Blog posts by Jane Sooby

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, June 23, 2014 on education, import and export, international

Learn how to grow your organic business by cutting the red tape of export requirements. CCOF is partnering with the California Centers for International Trade Development to offer comprehensive training in exporting California specialty crops. The course, CalAgX, consists of a series of six half-day sessions and will be held at three locations, Sacramento, Clovis, and Lancaster, starting August 5 and ending September 25 (see schedule). The program is aimed at businesses new to exporting. CCOF Operations and International Programs Specialist Gamai Gregory will be presenting information on...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, June 2, 2014 on advocacy, genetic engineering, policy


The CCOF Board of Directors voted in mid-May to adopt a strong GMO policy shared by CCOF’s strategic partner, the Organic Trade Association. The policy calls for a moratorium on production of genetically modified crops until more research on their environmental and potential health issues has been conducted, and a meaningful regulatory framework is in place. The CCOF board also reiterated its support for mandatory GMO labeling. Earlier this year, CCOF wrote a letter to California Congresswoman Noreen Evans expressing support for her bill that would require labeling of GMOs in all foods...
Written by Jane Sooby on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 on grower, pests and pesticides

The bagrada bug, referred to as an “invasive stink bug” by researchers, is often seen as a mating couple on brassica family plants. A native of the African and Asian continents, this insect first made its appearance in the western United States in 2008. Since then, its American range has spread east from Los Angeles County to Arizona and areas of southern Nevada, Utah, and west-central New Mexico. It has been found as far north as Monterey County. The insect has orange and white markings on its body and can be mistaken for the harlequin bug; however, it is much smaller than the harlequin bug...
Written by Jane Sooby on Friday, May 2, 2014 on grower


California state Assembly Members Susan Eggman and Luis Alejo introduced a resolution on April 21 celebrating National Strawberry Month, which will begin May 1 and continue throughout the month. The resolution has passed the Assembly and is headed to the Senate. The resolution’s language includes as one of its “whereas”es that “California grows more strawberries than any other place in the world, … and more organic strawberries than all 49 other states combined.” The resolution recognizes strawberries as a “quintessential California crop that sustains families, communities, the environment,...
Written by Jane Sooby on Thursday, April 24, 2014 on education


Where would you go to college if you wanted to become an organic farmer? There’s a lot to be said for the “school of hard knocks” and experience from which most of the world’s farmers graduate in order to become successful. The rare individual who grows up on a family farm is raised to appreciate the work ethic and practical savvy it takes to run a farm business. At the same time, the intimate knowledge of the hard labor and long hours that it takes to farm successfully often turns farm kids toward other careers. Rural America can also hold less attraction for many young people who prefer to...
Written by Jane Sooby on Thursday, April 3, 2014 on drought, financial assistance


As organic operations face unprecedented drought conditions in the western region in 2014, CCOF continues to provide support and information to help organic operations through this difficult time. We are pleased to announce availability of special hardship funds for any certified organic producers who are having a hard time making ends meet this spring due to damage caused by drought. ¿Necesita información en español? Thanks to a special grant from Farm Aid, CCOF is joining with Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) to make these funds available to growers affected by the...
Written by Jane Sooby on Thursday, April 3, 2014 on NOSB, regulatory, standards

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is the advisory committee that advises the Secretary of Agriculture on implementation of the Organic Foods Production Act. There are currently four seats open on the NOSB: environmentalist, organic producer, organic handler, and retailer with significant trade in organic products. NOSB members are volunteers who represent the diversity of the organic community. They are appointed for five-year terms and are expected to attend meetings twice a year, participate in conference calls bimonthly or more, review materials on the National List of Allowed...
Written by Jane Sooby on Friday, February 14, 2014 on drought, NOP, standards

In response to requests made by CCOF and other certifiers, the National Organic Program (NOP) approved a temporary variance request pertaining to the livestock pasture standards. The variance applies to organic ruminant livestock producers located in California counties that have been designated as primary natural disaster areas. These producers, who typically graze their animals in February and March, are not required to graze or provide dry matter intake from pasture during February and March 2014, and may reduce their grazing season by the number of days in their grazing plan that fall in...
Written by Jane Sooby on Friday, January 4, 2013 on grower, help and tips, materials and inputs, water

Widespread leakage of nitrogen from agricultural production has become a huge problem worldwide. Recent news articles have reported that numerous small towns in California’s central valley, the country’s most productive agricultural region, must use bottled water because their municipal water supplies are contaminated with dangerous levels of nitrates. A report issued by UC Davis in early 2012 documented that in California’s Tulare Lake Basin and Salinas Valley, “roughly 254,000 people are currently at risk for nitrate contamination of their drinking water.” The “dead zone” in the Gulf of...

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