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Written by Peter Nell on Monday, October 7, 2019

On October 1, 2019 USDA reopened the Origin of Livestock proposed rule for additional comments. The proposed rule was closed by USDA in 2015 without notice but was reopened for a new 60-day comment period. Comments can be submitted until December 2 to Regulations.gov using docket number AMS-NOP-11-0009-1572. 

CCOF highly encourages members to submit comments on the proposed rule. It is important that both dairies that came under certification before and after the initial 2015 proposed rule submit comments. USDA notes that commenters who submitted comments in 2015 need not to…

Written by Peter Nell on Monday, October 7, 2019

Last week CCOF submitted eight written comments to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) ahead of their fall 2019 meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The meeting will occur Wednesday, October 23, through Friday, October 25. 

NOSB is the federal advisory committee to the National Organic Program and meets twice a year to provide recommendations on substances on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances and the organic standards. At their spring meeting earlier this year, NOSB began their 2021 Sunset Review process and will complete the reviews of the substances…

Written by Adrian Fischer on Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The application deadline for the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program is fast approaching! 

Any operation that is located within the United States and received organic certification between October 1, 2018 and September 30, 2019 may apply for reimbursement by October 31, 2019.

All certified organic entities in the United States are eligible to apply for a refund of 75% of their certification-related costs, including inspection fees, up to a maximum of $750 per scope of organic certification. California State Organic Program registration fees are also eligible…

Written by Peter Nell on Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Earlier this year, CCOF Foundation launched the Roadmap to an Organic California project to highlight how organic farming addresses many of California’s toughest challenges. From climate change and water degradation to public health threats and struggling local economies, organic agriculture is a proven solution.   

The Benefits Report presented over 300 peer-reviewed scientific studies showing how organic agriculture positively impacts the economy, society, and the environment. These studies demonstrate that organic farms are combatting climate change by building healthy soils…

Written by Meaghan Donovan on Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Are you interested in growing organically, but mystified by the organic certification process? 

Join the CCOF Foundation on Monday, October 14 for a webinar that will explain the benefits, costs, and steps of the organic certification process for growers who market directly to consumers. 

Some local producers grow and sell organic crops to increase their revenue. Other farmers find the USDA organic seal a convenient way to communicate their farm’s commitment to sustainable growing practices to their customers. Our webinar speaker, Rebecca Silver of CCOF Certification…

Written by Shawna Rodgers on Tuesday, September 24, 2019

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Dr. Karen Klonsky spent a lifetime championing organic. The CCOF Foundation will honor her work and spirit at the CCOF Foundation Feast on December 4 at the Organic Grower Summit. 

Klonsky was a University of California Cooperative Extension Specialist in Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis…

Written by Peter Nell on Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The CCOF policy team is in the midst of researching and writing recommendations for the second phase of the Roadmap to an Organic California project. The project presents the research-supported benefits of organic agriculture  and recommends policies that address California’s toughest challenges. From climate change and water degradation to public health threats and struggling local economies, organic agriculture is a proven solution. 

Phase one of the Roadmap, the Benefits Report, was released in early 2019 and represents a comprehensive scientific review of the economic, social,…

Written by Peter Nell on Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Last week the United States Senate Agriculture Committee passed the Agriculture Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2020. In the bill, USDA is required to issue the Origin of Livestock rule that incorporates public comments from the proposal rule within 180 days of the bill becoming law. The language matches a House of Representatives bill that passed in June, showing bipartisan congressional support for the rule. 

The Origin of Livestock rule was based on six recommendations from the National Organic Standards Board and clarified and amended the requirements for how dairy…

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, September 23, 2019

The California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC) advises the California secretary of food and agriculture on education, outreach, and technical assistance for organic producers in the state. 

COPAC will convene a meeting on September 26 from 10:00 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Sonoma County Farm Bureau office. Items on the agenda include

National Organic Program updates,  GMO test pilot program update featuring a discussion on synthetic biology,  Processor and CalCannabis Subcommittee updates,  origin of livestock rule, and  access to organic slaughter facilities. 

See…

Written by Peter Nell on Monday, September 23, 2019

The deadlines to submit public comments and register for oral comments to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) at their fall meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 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. 

Submit Oral & Written Comments

Written comments are accepted through October 3, 2019 via Regulations.gov using docket number AMS-NOP-19-0038. 

NOSB will accept oral…

Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, September 23, 2019

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As in past years, Dr. Brian Hogg at USDA’s Western Regional Research Center in Albany, California, is seeking research sites for bagrada bug research, and is interested to hear about bagrada bug infestations anywhere in California. 

This is the time of year when bagrada bug populations usually start increasing in cole crop fields. High numbers may also be…

Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, September 23, 2019

Who: The Sierra Fund warmly invites community members and the interested public to join us alongside multidisciplinary technical experts and creatives for an evening of art at the nexus of science as we work to address legacy impacts of the California Gold Rush.  

What: Evening art reception to launch the fifth biannual Reclaiming the Sierra (RTS) Conference being convened by The Sierra Fund. RTS 2019: Headwater Mercury Source Reduction is a conference to catalyze action around a regional strategy to abate the impacts of mercury from the Sierra to the sea.   

Why: The 19th…

Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, September 16, 2019

Is your produce farm subject to a Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) inspection, but you aren’t quite sure what to expect? Do you have questions about FSMA compliance, but don’t know who to ask?  Join the CCOF Foundation, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), and Community Alliance with Family Farmers and the Farmers Guild (CAFF/FG) on September 24 for a webinar that reviews how the FSMA Produce Safety Rule inspection process works in California, as well as shares FSMA resources for organic produce growers.

CDFA has started its FSMA inspections of produce…

Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, September 16, 2019

Enrollment for the USDA Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) began on September 11, 2019. More than $3 billion is available for producers affected by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019. Producers in 29 California counties are eligible for relief, including prevented planting payments for those unable to plant eligible crops in 2019. Crops that qualify for federal crop insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage are eligible for the WHIP+ program. 

Consult the list of counties eligible for 2018 and/or 2019 relief. Read more about program…

Written by Noah Lakritz on Monday, September 16, 2019

The Organic Trade Association’s (OTA) lawsuit against the USDA over the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule will move to final arguments. After multiple failed attempts by USDA to dismiss the case, a U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia has confirmed a timeline for final arguments. OTA’s motion for summary judgment will be due on October 18, USDA’s reply is due November 22, OTA will further reply by December 20, and the USDA’s final reply is due on January 17, 2020. 

Background on the Lawsuit

The 2017 lawsuit alleges that the USDA violated the Organic…