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Documenting New and Transitioning Parcels

Operations are required to update their Organic System Plan (OSP) regarding changes that can affect their compliance, such as new land managed by the operation. However, many farms implement transition of conventional ground or begin managing new ground without including it in their OSP or inspections.

All transitioning parcels and new ground should be added to your certification as soon as possible to ensure appropriate inspections and verification of practices, and to alleviate the need for costly, last-minute inspections.

Intensive Grazing Prior to Harvest Intervals

Effective June 1, 2015, CCOF will require that orchards and other crops no longer utilize intensive grazing within 90 days of harvest of a crop where the edible portion does not touch soil or soil particles. This interpretation of existing raw manure restrictions is being phased in during 2015—with an expectation that growers update their practices and organic system plans by June 1, 2015—to ensure compliance during the 2015 production year and beyond.

Postharvest Handling Draft Guidance is Open for Comment

On April 25, 2014 the National Organic Program released a proposed guidance document regarding Substances Used in Postharvest Handling of Organic Products. This guidance addresses the materials that may be used in on-farm or other immediate postharvest situations. This guidance clarifies some confusion between what materials, such as diatomaceous earth or carbon dioxide, could be used in what contexts in a postharvest setting. Comments are due by June 24.

Crop in the Ground? Submit Your “Add Acreage” Early for Best Results!

Many CCOF operations submit add acreage information to CCOF immediately prior to harvest or during inspection. It’s never too early to add organically farmed land to your certification. Submitting new acreage early, for instance as soon as you start managing the parcel or plant a crop, can significantly reduce your costs and give you piece of mind.

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CCOF FAQ: What materials (fertilizers and pesticides) can I use for organic farming and livestock?

Deciding what materials are allowed and not allowed, and what restrictions might apply can be a difficult and daunting task. CCOF understands this, and wants to make these decisions as simple as possible. Read though our FAQ “What materials (fertilizers and pesticides) can I use for organic farming and livestock?” for easy guidelines on what materials you can use. Learn how to inform CCOF you’ll be using them.

Planting Stock Guidance from NOP

On February 28, 2013, the National Organic Program (NOP) issued Guidance Document NOP 5029, "Seeds, Annual Seedlings, and Planting Stock in Organic Crop Production." This final guidance describes the NOP’s direction to the industry and certifiers regarding how these materials may be sourced and treated, and specifying which records are necessary in order to meet the USDA National Organic Standards. In general, few substantial changes affect CCOF annual crop producers.
 

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UPDATE: NOP Guidance on Seeds, Annual Seedlings, and Planting Stock

UPDATE: THIS IS AN UPDATE TO THE VERSION PUBLISHED IN OUR E-NEWSLETTER ON 3/11/13

On February 28, the NOP issued a final guidance on Seeds, Annual Seedlings, and Planting Stock in Organic Crop Production as part of the National Organic Program Handbook. Included with the guidance is a NOP response to the comments it received on this topic in 2011.

Update on Allowance of Sodium Nitrate for Crop Production

Sodium (Chilean) nitrate is currently allowed for use only so long as it is not more than 20% of the crops total nitrogen needs. This material is scheduled to sunset (come off) the list of prohibited natural materials in October. The National Organic Standards Board has recommended that it be relisted as completely prohibited; however, proposed rulemaking has not yet occurred, meaning that final rulemaking will not be achieved before the October deadline. The material will then come off the list and will be allowed without a specific restriction on quantity.