December 29, 2011, Santa Cruz, CA – Today, CCOF awarded disaster relief grants to six certified organic farmers, offsetting their 2011 certification costs and assisting with financial losses. Federal law requires that organic products be certified to meet standards set by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program.
Recipients of this year’s grants include one Alabama farmer and eight California farmers. Ananda Marga Organic Peach Farm, Daniel Vesely, James & Michelle McIntyre, St. Helena Organic Farm, Suenram Ranch, Vittorio Vineyards, Wallace Asian Fruit Farm, and Organic Noble Ranch all suffered weather or pest related losses throughout California, and required financial assistance. Hastings Farm in Alabama suffered losses due to drought. 2011 Disaster Relief Program grants totaled $6,634.68.
“Nearly sixty percent of CCOF certified clients fall within the USDA’s small farmer designation,” says CCOF Executive Director Cathy Calfo. “Our grants give growers of good, healthy, organic fruits, nuts, and vegetables a needed hand as they recover from unfortunate pest or weather related events that took place during the past year.”
CCOF’s Disaster Relief Program is an annual initiative begun in 2007 to provide financial assistance to qualifying farmers who incurred losses due to natural disasters, including fire, drought, and quarantines for pests and diseases.
These grants compensate farmers for their organic certification costs, including inspection expenses and annual fees to offset their financial losses. Applications are reviewed and approved by a committee of CCOF staff and board members.
More information on CCOF and this initiative can be found at www.ccof.org.
CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers), a nonprofit organization, was founded in 1973 and is one of the nation’s oldest and largest third-party organic certifying agencies. CCOF certifies, educates, advocates, and promotes organic through:
- A premier organic certification program for growers, processors, handlers, and retailers.
- Programs to increase awareness of and demand for certified organic product and to expand public support for organic agriculture.
- Advocacy for governmental policies that protect and encourage organic agriculture.
CCOF certifies more than 2,383 organic operations in 33 states and three foreign countries, and serves over 350 supporting members - consumers, suppliers, businesses, and individuals - interested in supporting its work.