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Written by Gaea Denker on Wednesday, July 5, 2023
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marijuana plant

With over 250 submissions representing some of the finest cannabis and cultivators throughout California, CCOF is especially glad to congratulate three of our OCal certified producers who won 2023 awards:

Organic Medicinals – Gold Award, Outdoor Category Sonoma Hills Farm – Two Silver Awards, Outdoor Category Lake’s Own - Silver Award, Outdoor Category

Read through the full list of award winners.

OCal certification is a comparable-to-organic program that ensures cannabis operations meet standards that are consistent with the National Organic Program (NOP). While there are…

Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, July 3, 2023
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horses in field

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has contracted with Crowe LLP (Crowe) to conduct a regulatory alignment study. As part of the study, Crowe is evaluating food safety and water quality regulatory requirements overseen by CDFA, California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA), and State Water Resources Control Board (Water Boards) as part of an effort to streamline the administrative processes and optimize information collected by the state. 
 
Crowe values stakeholder input in identifying opportunities to streamline food safety and water quality…

Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, July 3, 2023

Written by Aaron McAfee, CCOF Fresno/Tulare Chapter President

I have excellent news to deliver, straight from the local organic legend himself, the great Tom Willey. 

Tom shared with us that Fresno State has officially announced the hire of Dr. Sangeeta Bansal for the position of Professor of Soil Health at California State University, Fresno. 

The goal of bringing organic agriculture into Fresno State has been ongoing for the CCOF Fresno/Tulare Chapter since the chapter leadership under Dwayne Cardoza and Vernon Peterson recognized that this would be a huge step…

Written by Rebekah Weber on Tuesday, June 20, 2023
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latkes

A good meal is transformative. The light crunch of a fried latke smothered in tangy applesauce roots me in my cultural inheritance and branches me outward. Preparing this salty–sweet comfort food, I get to know local growers at the farmers’ market and appreciate each season’s bounty. My organic potatoes and apples regenerate soil and water health and safeguard against harmful pesticides. Good food grounds us in our bodies and connects us to the people and world around us. As a good meal unites eaters with farmers and nature, nourished communities listen more honestly, deepen self-awareness…

Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, June 20, 2023
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Farmer in field

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) will open the organic certification cost share program to applicants beginning June 14, 2023. Application materials may be found online at the CDFA website. CDFA will only accept applications submitted by mail or email. The deadline to apply is November 1, 2023.

This year, organic certification cost share offers reimbursements at the original levels of 75 percent of eligible expenses up to a maximum of $750 per scope. Scopes are crops, wild crops, livestock, and processing/handling.

In addition, certified organic…

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, June 12, 2023
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farmer in field

To mark Mental Health Month this past May, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships sponsored a series of webinars focused on aspects of mental health for farmers, ranchers, and other rural folk. 

Topics covered include the following: 

Farm Stress and Suicide Prevention Veteran’s Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Rural Mental Health Matters Farm Stress and Suicide: Faith, Place, and Community Health LGBTQI+ Mental Health in Rural Communities

The webinars offer a proactive approach to mental health and include…

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, June 12, 2023

National Organic Program Deputy Administrator Dr. Jennifer Tucker provided an overview of organic compliance and enforcement during CCOF’s At-Large Chapter meeting on June 7. The meeting was held via Zoom and a recording may be viewed on CCOF’s YouTube channel. 

Invited by meeting hosts—Andrea Davis-Cetina of Quarter Acre Farm, Maryland, and Joe Kroll of Oklahoma—Dr. Tucker characterized the global organic control systems that are in place worldwide to ensure organic integrity and gave an overview of NOP’s activities. 

Dr. Tucker noted that a new goal area for the…

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, June 12, 2023

In addition to hosting field hearings across the country, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture  is soliciting public input on the 2023 Farm Bill through an online portal. Comments will be accepted through Friday, June 16, 2023. 

CCOF encourages all members to participate by sharing their farm bill…

Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, June 6, 2023
Applications for Committee Membership Are Currently Available

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CDFA Secretary Karen Ross has announced the Department’s first historically underserved and small farm advisory committees to support equity and inclusion throughout the organization’s programs, policies, and services. Application periods for both committees are open through June 30, 2023. 

“Since 1919, CDFA has served the public along with California’s farmers, ranchers, and farmworkers,” said Secretary Ross. “Today, our department takes a step forward in recognizing the importance of California’s…

Written by Jessica González on Wednesday, May 31, 2023

We know that labor is often the biggest expense on the farm. We are looking to better understand 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.

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

Written by Guest Blogger on Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Farmers and ranchers across California are encouraged to apply to Zero Foodprint’s Restore Grant Program. The grant facilitates regenerative farming projects by providing grantees up to $25,000 for practices that sequester carbon, such as compost, cover cropping, prescribed grazing, and other regenerative practices.

Zero Foodprint believes that by regenerating soil, local food systems can play a part in reversing the global climate crisis. By creating an economic connection from consumers and businesses back to farmers and ranchers, we can restore soil health and sequester carbon.…

Written by Adrian Fischer on Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Thanks to the generous support of our donors who believe in the environmental and social benefits organic farmers provide, we’ve added another eight inspiring farmers to our Organic Transition program, bringing our current roster up to twenty farmers. These small-scale farmers in California receive three years of $10,000 grant funding per year, technical assistance, mentorship…

Written by Jessica González on Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Watsonville farm-working families continue to advocate for organic agriculture to protect the health of their children. At a city council meeting last month, community members advocated for all farms near schools to transition to organic and to stop spraying pesticide. 

Several farm-working parents spoke about the health effects of pesticide exposure on their children. This concern is not surprising given that Latino children are 91 percent more likely to attend schools with high pesticide exposure.  Organic agriculture protects the health of rural communities by prohibiting the…

Written by Laetitia Benador on Wednesday, May 31, 2023

New grant funds are available to expand livestock processing capacity through the USDA Local Meat Capacity Grant (Local MCap) program and Indigenous Animals Harvesting and Meat Processing Grant (IAG) program. Applications are due on July 19, 2023.

The Local Meat Capacity Grant (Local MCap) program will award up to $75 million to independently owned and operated small-scale processors. Two categories of grants are available: 1) Processing Expansion Projects with awards of $100,000 to $5 million for facility upgrades and 2) Simplified Equipment-Only Projects with awards of $10,000 to…

Written by Laetitia Benador on Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Organic cow, goat, and sheep dairy operations that have been hard-hit by unprecedented climate and supply chain challenges can now apply for hardship relief funding under the USDA’s new Organic Dairy Marketing Assistance Program (ODMAP). 

Producers can apply for funding from May 24 to July 24, 2023, through the Farm Service Agency (FSA) by contacting your local USDA Service Center. Funding will be provided on a rolling basis as applications are received. 

The following documentation is required to apply:

Certification of pounds of milk production in hundredweight by…