America’s appetite for organic dairy, meat, and eggs has soared in the last decade—growing on average 9 percent annually.
California producers of cattle, goats, sheep, and swine can now register with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to conduct on-farm slaughter using a mobile slaughter operator (MSO).
After making it through the California Assembly and Senate, AB 1870, the bill that would make needed reforms to the state program regulating organic food manufacturers, processors, and handlers, was vetoed by Governor Newsom.
CCOF pursued the legislation in response to issues raised by members about the administration of the State Organic Program by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), which uses an outdated, paper-based registration system and continues to carry a backlog of unresolved complaints.
Adapted from Organic Trade Association (OTA) https://ota.com/advocacy/critical-issues/organic-animal-welfare-standards
The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is a federal advisory board that reviews and makes recommendations on a wide range of issues involving the production, handling, and processing of organic products. The NOSB meets twice each year in a public forum to discuss and vote on recommendations to the USDA.
This year, CCOF sponsored a bill that will benefit organic food manufacturers, processors, and handlers in California by strengthening organic integrity in the state and creating more transparency in the program that regulates them.
Authored by Assemblymember Mark Stone and co-authored by State Senator John Laird and Assemblymember Marc Levine, AB 1870 has passed the state legislature and now heads to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk to be signed into law.
Today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the details of a $300 million investment to support organic and transitioning farmers, and to address targeted organic market challenges. The Organic Transition Initiative is consistent with many recommendations made to USDA by the National Organic Coalition (NOC) to increase support for organic agriculture to help build a more ecologically sound, resilient, and climate-friendly food and farm system.
This year, 2022, has been a banner year for California statewide investment in organic transition. The state budget allocated $5 million to create an Organic Transition Program; the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) awarded $1.85 million to the University of California Organic Agriculture Institute to increase organic technical assistance; and CDFA is also reserving $6 million to support organic planning under the new Conservation Agriculture Planning Grants Program. Combined, this is an unprecedented level of investment in organic agriculture.
CCOF led the charge to create an Organic Transition Program in California. And on June 30, the governor signed into law the 2022–2023 state budget that includes $5 million for grants, technical assistance, education, and outreach to support farmers and ranchers to transition to organic. The program also sets aside funds for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
CCOF is working to pass two organic bills in California this legislative session. AB 1870 will streamline the state program that oversees organic food manufacturers and handlers, and AB 2499 will create an organic transition pilot program to support socially disadvantaged growers in becoming certified organic.
Both bills moved forward during deliberations on the Assembly floor in late May, and next, they will be taken up by the California Senate Agriculture Committee.