CCOF Blog

Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, June 17, 2019 on advocacy, education, general organic

National Center for Appropriate Technology and National Farm to School Network Awarded USDA Cooperative Agreement to Help Producers Market to Schools  The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and the National Farm to School Network (NFSN) are pleased to announce their partnership with the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS) to develop farm to school trainings for agricultural producers. The goal of the partnership is to help agricultural producers build their capacity to launch or expand efforts to market to schools. Gwen Holcomb, director of...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 on CCOF Foundation, events, food safety

Confused about what records you are required to keep for compliance with the new federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)? Not sure how those records overlap with what you are already doing for your organic certification? Join the CCOF Foundation, Community Alliance with Family Farmers and the Farmers Guild (CAFF/FG) for a webinar on June 18 that clearly explains what records are required for produce farms that must fully comply with FSMA and how those records align with USDA National Organic Program recordkeeping requirements.Farms that must fully comply with the FSMA Produce Safety Rule...
Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 on grants

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has selected 217 projects for award, totaling approximately $12.48 million in grant requests, through its Healthy Soils Program. This program encourages farmers and ranchers to implement practices that reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases, sequester carbon in soils, and improve soil health.“California leads the nation in supporting innovative climate smart agriculture programs that address on-farm challenges and promote agricultural and environmental sustainability,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “Soil health is key to agricultural...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, June 3, 2019 on advocacy, CCOF Foundation, education, food safety, regulatory

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) started its Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) inspections of produce farms this spring. Produce farms with more than $500,000 in average annual sales may be contacted by CDFA in 2019 for an inspection to verify the farm’s compliance with the FSMA Produce Safety Rule. What to Expect During an InspectionTo help orient growers to the FSMA inspection process, CDFA recently published information on what to expect during an inspection. The CDFA Produce Safety Program inspection procedures webpage includes information on the inspection...
Written by Peter Nell on Monday, June 3, 2019 on advocacy, general organic, policy

Two CCOF-supported bills to streamline industrial hemp regulations in California have cleared their house of origin. Senator Scott Wilk’s (R-Santa Clarita) Senate Bill (SB) 153 received no opposition votes through the Senate and was voted into the Assembly. Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry’s (D-Winters) Assembly Bill (AB) 228 also did not receive opposition votes through the Assembly and was voted to the Senate. Both bills will now move through the senate and assembly before being sent to the governor’s desk for signature into law. SB 153 revises provisions regulating industrial hemp...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, June 3, 2019 on advocacy, biodiversity, funding, general organic

National Program The USDA is accepting applications for up to $12.5 million in grant funding for the adoption of innovative conservation projects on agricultural lands. The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) administers the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program, which funds projects in areas including soil health, irrigation efficiency, wildlife and pollinator habitat, water and air quality, greenhouse gas markets, on-farm energy use, and conservation finance.  NRCS will accept applications through July 29, 2019, for up to $2 million in funding per project. Applicants must...
Written by Adrian Fischer on Monday, June 3, 2019 on CCOF, cost share, general organic


cost share

The National Organic Certification Cost Share Program is now open for 2019 applications! All currently certified organic entities in the United States are eligible to apply for a refund of 75% of their certification-related costs paid between October 1, 2018 and September 30, 2019, including inspection fees, up to a maximum of $750 per certification or certified scope. Eligible scopes are crops, wild crops, livestock, and processing/handling. Operations located in California can also receive a refund of their State Organic Program registration fees.  CCOF encourages all members to apply for...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 on advocacy, NOSB, policy

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will meet for its Fall 2019 meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on October 23-25. The meeting will include updates from various subcommittees, votes to retain or remove substances from the National List of Allowed & Prohibited Substances (National List), and votes on other proposals.  NOSB encourages public comments on proposals that will be discussed and voted on during the meeting. The deadline to submit written comments or requests for oral comment speaking slots is October 3. Opportunities for oral comments will be available via webinar on...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, May 20, 2019 on advocacy, biodiversity, general organic

Clean, transparent, fresh, sustainable. Environmentally friendly, animal humane, high quality, social activism. Those traits are all identified with organic, and in 2018 they all helped push organic sales to unprecedented levels. The U.S. organic market in 2018 broke through the $50 billion mark for the first time, with sales hitting a record $52.5 billion, up 6.3 percent from the previous year, according to the 2019 Organic Industry Survey released Friday by the Organic Trade Association. New records were made in both the organic food market and the organic non-food market. Organic food...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, May 20, 2019 on advocacy, education, general organic, pests and pesticides


strawberries

Joji Muramoto, a longtime research associate with University of California Santa Cruz, has been hired as the first University of California Cooperative Extension Specialist dedicated to organic agriculture. Muramoto will coordinate a statewide program focusing research on organic fruit and vegetable production. He will provide educational resources to producers on topics such as organic pest management and soil fertility. Cooperative Extension serves as a vital link between the University of California and the agricultural sector. Extension Specialists conduct research that addresses on-farm...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, May 20, 2019 on advocacy, CCOF, education, NOP

Last week the National Organic Program (NOP) launched the Organic Integrity Learning Center, an online platform that will provide free organic education geared towards certifiers, inspectors, reviewers, and compliance specialists. CCOF-produced videos were featured in a lesson titled “Sound and Sensible Organic Certification.” These videos were produced with a grant from USDA’s Sound and Sensible initiative to ease the process of transition and certification for producers. CCOF is proud to contribute content that highlights CCOF members and their practices in the new Learning Center.  The...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, May 20, 2019 on advocacy, general organic, policy

Organic producers can benefit from several crop insurance policies developed by USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) and purchased from local farm insurance agents. Crop insurance programs have become better suited to the needs of organic producers in recent years, with policies that allow producers to structure their policies based on their farms’ unique conditions. Organic Premium Price Elections now allow organic producers to hold crop insurance based on the price premium they would see in the market rather than the conventional commodity price. The number of crops with Organic Price Premiums...
Written by Allison Stafford on Monday, May 20, 2019 on events, general organic, member news


biggest-little-farm

Apricot Lane Farms, a recent addition to the CCOF family, is bringing the dynamic world of organic to a cinematic audience. The Biggest Little Farm is a new documentary that follows farmers John and Molly Chester’s journey as they leave their life in Los Angeles behind to convert a desolate conventional 200-acre lemon orchard into a thriving organic and biodynamic farm. The film discusses the challenges of working with the land organically and managing all that nature throws their way. From pests to drought to wildfires, the Chesters work together to find natural solutions. This beautifully...
Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, May 20, 2019 on CCOF

Last week, CCOF welcomed our new policy director, Rebekah Weber. Weber comes to CCOF from Vermont, where she worked as a clean water advocate for Conservation Law Foundation. In this role, Weber built coalitions of diverse stakeholders and advanced legislation to protect Lake Champlain and improve community resilience. Previously, Weber engaged in farmer outreach as a Fulbright Fellow in Nepal and worked on agriculture and environmental policy for U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy. She holds a Master of Arts degree in environmental law and policy from Vermont Law School and a Master of Science...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, May 13, 2019 on CCOF Foundation, education, events, general organic


Pathways

Every farmer hopes to own their own property. But with high startup costs and sky-high land prices in places like California, it often doesn't make sense to purchase property before starting your farm business. Join the CCOF Foundation, California FarmLink, and the National Young Farmers Coalition for a webinar on May 21 that will guide you through the key steps in negotiating and composing a lease that has a built-in pathway to ownership.  Learn about different types of lease structures, clauses, tactics that can lead to farm ownership, and how to position yourself financially to be able to...

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