Posted: Thursday, May 24, 2012 11:00 AM
By STEVE BROWN
Oregon Tilth and CCOF, two of the nation's largest third-party organic certification and trade associations, plan to merge.
The new organization, which must be approved by members of both groups, will be called CCOF Tilth. Members will be asked to approve the merger before Oct. 31.
CCOF was formerly known as California Certified Organic Farmers.
Cathy Calfo, CCOF executive director, said under the merger Oregon Tilth members will see less paperwork and CCOF members will see faster inspections and reviews.
No positions with the two organizations will eliminated in the merger.
"We need all hands on deck," CCOF director of marketing Robin Boyle said. "People will be dealing with the same people they always have been."
Farmers and food processors who use CCOF or Oregon Tilth labels on their product may continue. A new CCOF Tilth label will be released this fall.
"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," Calfo said.
In the new structure, Calfo will be executive director of the board of directors of CCOF Tilth Inc., a nonprofit trade association for marketing, advocacy and administrative services. Directors will be elected by the membership. The board will appoint trustees and members of the management committee.
Chris Schreiner, executive director of Oregon Tilth, will be executive director of the board of trustees for CCOF Tilth Foundation, a nonprofit for education, outreach and research.
Certification management services will be overseen by Jake Lewin as chief certification officer of the nonprofit CCOF Tilth LLC.
The two organizations have a history of collaboration. During the 1980s, they 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, which determines which input products are allowed for use in organic production and processing.