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Written by Larissa Hernandez on Monday, March 28, 2022

Nelson Hawkins, 2021 Future Organic Farmer recipient, was always fascinated by plants and animals, and a career in agriculture felt like a perfect way to combine those two passions. Having studied sustainable agriculture at UC Davis, Hawkins is currently pursuing additional education from the Center for Land-Based Learning in Sacramento, California. Hawkins is also the founder and…

Written by Laetitia Benador on Monday, March 28, 2022

John Fagundes was a carpenter with a small cattle herd living in Northern California. When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down major meat processing plants across the United States, and meat cases sat empty in grocery stores, John knew that small ranchers like him and his neighbors could feed their local communities. But for years prior to the pandemic, small producers across…

Written by Rebekah Weber on Monday, March 21, 2022
Maria on her farm in Salinas

“I was on the verge of losing my farm.” These words haunted Maria Narez of Narez Organic Vegetables as she navigated the complexities of becoming certified organic. To earn organic certification, farmers cannot apply prohibited synthetic pesticides to the land for three years prior to their first organic harvest. Transitioning farmers must make significant…

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, March 14, 2022

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) has released the agenda and meeting materials for its April 26–28, 2022 meeting and will accept written comments on agenda items through April 1.

Signups to provide oral comment during webinars on April 19 and 21 are also open. Visit the USDA’s website to register for an oral comment slot (scroll to the bottom of the page).

The NOSB is a federal advisory board that comprises volunteers from the organic community who advise the National Organic Program and the Secretary of Agriculture on organic production, handling, and processing…

Written by Laetitia Benador on Monday, March 14, 2022

The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA’s) Farm to School Incubator Grant Program is opening the cafeteria door to more organic producers!

For the first time, schools will be incentivized to buy food from producers who are certified organic or transitioning to organic. Organic producers will be prioritized for grants to cover expenses related to food production, processing, and/or distribution for the school food market, including organic certification costs. Small and midsize farms and disadvantaged producers will also receive prioritization. 

Written by Larissa Hernandez on Monday, March 7, 2022


Please join Edgar Mendoza Samaniego of CCOF-certified Sol Seeker Farm and Ann Baier from the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) for a conversation in Spanish on pasture-raised chickens. Mendoza Samaniego dives into his production methods on his farm, as well as details on his operation, and the steps taken to get to where they are now. 

Baier is a sustainable agriculture specialist who has been working in NCAT’s Western Regional Office since 2002. She specializes in organic certification, recordkeeping, and pasture-raised poultry, and works closely with…

Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 7, 2022

Save the date for a western states webinar, 10–11 a.m. (PST) on March 11, on a revision proposed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to Subpart E of its Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule that would change the pre-harvest agricultural water requirements for covered produce (other than sprouts).
The webinar is co-hosted by the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) and California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) for the western states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.…

Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, March 7, 2022

WASHINGTON, March 1, 2022 – This week, the USDA announced supplemental American Rescue Plan Act funding for the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP). In fiscal year 2022, LAMP will receive a total of $97 million in competitive grant funding to help local and regional food entities develop, coordinate, and expand producer-to-consumer marketing, local and regional food markets, and local food enterprises. Of the $97 million, LAMP’s Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP) will receive $57 million, and Regional Food System Partnerships (RFSP) will receive $40 million.…

Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, March 7, 2022

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is offering at least three types of tax credit as part of COVID-19 relief, including Credit for Sick and Family Leave, the Employee Retention Credit, and Paid Leave Credit for Vaccines. 

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) allows small and midsize employers and certain governmental employers to claim refundable tax credits that reimburse them for the cost of providing paid sick and family leave to their employees due to COVID-19, including leave taken by employees to receive or recover from COVID-19 vaccinations. 

The ARP tax…

Written by Larissa Hernandez on Monday, March 7, 2022


Meagan Farrell, 2021 Future Organic Farmer grant recipient, was born and raised on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. To broaden her knowledge and build on her heritage, Farrell has enrolled in the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship program at the Managed Grazing Innovation Center to help steer the family farm toward organic production. Farrell…

Written by Laetitia Benador on Monday, March 7, 2022

The USDA recently announced the opening of the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP) to support the expansion of meat processing capacity nationwide. 

The MPPEP will award $150 million in competitive grants to eligible meat and poultry processors. The maximum award amount is $25 million or 20 percent of total project costs, whichever is less. There is no minimum award amount. Applications are due April 11, 2022.
This first round of grants will support at least 15 facilities that are prepared to break ground. It is expected that a second round of $225 million…

Written by Shawna Rodgers on Monday, February 28, 2022

CCOF Foundation Champion and longtime organic farming advocate Earl Herrick and the team at Earl’s Organic Produce are quite accustomed to changing with the times. Having launched his business in San Francisco in 1988, Earl Herrick, along with the rest of the organic industry, has watched the pace at which organic has grown over the last 40-plus years. CCOF and Earl’s have grown side by side in many…

Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF), as part of a federal grant, is working with the Central Valley Community Foundation and several other partners to evaluate an opportunity for a new community food hub or aggregation center in Fresno. A food hub can offer some unique opportunities, particularly for smaller specialty crop growers, to access new markets and is not meant to replace current market channels. 

CAFF would love to hear from farmers and buyers; please respond via the following survey links: 

Buyers Survey 
Farmers Survey

CAFF has a few…

Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, February 22, 2022

On March 2, 2022, Organic Farmers Association, Organic Trade Association, and the Swette Center at Arizona State University will be co-hosting a national meeting for organic farmer input on core organic priorities for the 2023 Farm Bill. We really want your voice to be included, but you need to act in the next week!

There are two ways farmers can participate:

1.  Attend the virtual National Organic Farmer Meeting on March 2 (10 a.m – 2 p.m.). Register online by February 25!
2.  Complete a 20 minute 20203 Farm Bill survey by March 1!

This article was…

Written by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Researchers from the University of California, Davis, Kansas State University, University of Georgia, and University of Florida want to better understand the organic industry’s needs and challenges regarding postharvest handling and the safety of fresh produce. 

As part of a USDA Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) grant, these scientists seek your participation in a survey that will help design practical research and education programs to ensure the quality, shelf life, and safety of organic fruits and vegetables throughout the supply chain. 

You will receive…