CCOF Blog

Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 on advocacy, crisis resilience, general organic

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released a temporary guidance on the requirements that farms must meet to be considered qualified exempt under the Federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This is important for small farms to be aware of if you have less than $561,494 in gross food sales annually (adjusted for inflation and averaged over the last three years), as your farm may be eligible for a partial exemption from the FSMA, if your farm meets one other criteria.  The other criteria is what the law refers to as sales to a “qualified end user.” Farms that sell at least 50...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 on CCOF, general organic, member news

Jeff Huckaby, president of CCOF-certified Grimmway Farms and Cal-Organic Farms, has received the Organic Trade Association’s prestigious Farmer of the Year award for 2020. Huckaby is a fourth generation farmer who discovered a passion for growing organic carrots over 20 years ago when he first started experimenting with organic practices. He has since led the expansion of Grimmway and Cal-Organic’s organic production to more than 45,000 acres of certified organic vegetables in five states. He is a leader in organic marketing as well, convincing Costco to stock only organic carrots in their...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 on advocacy, general organic

The California Department of Food and Agriculture is announcing four vacancies on the Fertilizer Inspection Advisory Board (FIAB) Technical Advisory Subcommittee (TASC). This subcommittee serves as an expert scientific panel on matters concerning plant nutrition and environmental effects related to fertilizing materials use. It reviews all research and education proposals for the annual Fertilizer Research and Education Program (FREP) grant program and recommends to FIAB which projects should receive funding. Applicants must demonstrate technical, applied, and scientific expertise in the...
Written by Shawna Rodgers on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 on CCOF Foundation, crisis resilience, general organic


photo courtesy of Dawn Heumann for Straus Family Creamery

Photo courtesy of Dawn Heumann for Straus Family Creamery @dawnheumann When asked about how California dairy provider Straus Family Creamery continues to keep their organic producers protected during unprecedented market volatility and consumer purchasing patterns, President Bob McGee responded by saying, “My boss is an organic dairy farmer.” Lucky for their loyal network of consumers, the first-hand perspective of Straus founder and CEO, Albert Straus, influences everything they do as a company. While dairy producers across the country are dumping milk due to hotel and restaurant closures,...
Written by Shawna Rodgers on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 on advocacy, CCOF Foundation, crisis resilience, financial assistance, general organic


Uncertainty. Worry. Fear. Concern. Holding the fort down. Struggle. Due to the far-reaching effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including supply chain disruption, health concerns, and financial burdens, these anxieties have landed on the hearts of many in the agricultural community. The people running these businesses need more than financial support; they need resources to manage the exponential mental stress they face every day from the uncertainty of how their businesses may fare. The topic of mental health is still largely unaddressed in the United States farming community, with a “pick...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 on events, general organic

In celebration of world soil health day, join the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT/ATTRA) on June 23 for a webinar on soil heath principles. Hear from farmers Paul Kaiser and Ward Burroughs on how they invest in their soils by applying the five principles of healthy soil management on their farms. Two very different farms growing different crops in different locations show how these principles are applied at different scales. NCAT’s Rex Dufour will introduce the topic, providing context about how we got to where we are with respect to soil health, and the urgent need for all...
Written by Shawna Rodgers on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 on advocacy, CCOF Foundation, education, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, future organic farmers


If you’ve been reading the CCOF E-Newsletter for a while, you’re likely familiar with the CCOF Foundation’s Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund. Since 2014, the Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund has given more than $600,000 directly to students and teachers who are inspired to study organic. 100% of donations to the fund are given directly to the next generation of organic farmers and producers, made possible with the generosity of households, businesses, and foundations across the country.  Covilli Brand Organics was one of the Fund’s original Champion-level supporters in 2014, part of a group...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Tuesday, June 9, 2020 on advocacy, CCOF, general organic


Black Lives Matter

Dear CCOF Family,  The unjust killing and systemic oppression of Black lives transcends politics—it speaks to the deepest core of our humanity.  We are deeply disturbed by the unjust murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, Dreasjon Reed, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and David McAtee. We understand that these are the most recent tragedies, and countless Black lives have been lost to racist violence in the United States.  Like all predominantly white communities, CCOF must grapple with its own role in systemic racism. Our agriculture and food systems are built on a history of racism,...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, June 8, 2020 on general organic

The Agricultural Statistics Review released annually by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) includes organic data for the first time. The organic section of Agricultural Statistics Review reports producer, handler, and processor gross sales by county for 2018 and harvested acreage of 29 crop categories by county. Kern County was the top organic county in 2018 with over $782 million in sales. Monterey County was second with $480 million, and Fresno County third with $299 million. Collectively, California counties produced over $10 billion of organic agricultural products...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 on CCOF, crisis resilience, general organic

Applications opened last week for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). CFAP is a USDA program that will provide $16 billion in direct aid to farmers who suffered losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications and payments will be processed through the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA).  CCOF recognizes that this program has structural flaws that will prevent many of our members from accessing desperately-needed financial relief. We are working to advocate for improvements to this program. If you would like to contact us about your experience with CFAP, please email us at policy@...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 on advocacy, events, general organic, policy, water

The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (Central Coast Water Board) has released a draft Agricultural Order 4.0 to take the place of the existing order, which expires January 31, 2021. The Central Coast Water Board will hold three virtual workshops on June 2, June 3, and June 4 to explain the new Agricultural Order, review its monitoring and reporting requirements, and provide information about the draft environmental impact report. Links to join each workshop are listed below.  The workshops will be broadcast via Zoom, which may be accessed via computer or telephone. Attendees...
Written by Rebekah Weber on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 on advocacy, biodiversity, CCOF, general organic, policy, roadmap


I sat down with Farm to Table Talk host Rodger Wasson to discuss why organic matters with him. We dove right into CCOF’s Roadmap to an Organic California, a first-of-its-kind research project that investigates how organic is a solution to California’s toughest challenges. From the climate crisis to economic and health inequities, I walked Wasson through organic’s role in addressing these issues, and more. Let’s consider climate change, for example. We know that organic farms combat climate change because they build healthy soils that store carbon and reduce levels of greenhouse gases in the...
Written by Adrian Fischer on Monday, May 18, 2020 on advocacy, CCOF Foundation, crisis resilience, financial assistance, general organic

If you—or an organic producer you know—have experienced hardship during the 2020 calendar year, we encourage you to apply for financial assistance through the Bricmont Hardship Assistance Fund. The application deadline is midnight on Monday, May 25, 2020.   Throughout the nation, farmers are experiencing severe economic losses as the results of the COVID-19 pandemic, extreme weather patterns, an increase in duration and number of natural disasters, and other financial challenges. Now, more than ever, organic producers need access to immediate and long-term financial support to prepare for and...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, May 18, 2020 on advocacy, crisis resilience, financial assistance, general organic, policy

The COVID-19 crisis has prompted unique responses by federal, state, and local governments. This legislative update provides a brief snapshot of some key state and federal policy areas CCOF is monitoring.  USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program On Thursday, May 14, USDA hosted a webinar to introduce producers to the application process for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The webinar recording can be viewed via Zoom. USDA has said that it will release applications soon. The CFAP website has initial instructions to prepare producers to apply, including contacting your local...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, May 18, 2020 on advocacy, CCOF Foundation, events, help and tips, marketing

We changed the date of our Innovative Direct Marketing Webinar for farmers. The new date for the webinar broadcast is May 26, 2020. Innovative direct marketing can keep your farm business viable in fast changing times. Join Jamie Collins of Serendipity Farms on for a webinar on tools to increase your farm’s customer base and your revenue.  Collins, a long-time organic farmer and savvy marketing coach, will highlight techniques she’s used to draw in customers and maintain her business in an ever-changing market.  Learn how she quickly adapted her marketing to address COVID-19 restrictions by...

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