California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) has announced the availability of special hardship funds for certified organic producers who are having a hard time making ends meet this spring due to damage caused by drought.
Thanks to a special grant from Farm Aid, CCOF is joining with Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) to make these funds available to growers affected by the drought. CCOF chapters across the state are also contributing to the emergency drought fund to increase the number of families that can be helped through this program.
CCOF will offer drought disaster grants to certified organic farmers while CAFF will offer the grants to family farmers who use sustainable agriculture practices. The CCOF funds are available to any certified organic producer, not only those certified by CCOF.
Each eligible producer may apply for a $500 grant to offset drought impacts on their families. CCOF requirements for eligibility include:
- Organic certified operation currently in good standing
- Located in a county designated a drought disaster area by USDA (not limited to California)
- Experiencing severe financial hardship resulting from the drought
- Have not received federal assistance for the same loss
Preference will be given to farms that match the federal definition of a small family farm (those that have gross annual sales less than $250,000).
To qualify for emergency funds, completely fill out an application form and send to CCOF by April 30. Please call the CCOF office for an application or download one at www.ccof.org/drought-disaster-assistance. CCOF expects to release funds by the end of May.
In addition to offering this direct drought disaster assistance, CCOF supported regulatory measures to ease drought impacts on California livestock producers and is facilitating access (for livestock feed) to organic crop wastes or culls. A list of drought resources for organic producers is available at www.ccof.org/drought-resources.
For more information, contact CCOF Policy and Outreach Specialist Jane Sooby at (831) 423-2263, ext. 49 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Non-organic producers, contact CAFF Water Program Coordinator Kendall Lambert at (510) 832-4625, ext. 13 or email@example.com.