Blog posts by Jane Sooby

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Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, March 9, 2020 on advocacy, CCOF, general organic, policy, roadmap

Healthy Soils Program Requests for Applications Released Acknowledging the many benefits of improved soil quality, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) initiated the Healthy Soils Program in 2017, which offers grants to farmers and ranchers to implement new soil-building practices on their land. CDFA recently opened the Healthy Soils Program for 2020 applications. Applications for the Incentives Program will be accepted on a rolling basis until 5 p.m. PT on June 26, 2020, or until available funds are expended, whichever comes first. Applications for Demonstration Projects...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, January 13, 2020 on advocacy, CCOF, general organic

CCOF’s Director of Inspection Services Sean Feder has been appointed by California’s Secretary of Food and Agriculture Karen Ross to the alternate certifier seat on the California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC). COPAC advises the secretary 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.  Term limits opened up a number of primary producer seats that were filled with alternate members. CCOF members who now fill primary seats on COPAC are Benjamin Diesl with Grimmway...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, September 23, 2019 on advocacy, education, events, general organic

The California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC) advises the California secretary of food and agriculture on education, outreach, and technical assistance for organic producers in the state.  COPAC will convene a meeting on September 26 from 10:00 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Sonoma County Farm Bureau office. Items on the agenda includeNational Organic Program updates, GMO test pilot program update featuring a discussion on synthetic biology, Processor and CalCannabis Subcommittee updates, origin of livestock rule, and access to organic slaughter facilities.  See the full agenda online. The...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, July 29, 2019 on general organic, international, trade

Producers whose international sales have been negatively impacted by trade tariffs are eligible to enroll in the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), part of the Trade Mitigation Package that will provide up to $14.5 billion in direct payments to agricultural producers nationwide.  Sign-ups began July 29, 2019 and will continue through December 6, 2019. Payments will be based on 2019 planted acres with some additional restrictions. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is administering the program. Producers affected by natural disasters who filed prevented planting claims then planted an MFP-...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, June 17, 2019 on advocacy, biodiversity, education, general organic, policy, research

Invoking the challenges American farmers have faced from increased weather extremes, Brise Tencer, the Executive Director of the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF), presented testimony last week to the U.S. House of Representative’s Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research during its hearing on Increasing Resiliency, Mitigating Risk: Examining the Research and Extension Needs of Producers. Tencer, who previously served as policy director at CCOF, cited OFRF studies that characterize organic farmers’ research needs. She explained how organic farming practices sequester...
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 Jane Sooby on Monday, March 4, 2019 on advocacy, CCOF, CCOF Foundation, general organic, research


Roadmap

 CCOF is excited to release a new contribution to the scientific literature, Roadmap to an Organic California: Benefits Report, which distills the findings of more than 300 peer-reviewed scientific studies into a captivating and beautifully illustrated read.  The Benefits Report presents clear evidence that organic agriculture is more than a system of food production; it is a comprehensive approach to solving the issues threatening California’s long-term security and prosperity.  “Organic food production is an opportunity to stimulate the state’s economy, promote public health, and protect...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 on advocacy, biodiversity, education, funding, general organic

California farmers and ranchers interested in receiving a grant to implement new soil-building practices on their land can receive free application support from technical assistance providers.Resource Conservation Districts and nonprofit organizations throughout the state have signed up to help potential applicants. Some of these technical assistance providers are holding informational workshops on how to apply. See the full list of providers and workshops.There are two different funding opportunities under Healthy Soils:The Healthy Soils Incentives program provides funding to implement...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, January 7, 2019 on food safety, general organic, labeling and packaging, regulatory

The USDA released its final rule for labeling genetically modified (GM) foods in December, two-and-a-half years after Congress passed a federal labeling law. In a significant win for organic, all certified organic products, including the label categories “100% Organic”, “Organic”, and “Made with Organic” are exempt from the labeling requirement. The exemption does not apply to products with less than 70 percent organically produced ingredients. Very small food manufacturers, restaurants, and retailers who prepare food on-site are also exempt from the labeling rule. For the purpose of this...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, January 7, 2019 on advocacy, general organic, regulatory, water

The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board is updating the agricultural order that regulates discharges from irrigated farmland. A comment period is now open with comments due by 8 a.m. on January 22, 2019.   Submit comments to AgNOI@waterboards.ca.gov and indicate in the subject line “Comments to Ag Order 4.0 Options Tables.” Read the notice of public comment period. The regional water board will accept comments on any topic related to the new version of the ag order. The board specifically requests comments on an “options table” that lays out existing and proposed options for...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, November 26, 2018 on advocacy, biodiversity, CCOF, member news

Lundberg Family Farms has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 California Leopold Conservation Award. Sand County Foundation, the nation’s leading voice for private conservation, created the Leopold Conservation Award to inspire American landowners by recognizing exceptional farmers, ranchers, and foresters. The prestigious award, named in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, is given in 14 states. The award is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, Sustainable Conservation, and California Farm Bureau Federation. Lundberg Family Farms of Butte County will receive a $10...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, November 19, 2018 on advocacy, regulatory, water

The Central Coast Water Quality Control Board is holding a series of stakeholder meetings in Watsonville, Salinas, and Santa Maria next week to update the public on the next version of the region’s agricultural order and to gather public comment. The Central Coast Water Board needs to hear from farmers, particularly organic farmers, about the steps they already take to reduce nitrogen application and protect water quality. The board also needs to hear farmers’ ideas on how to reduce ground and surface water impairment without creating an overly burdensome regulatory structure. Agricultural...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 on member news

Amigo Bob is one of the stalwart organizers of the annual EcoFarm conference and a renowned organic farming advisor. He stewards a collection of heirloom perennial fruits—from apples to walnuts—and makes cuttings available through the Felix Gillet Institute. Amigo Bob’s repository of heirloom fruits recently caught the attention of National Geographic, which published a photo essay on the rich genetic diversity he is protecting. The piece focuses on the importance of these locally-adapted species in the face of climate change and increasing drought. 
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 27, 2018 on advocacy, policy

A jam-packed agenda awaits members of the California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC), which will convene Wed., Sept. 5, at 10 am in the Wonderful Conference Room at the Jordan Agricultural Research Center, California State University Fresno. The public is welcome to attend the meeting and share their thoughts during the public comment session.  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.  For the...

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