Santa Cruz, California — California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) is the first major agricultural organization to support Assemblyman Mark Leno’s new industrial hemp bill based on the huge economic potential represented by the production of organic hemp in California. Currently, all hemp products sold in California are grown in Canada or other foreign markets. Leno’s bill attempts to bring these revenues into the state while providing a regulatory structure for production and licensing of industrial hemp grown for fiber and seed.
In a move to secure unique economic opportunities for California’s organic farmers, CCOF has announced its support of industrial hemp legislation introduced by Assemblyman Mark Leno, 13th District ( San Francisco). To show its support, CCOF participated in a press conference with Assemblyman Leno at the California State Capital on Wednesday February 23rd. As one of the nation’s oldest and largest organic certification organizations, CCOF has put the full weight of its organization behind this new legislation.
“We contacted many of our growers throughout the state and found that they were excited about this opportunity and welcomed hemp production options for their farms. In a time when business is California is harder than ever and agricultural industries depend on every opportunity, every new crop and income option cannot be ignored. As the certifier of more than 75% of California’s organic acreage, CCOF welcomes every new crop planted in the state,” said CCOF’s Director of Marketing and International Programs Jake Lewin.
This legislation provides for the legal production of industrial hemp in the state and represents an important move forward for California’s consumers, farmers and agricultural community. Currently, numerous hemp based products are produced in Canada and imported into the state for processing and sale. This bill provides the opportunity to bring the several thousand acres of hemp production to California where farmers can enjoy the income opportunity and rotation crop options.
Because the majority of hemp food products sold are certified organic, CCOF sees this as an important step towards expanding the market viability of organic growers in the state. “CCOF is aware of companies that are ready to develop production contracts with organic growers as soon as this legislation is passed. With the U.S. hemp foods industry poised for dramatic growth, CCOF is pleased to see the courageous actions of Assemblyman Leno, Whole Foods Markets, Nutiva Hemp Foods and all the other organizations that are supporting this legislation” said Vanessa Bogenholm, CCOF Board Chair and owner of VB Farms.
Under the bill, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) will oversee hemp production locations and issue specific production permits. Nutiva Hemp Foods, a leading supplier of organic hemp food products, is projecting a need for well over 10,000 acres of contracted hemp acres in 2008. CCOF fully supports awarding these contacts to California’s organic growers. Assemblyman Leno’s legislation makes this a very real possibility.
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