CCOF Blog

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Written by Rachel Witte on Monday, May 22, 2023

We’re hearing from many of CCOF’s long-term members this year as we celebrate our 50th anniversary. Phil LaRocca is one of our longest-term members; he has also served twice as the CCOF, Inc. Board of Directors chair!

LaRocca has a bevy of stories to share from his history as a seasoned organic farmer and fierce advocate for organic’s integrity and success. He recently shared his story with us—…

Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, May 22, 2023

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California is making federal funding available to assist California’s agricultural producers transition to organic production. Through the new Organic Transition Initiative (OTI), NRCS California is accepting applications until June 15, 2023, from interested landowners for…

Written by Gaea Denker on Friday, May 12, 2023

CCOF announces an exciting opportunity for our members – AMS will issue up to $75 million in competitive grants (between $100,000 and $3,000,000) to fund projects designed to expand and improve markets for domestically produced organic products. 

Apply on https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/search-grants.html?keywords=organic%20market now through 11:59 p.m. ET July…

Written by Jane Sooby on Friday, May 12, 2023

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that the Organic Certification Cost Share program will offer reimbursements at original levels of 75% of eligible expenses up to a maximum of $750 per scope. Scopes are crops, wild crops, livestock, and processing/handling. 

In addition, certified organic operations in California are eligible for reimbursement of their…

Written by rwitty on Friday, May 12, 2023

Organic inspectors are essential to ensuring organic integrity, and CCOF has a history of providing apprenticeships to new, prospective organic inspectors. Thanks to a grant from the National Organic Program (NOP) Human Capital Capacity Building Initiative, we were able to formalize our inspector apprenticeship in the CCOF Organic Inspector Mentorship Pilot Program. 

A member of CCOF Certification Services, LLC’s inspection operations department collaborated with an education specialist from the CCOF Foundation to develop training materials and facilitate the apprenticeship program…

Written by Guest Blogger on Wednesday, May 10, 2023

As an Associate Community Member and Registered Trainer Organization of GLOBALG.A.P., CCOF is teamworking with GLOBALG.A.P. on offering various courses GLOBALG.A.P. courses this spring and summer. These include, among others: a full review of the GLOBALG.A.P. IFA GFS v6 standard, as well as a full review of the GFSI Recognized GLOBALG.A.P. Post-Harvest Facility Food Safety Certification: Produce Handling Assurance (PHA v1.2). A few courses will be offered that specifically look at the differences between commonly utilized GAP standards explicitly focused on food safety and the GLOBALG.A.P…

Written by Willow Aray on Monday, May 1, 2023

In the coming months the USDA Agriculture Marketing Service will be releasing an RFP focusing on Pinpointed Organic Market Development as part of their Organic Transition Initiative. This program will develop new and expanded markets for targeted domestic organic products by providing more resources and market certainty for producers and processors transitioning to organic or initiating new organic production and processing capacity. 

There will be approximately $75 million for grants and $25 million for commodity procurement. The goals of this project are:

To develop new and…
Written by Jessica González on Monday, May 1, 2023
FFRC members meet with Assemblymember Dawn Addis

Last week, CCOF and Food and Farm Resilience Coalition members met with state legislators to garner additional support for the Climate-resilient Farms, Sustainable Healthy Food Access, and Farmworker Protection Bond Act of 2024, AB 408. This bill, which is authored by Assemblymember Lori Wilson, would place a $3.4 billion bond measure on the…

Written by Kim Hatfield on Monday, April 24, 2023

Increasingly, food safety certifications and plans are required to sell fresh fruits and vegetables, and the costs in time, labor, capital upgrades, and certifications are significant. While the USDA currently offers financial assistance for small growers (with less than $250,000 in annual sales), the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) has a survey out to determine what barriers keep fruit and vegetable farms and packers from beginning or expanding food safety practices. This information will likely be used to argue for more funding from the USDA for financial support to growers and packers to…

Written by Larissa Hernandez on Monday, April 24, 2023

The CCOF Foundation’s Organic Transition Program (OTP) supports producers transitioning their land into organic production. Producers receive direct financial support of $10,000 for three consecutive years, as well as technical support from CCOF Foundation’s Organic Technical Specialist Brian Coltrin. Along with providing technical assistance, the CCOF Foundation strives…

Written by Jessica González on Monday, April 24, 2023

We know that labor is often the biggest expense on the farm. We are looking to better understand what issues producers are facing with labor. We are offering a $25 stipend to organic producers who participate in our survey. The online survey should take no more than 30 minutes to complete and can be found at https://forms.office.com/r/fV3jYLMaK5.

Esta encuesta también está disponible en español

Please contact Jessica Gonzalez at jgonzalez@ccof.org if you have any questions or concerns.
 

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, April 17, 2023

Have you considered adding a value-added component to your farm, such as starting an organic seed business or processing a crop you grow into a snack food?

USDA’s Rural Development Program offers support for farmers and ranchers to develop such enterprises. The Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) can be used for planning activities or for working capital expenses related to producing and marketing a value-added agricultural product. Examples of planning activities include conducting feasibility studies and developing business plans for processing and marketing the proposed value-…

Written by Kim Hatfield on Monday, April 17, 2023

We hope you have had a chance to review CCOF’s Strengthening Organic Enforcement Overview! If not, please do and reach out to us with questions. There are a host of changes in SOE, and all businesses in the organic supply chain should become familiar with the new regulations. Our certified clients will see calls to action on their compliance documents soon, but there is one area of the rule you can start working on now.  

SOE has increased the number of operations that need to seek certification. Uncertified operations who are buying, selling, or facilitating the sale of organic…

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, April 3, 2023

The USDA is seeking nominations for individuals to serve on the Advisory Committee on Minority Farmers. All nomination packages received by April 24, 2023, will be considered. Interested candidates may nominate themselves.

This committee recommends solutions to challenges faced by minority farmers and ranchers and is part of USDA’s commitment to advance equity for all, especially for farmers and producers in underserved communities. The committee is administered by USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE).

The committee was established in the Food…

Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, April 3, 2023

The USDA announced that, beginning in April, it will provide approximately $123 million in additional automatic financial assistance for qualifying farm loan program borrowers who are facing financial risk, as part of the $3.1 billion to help distressed farm loan borrowers that was provided through Section 22006 of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The announcement builds on financial assistance offered to borrowers through the same program in October 2022.

The IRA directed USDA to expedite assistance to distressed borrowers of direct or guaranteed loans administered by USDA’s…