9, 2019 on food safety, general organic

Developing and implementing food safety plans (required under the Food Safety Modernization Act) can be challenging. Knowledge related to the overall food quality assurance system can enhance the development and implementation of food safety plans by food processors. The goal of this webinar series is to connect concepts and components of food quality assurance programs to food safety. The webinars will be hosted live by Dr. Linda J. Harris, Dr. Erin DiCaprio, and Dr. Luxin Wang from the department of food science and technology at the University of California, Davis. Four webinars will be...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, December 2, 2019 on CCOF, general organic, producer

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will mail letters with survey codes this December to more than 22,000 U.S. producers involved in certified or transitioning to certified organic farming for the 2019 Organic Survey. Each producer who self-reported organic farming in the 2017 Census of Agriculture will receive a unique survey code to respond conveniently online and to be represented in this very important, once-every-five-year data. "The latest Census of Agriculture results show continued interest in organic agriculture among consumers, producers, and businesses,” said...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, November 25, 2019 on advocacy, CCOF, education, events, general organic

Since the 2018 Farm Bill made industrial hemp legal, there has been a lot of excitement about the growing hemp marketplace. Hemp is an incredibly sustainable crop that builds soil, requires little to no pesticides, and only requires about a third of the water that is used to grow corn. The right varieties of hemp can even offer producers two harvests from one crop—the seed can be processed for oil, and the fiber can be used for textiles and manufacturing. Hemp has the potential to provide a lot of opportunities for growers, processors, the economy, and the environment. Learn more at the...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, November 18, 2019 on biodiversity, events, general organic


Morales Conservation Tillage

Healthy soils are key to organic farming and reducing soil disturbance is a cornerstone to improving soil health. No-till methods have spread to vegetable production on some small farms, but how can larger acreage be farmed to minimize soil disturbance?  A workshop on December 6 in Watsonville will highlight the conservation low-tillage methods and equipment developed by Israel Morales, voted Organic Farmer of the Year by the Organic Trade Association. Not only does reduced tillage improve soil health, it also saves time between crops, reduces fuel costs, and saves on labor.   The workshop...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, November 12, 2019 on food safety, general organic

Under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule, growers using a treated Biological Soil Amendment of Animal Origin (BSAAO), such as compost, are required to keep documentation that the amendment was properly treated, handled, and stored before being applied to a produce field. This documentation is especially important as growers prepare for FSMA Produce Safety Rule compliance and inspections. Though FDA does not have jurisdiction over companies that supply treated BSAAOs, suppliers should be prepared to provide this documentation to growers as needed. This factsheet...

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