Blog posts by Peter Nell

Written by Peter Nell on Monday, December 10, 2018 on advocacy, general organic, NOP, NOSB, policy, regulatory

Last week CCOF members signed a letter to USDA and National Organic Program (NOP) leadership urging the agency to issue a final rule on the Origin of Livestock. The letter notes that the Origin of Livestock rule is needed to provide consistent and enforceable requirements that clarify the sourcing of organic dairy herds.  The letter references a recent National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) unanimously-passed resolution regarding the 2015 Origin of Livestock proposed rule. The board’s resolution said: “It has come to the attention of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) that the...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, December 10, 2018 on advocacy, biodiversity, general organic, research

The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) just released the eighth guidebook in their immensely popular Soil Health and Organic Farming Series. Organic Practices for Climate Mitigation, Adaptation, and Carbon Sequestration examines research related to the capacity of sustainable organic systems and practices to sequester soil carbon and minimize nitrous oxide and methane emissions. The guide includes practical advice for reducing an organic farm’s “carbon footprint” and adapting to climate disruptions already underway.  “Research demonstrates that sustainable organic agriculture has...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, December 10, 2018 on CCOF, member news

CCOF recently assisted National Geographic photographer George Steinmetz with identifying organic farms for aerial photos to accompany an article titled “We don’t have enough organic farms. Why not?” by journalist Rachel Cernansky. The article describes the growth of organic agriculture in the United States and the challenges faced by organic farmers. With the support of CCOF and other organic organizations, the article featured photos from organic farms across the country, including Alexandre Family Farms, Driscoll’s, Woodspur Farms, Earthbound Farms, and McEvoy Ranch. Read the full article...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, December 3, 2018 on advocacy, general organic, grower, policy, regulatory

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) announced proposed rulemaking on updated industrial hemp cultivation regulations for California. The updated regulations establish a registration fee for commercial industrial hemp cultivators and allow for California farmers to begin hemp cultivation.  Written comments will be accepted on the updated regulations until 5:00 p.m. on December 24, 2018. Comments can be submitted to Dean.Kelch@cdfa.ca.gov via email or mailed to: Dean Kelch Department of Food and Agriculture Plant Health and Pest Prevention Services 1220 N Street Sacramento...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, December 3, 2018 on advocacy, education, member news

Peterson Family Farms and Three Sisters Organic are featured farmers in a new television documentary series called “Beyond the Harvest.” The series explores the farm to table phenomenon and highlights businesses in California’s Central Valley.  The series will air for 13 weeks in Fresno, Chico, Redding, and Bakersfield. Episodes will also be released online. The broadcast schedule is available online. The first episode of the series highlights Vernon Peterson of Peterson Family Farms. The series’ host Ray O’Canto explores the Peterson Family Farms orchards and packing facility following...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, November 19, 2018 on marketing, policy

USDA implemented the new California Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) on November 1, 2018. FMMOs are voluntary, industry-driven marketing initiatives that establish the terms of trade between farmers and the first buyer of milk. FMMOs also develop minimum milk prices based on market values with respect to supply and demand conditions. California dairy producers voted to approve the FMMO in June 2018. The order required at least a two-thirds vote from all dairy producers in California.  California organic producers are not exempted from the FMMO. Organic producers are exempted from some...
Written by Peter Nell on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 on advocacy, education, general organic, research

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is now accepting comments on the GRO Organic initiative. Generate Results and Opportunity for Organic (GRO Organic) is a private-sector initiative for a voluntary industry-invested organic research, promotion, and education check-off like program. It will be collaboratively designed and implemented by organic stakeholders.  Comments on the initiative can be submitted through April 30, 2019 to GROideas@ota.com. Anonymous responses will not be accepted. Submissions must include name, location, and business affiliations so the GRO Organic Steering Committee...
Written by Peter Nell on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 on general organic, standards

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released draft guidance documents for farms to comply with the federal Produce Safety Rule. The Produce Safety Rule establishes science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of produce. FDA will accept public input on the draft guidance, “Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption: Draft Guidance for Industry,” at four meetings across the country and in written comments.  The draft guidance includes broad recommendations on how to meet the food safety...
Written by Peter Nell on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 on events, general organic, help and tips, NOP

The National Organic Program (NOP) designed an online training center to provide professional development and continuing education training for organic certifiers, inspectors, reviewers, and professionals. The Organic Integrity Learning Center will focus on serving professionals involved in compliance and enforcement roles in organic control systems.  The NOP will debut the system in a virtual town hall on Thursday, November 15 from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. EST. Stakeholders can connect to the town hall two ways: Dial in by Phone Toll-free (United States & Canada): (866) 740-1260 Access Code:...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, October 29, 2018 on advocacy, general organic, NOP, policy

Last week, USDA announced it will propose rulemaking on adverse actions appeals process within the national organic standards.  The proposed rule will streamline the appeals process and ensure that the National Organic Program (NOP) can more efficiently stop producers from marketing noncompliant products as organic.  The rulemaking is part of USDA’s broad strategy to strengthen oversight of organic imports. In July, NOP hosted a virtual town hall to engage organic stakeholders as they begin the rulemaking process and is focusing on ten topic areas: — Federated organic certificates— Satellite...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, October 29, 2018 on advocacy, general organic, regulatory

CDFA’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division is accepting public comments on modified cannabis cultivation regulations until 5:00 p.m. on Monday, November 5. Comments may be submitted to CalCannabisRegs@cdfa.ca.gov or mailed to: Amanda Brown, Regulations CoordinatorCalifornia Department of Food and AgricultureCalCannabis Cultivation Licensing DivisionP.O. Box 942871Sacramento, CA 94271 The proposed changes are in response to comments received to comments received during the notice of proposed rulemaking and hearings conducted in July and August 2018. CCOF submitted public comments on the...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, October 22, 2018 on advocacy, general organic, member news

Last week, United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the appointment of 25 members to the reestablished Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee (FVIAC). Secretary Perdue appointed CCOF members Jeff Huckaby of Cal-Organic Farms, Brian Kirschenmann of Kirschenmann Farms, and Kelly Carl Ely of FreshPoint to the committee. The appointed members will serve two-year terms on the FVIAC. The committee was originally chartered in 2001 to advise the Secretary of Agriculture on issues affecting the fruit and vegetable industry. Committee members represent organic and...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, October 22, 2018 on advocacy, general organic, policy

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is moving forward with a voluntary industry-invested organic research, promotion, and education program.  OTA led efforts over the past couple years to create a national certified organic marketing order under USDA: GRO Organic. The program was initially proposed by OTA in 2015 and USDA released the proposed rule in 2017. Almost 15,000 public comments were received on the proposed rule. However, this spring USDA unexpectedly terminated the rulemaking process of the program before a referendum vote of all organic producers subject to the program was held. ...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, October 15, 2018 on advocacy, CCOF, NOP, NOSB, policy

CCOF submitted 10 written comments to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) ahead of the fall 2018 NOSB meeting. NOSB is the federal advisory committee to the National Organic program and meets twice per year to discuss organic standards. This fall the meeting will be held on October 24-26, 2018 in St. Paul, Minnesota. At the meeting in St. Paul, the board will complete the 2020 Sunset Reviews and NOSB will vote to relist or remove the substances on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List). NOSB will also vote and discuss other items. CCOF submitted the...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, October 15, 2018 on general organic, policy

In late September, California Governor Jerry Brown signed S.B. 1459 into law. S.B. 1459 allows the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division to immediately create provisional cannabis cultivation licenses as a bridge between temporary and annual cultivation licenses. A provisional license will effectively be the same as an annual license but will not be renewable.  To qualify for a provisional commercial cannabis cultivation license, an applicant must:– Hold or have held a temporary cannabis cultivation license for the same premises and...

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