CCOF Blog

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 Guest Blogger on Monday, April 29, 2019 on events, general organic

The 2019 Automated Weeder and Thinner Demonstration and Field day will take place on Tuesday, May 21, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon at the USDA Spence Research Field Station at 1572 Old Stage Road in Salinas.  Automated technologies are helping fill the gap in the supply of labor that is occurring in the farming community. At this field day, weeders and automated lettuce thinners developed by a number of companies will be demonstrated on lettuce plantings. Both driven and autonomous machines that use a variety of different mechanisms to remove unwanted plants will be available for viewing....
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, April 22, 2019 on advocacy, biodiversity, funding, general organic, research

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California is now accepting proposals for its Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program. Up to $500,000 is available for one- to three-year grants. The maximum award amount for any project will not exceed $75,000 in fiscal year 2019. Proposals are due by June 10, 2019.  CIG is a voluntary program to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies in conjunction with agricultural production. The proposed projects should augment existing NRCS technical tools (planning, assessment, and/or...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, April 22, 2019 on advocacy, general organic, NOSB, policy

The deadline for nominations to fill upcoming vacancies on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is quickly approaching! USDA is seeking:– An environmental protection and resource conservation expert– An organic farmer representative– An organic retailer– Two organic handlers  Nominations must be submitted by May 17, 2019 and include a resume and an AD-755 Application form, and must be postmarked on or before May 17, 2019. Nominees must meet the criteria of NOSB membership. Members of NOSB participate in committee meetings, bi-monthly subcommittee conference calls, review materials and/...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, April 22, 2019 on advocacy, general organic, policy

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 that the GRO Organic Steering...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, April 15, 2019 on advocacy, NOSB

CCOF submitted 12 written comments to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) ahead of their spring 2019 meeting in Seattle, Washington. The meeting will occur April 24-26, 2019.  NOSB is the federal advisory committee to the National Organic Program and meets twice per year to provide recommendations on substances and standards. At their spring meeting, the board will start the 2021 Sunset Review process and will complete reviews of substances on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. In the fall, NOSB will vote to relist or remove substances from the National List. NOSB...
Written by Jessy Beckett Parr on Monday, April 8, 2019 on food safety, general organic, grower


foodsafety

CCOF received a NIFA Food Safety Outreach grant in 2017 to provide Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) required Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) compliant trainings and technical assistance for small scale, organic, and Spanish speaking farmers in California. In collaboration with partner organizations Agriculture & Land-Based Training Association (ALBA) and the California Center for Cooperative Development, CCOF conducted eight trainings and two webinars between January 2018 and January 2019. Project Results192 attendees received FSMA PSA training throughout California from 2017-2019.51...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, April 8, 2019 on employment, general organic, policy


checklist

Are you a farmer who needs seasonal or temporary workers for planting, cultivating, or harvesting crops? The H-2A temporary agricultural workers program–often called the H-2A Visa Program–helps American farmers who anticipate a lack of available domestic workers fill employment gaps by hiring workers from other countries. With the new Checklist Tool, participating in the Program is now easier than ever. H-2A Visa Checklist ToolThe interactive H-2A Visa Checklist Tool is the latest addition to the farmers.gov website. While interest in the H-2A Visa Program grows each year, farmers often find...
Written by Shawna Rodgers on Monday, April 1, 2019 on advocacy, CCOF Foundation


The Organic Coup SF Giants

“We really visualized this as a takeover. Our opposition was the fast food industry. … It’s like a modern-day David and Goliath…We’re all part of this dream.” – Dennis Hoover, Co-Founder of the Organic Coup Since James W. Marshall’s discovery of gold in Coloma, California in 1848, Northern California has evolved into a place of rapid growth, development, and change. For every technological advancement born here, there have been equally important scientific discoveries regarding the benefits of organic agricultural practices. There has never been a better time in human history to create, to...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, April 1, 2019 on biodiversity, food safety


biodiversity

Dung beetles and soil bacteria on farms could help suppress E. coli and other harmful pathogens, according to research. The study published in the Journal of Applied Ecology found improved food safety may be enhanced by on‐farm biodiversity and the current view that farm simplification helps may undervalue natural resistance to human-pathogen survival. Growers are often encouraged to remove hedgerows, ponds, and other natural habitats to prevent wildlife from moving onto their farm fields and potentially spreading foodborne pathogens. Results suggested dung beetles and soil bacteria may...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, April 1, 2019 on advocacy, NOSB

The deadlines to submit public comments and register for oral comments to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) at their spring meeting in Seattle, Washington are approaching! It is critical that members of the organic community submit public comments on the substances up for re-listing or removal from the National List of Allowed & Prohibited Substances and the other NOSB agenda items.  Crop scope substances:Ash from manure burningFerric phosphateHydrogen chlorideHydrogen peroxideMagnesium sulfateOils, horticultural (Narrow range oils)PheromonesPotassium bicarbonateSoaps,...
Written by Josaphine Stevenson on Monday, April 1, 2019 on CCOF Foundation, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund - K-8, future organic farmers


Vista Verde Middle School

Vista Verde Middle School used grant funds to construct an outdoor lab to teach students organic agricultural practices (land sustainability, soil management, and how to support healthy aquifers) and how to reduce their carbon footprint (reuse, recycle, repurpose). Students reported a sense of empowerment in knowing that they could plant and maintain a garden without the use of herbicides or pesticides and yet produce food that looks just like grocery store food. Nutrient cycling through use of compost bins enabled students to see how they can use and reuse—that nothing gets thrown away....
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 25, 2019 on food safety, general organic


FSMA

Food safety inspections on produce farms are beginning this month, but there are still questions as to what the first round of Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule inspections will look like. The fact that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be regulating farms for the first time is concerning for many produce farmers who have never interacted with FDA before on a regular basis. Adding to the anxiety for some producers, is the fact that this will be the first time in history that they will have to deal with regular inspections on their farm.  In order to help...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 25, 2019 on advocacy, CCOF Foundation, financial assistance, general organic


flood

Late winter storms immediately followed by warm spring weather has caused record flooding in much of the Midwest, including Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Kansas, South Dakota, and Minnesota. The consequences have been catastrophic for family farmers and ranchers in the region; just in Nebraska, the cost to agriculture is estimated at $1 billion. These expenses are due in large part to crop loss, livestock deaths, and building damage. But even farmers who have been able to salvage their products face significant barriers to storing or selling them because entire portions of critical...

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