Organic Transition Advocacy

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Expanding access to organic certification

Farmers and ranchers need a suite of tools to steward natural resources, build climate resilience, and stay in business. Organic certification is one tool that more and more farmers and ranchers are turning to. Organic production in California increased 44% between 2014 and 2019 and now more than 1 out of every 10 acres in California is certified organic. While the organic sector continues to expand, limited resource and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers face additional barriers that limit their access to the organic market. CCOF advocates to make organic certification accessible to all farmers and ranchers.

Why is transitioning to organic hard?

  • Education: Organic requires farmers and ranchers to adopt ecological methods of farming and ranching. They must learn how to comply with organic requirements, including recordkeeping and conserving natural resources.
  • Costs: Farmers and ranchers must make significant investments to transition to organic. Investments include labor, seed and feed, infrastructure, and ecological management of pests, weeds, and diseases.
  • Land Security: If yields drop or operating costs increase before farmers and ranchers receive the premium organic price, then they may not be able to afford their rent or mortgage, jeopardizing their operation.
  • Yields: During the transition period, farmers may experience yield losses as the soil rebounds from synthetics and adjusts to ecological management of pests, weeds, and diseases.
  • Markets: The success of transitioning farmers and ranchers depends on whether there is a market waiting for their organic product. Changes in the marketplace create additional risk on top the myriad of climate, economic, and COVID challenges they already face.

What do transitioning farmers and ranchers need?

California's organic marketplace provides opportunities for new and existing farmers. Learn more >>

The CCOF Foundation offers grants to support farmers transitioning to organic.
Learn more >>

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What is organic and what does it require?

Organic is more than a label, it starts on the farm. All organic food is grown and raised using ecological methods. Organic is backed by federal law and enforced by USDA. Learn more about the investments farmers and ranchers must make to transition to organic. >>