CCOF and Oregon Tilth, two of the nation’s leaders in organic certification, on May 21 revealed plans to merge. Together, they’ll be called CCOF Tilth if members of both organizations ratify the merger by Oct. 31.
“Both Oregon Tilth’s and CCOF’s origins date back to the 1970s amidst growing interest in the benefits of organic farming,” said Chris Schreiner, executive director of Oregon Tilth. “We both have deep roots in the organic movement.”
“The merger will create the strongest mission-driven certification program in the country, supported by a trade association of nearly 4,000 certified farmers, ranchers and processors and a robust educational foundation,” added Cathy Calfo, executive director at CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers).
The two organizations have a long history of collaboration. During the 1980s, CCOF and Oregon Tilth formed the Western Alliance of Certifying Organizations to ensure integrity and consistency in organic certification. In the 1990s, the two nonprofits helped form the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI), which determines if input products are allowed for use in organic production and processing.
During the past decade, organically grown products have become the fastest growing sector in agriculture as consumers have become more concerned about how their food is grown and processed. Sales of organic products have increased annually by as much as 20 percent and represent a $31 billion sector of the agricultural industry.
Farmers and food processors who currently use CCOF or Oregon Tilth labels on their products will be allowed to continue to do so; however, a new CCOF Tilth label will be released this fall.
Each certifies far more organic operations than their state-based names imply. Oregon Tilth registers 1,400 organizations in 46 states and six countries. CCOF certifies more than 2,321 organic operations in 34 states and three foreign countries
For more information visit www.ccoftilthmerger.org.