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Written by Jacob Guth on Monday, December 18, 2023
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Agronomy Inspector taking soil sample for testing by Microgen via Getty Images

January 31, 2024, is the deadline to apply for reimbursement of food safety certification expenses incurred in the 2023 season. 

The USDA released two years of funding for on-farm food safety expenses, and this is potentially the last year of this program. CCOF is working with allies to try to secure future food safety funding in the farm bill, but for now, we are encouraging eligible specialty crop operations to apply for these vital and rare subsidies. 

To be eligible, an applicant must be a specialty crop operation; meet the definition of a small business (sales during a…

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, December 18, 2023
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Wildfire remains Solano, CA by Fusaromike via Getty Images

(Wildfire remains Solano, CA by Fusaromike via Getty Images)

CCOF has long offered support to its certified organic members who have experienced losses due to natural disasters including wildfires, earthquakes, and floods. In response to increasing frequency of such disasters, CCOF has created a communications and outreach strategy that will be initiated when a state or federal disaster has been declared. 

CCOF will reach out directly to its members in areas that have experienced a natural disaster to document any impacts it has had on them. CCOF will provide members with…

Written by Jessy Beckett Parr on Monday, December 18, 2023

We at the CCOF Foundation are celebrating a year of giving and growth. Here are four ways the CCOF Foundation made a difference to the organic community in 2023.

Launched the USDA West/Southwest Regional Center for Organic Transition! 

Together with 30 regional partners, we reached thousands of producers throughout the West and Southwest with education, mentorship, and technical assistance. CCOF led this effort with support from the National Organic Program. 
  Granted over $750,000 in hardship assistance to dozens of organic farmers and ranchers suffering extreme…
Written by Kelly Damewood on Tuesday, December 12, 2023
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Grapes

Dear CCOF Members,

A concerning fundraising letter was sent to our clients by Mark Kastel under the name of “The Organic Eye.” Mark Kastel has a reputation for harassment and bullying. Despite his rhetoric of shaming companies as sell outs, Mark Kastel seems to target companies that do not donate to his own organization. He ends the letter asking you to send him money.

While we hate to take up more of your time with the silly accusations made in the letter, we are also firm believers in transparency. Here are clarifications:

- CCOF is partnering with the Organic…

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, December 11, 2023
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Biofach 2023 courtesy of NuernbergMesse / Thomas Geiger

(Biofach 2023 courtesy of NuernbergMesse / Thomas Geiger)

Booths are available in the American Pavilion at the upcoming BioFach organic trade show in Nuremberg, Germany, February 13–16, 2024.

Billed as the world’s largest trade fair for organic food, BioFach is the place to be each year for businesses that have organic product for export. Exhibiting at BioFach allows companies to showcase their innovative products and practices in the organic food industry. The trade fair provides a stage to highlight eco-friendly packaging, ethical sourcing, and cutting-edge production…

Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, December 11, 2023
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Jamie Collins Photo by Edible Monterey

(Photo by Edible Monterey​)​​​​​​

Are you a farmer who is certified organic or in organic transition who needs help staying in compliance and understanding the organic regulations? Maybe you are a mentor needing to find out how to best help a farmer through the organic process, or an organization tasked with helping a soon-to-be organic farmer? 

If so, Organic Office Hours are for you. Join me every week, Tuesdays at 11:00 a.m. to noon (PST) on Zoom, and ask me all of your organic questions. Find the link to join and more info on the CCOF Events…

Written by Brian Coltrin on Monday, December 11, 2023
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Agrothrive Organic Liquid Fertilzer courtesy of Agrothrive website. Martha Lemus OTP grantee 2023

(Agrothrive Organic Liquid Fertilzer courtesy of Agrothrive website. Martha Lemus OTP grantee 2023)

AgroThrive donated 275 gallons of fertilizer to CCOF’s Organic Transition grantees on September 12, 2023, ahead of their Get One Give One Campaign for National Ag Week 2024. 

The AgroThrive liquid fertilizer donation will provide transitioning farmers with balanced fertility for their crops to help them achieve increased yields and contribute to their success as they navigate organic farming. With good fertility comes good soil and crop health, which contributes to…

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, December 11, 2023
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Organic pepper plants with drip irrigation system courtesy of Diyana Dimitrova

(Organic pepper plants with drip irrigation system courtesy of Diyana Dimitrova)

Note as of 12/19/2023 - CDFA is pausing the SWEEP solicitation. Please refer to the SWEEP website for further updates: https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/sweep/ 

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The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is now accepting applications from farmers and ranchers for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP), a competitive grant program that incentivizes farmers to invest in irrigation water and energy efficiency. 

Agricultural operations can apply…

Written by Rachel Witte on Monday, December 4, 2023

One of the exciting things about CCOF’s 50th birthday is that many of our long-time members are celebrating milestone birthdays, too! One of those members is Mark Neal, from Neal Family Vineyards. Next year will mark 40 years of Mark farming organic grapes at the prestigious Martha’s Vineyard in Napa, California. 

Mark has certainly built an organic legacy in Napa over the last 40 years. Since 1984, he’s converted more than 1,000 acres of Napa’s vineyards to organic production. Mark is known in the wine industry for his expertise in organic and biodynamic vineyard management, both…

Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, November 28, 2023
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Apple Orchard

The latest addition to the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) series of crop cost and return studies describes the practices and associated costs of producing organic processing apples grown on the Central Coast, including land preparation, fertility and pest management, irrigation, labor, and harvest. The reports also include tables reporting potential profits under various price and yield scenarios. Processing apples grown in the Central Coast are typically used to make juice and sparkling cider.

All cost and return studies are available for free…

Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, November 28, 2023
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OFRF Blog

The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) believes in supporting organic farmers and ranchers in their constant search for innovation and farm profitability. The Farmer Led Trials (FLT) program puts farmers in the driver’s seat and recognizes their wisdom, experimentation, and problem-solving skills. Built in the spirit of curiosity and collaboration, this program will support farmers and ranchers in conducting impactful research that can address their unique challenges.

Organic farming and ranching take dedication, financial investment, and a great deal of trial and error to…

Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, November 28, 2023
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Crops

The California State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) has been a popular program for producers and will be open for applications at the end of November. 

SWEEP offers grants to update irrigation systems to reduce greenhouse gas release and improve water efficiency. Eligible system components or improvements include (among others) soil moisture monitoring, drip systems, switching to low-pressure irrigation systems, pump retrofits, variable frequency drives, and installation of renewable energy to reduce on-farm water and energy use.

The California Department…

Written by Molly Nakahara on Tuesday, November 28, 2023
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Organic Mentor

If you’re transitioning to organic production, you don’t have to do it alone. 

Producers interested in implementing organic practices and achieving organic certification can now be connected with an experienced organic producer mentor for on-the-ground learning, real-time support, and guidance. Learn more and apply at www.organictransition.org.

The benefits of organic are vast; from accessing new markets and securing better prices to increasing a farm’s positive climate impact to creating healthier workplaces for farm families and farmworkers, organic is the right choice…

Written by Gaea Denker on Tuesday, November 28, 2023
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Farmer

Ensuring equitable access to organic certification is a priority for CCOF. In one strategy to level the playing field, we are introducing our financial assistance program. Specific discounts vary (see below for more details), but financial aid packages include reduced rates for new application fees, annual fees, and/or other specific certification charges. 
We want to help you be successful! Please apply for financial aid if you or your operation falls into one of the following categories: 

Underserved Producers in the United States
CCOF defines underserved farmers,…
Written by Jessica González on Monday, November 20, 2023
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Farmer in Bell Pepper Field

Organic farmers face a unique set of challenges, many of which revolve around the critical issue of labor. As I delved into the CCOF Labor Survey, a common theme emerged—a call for a guest worker program that supports the needs of both farmers and farmworkers. CCOF members vocalized the need for a guest worker program that is accessible, especially for small-scale farmers, and that supports the livelihoods of farmworkers. 

The lack of access to labor is a pressing concern for many organic farmers, particularly during crucial stages of the growing season. The seasonal nature of…