Organic Giants CCOF and Oregon Tilth Merge

Santa Cruz, CA, Corvallis, OR—The organic industry is welcoming a major development with the upcoming merge of two of the nation’s largest third-party organic certification agencies, CCOF and Oregon Tilth.

Once approved on October 31, 2012, the new organization, CCOF Tilth, will be the nation’s largest certification group with nearly 4,000 certified farmers, ranchers and processors. The merger will “strengthen the visibility and voice” of the $31-billion organic agriculture industry, one of the fastest growing sectors in U.S. cultivation.

CCOF and Oregon Tilth have collaborated in the past. In the 1980s they worked together to form the Western Alliance of Certifying Organizations to “ensure consistency and integrity in organic certification.” Also, in the 1990s the two nonprofits took part in forming the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI), which clarifies which ingredients are allowable under organic rules. As consumers become more concerned about how their food is grown and processed and as the organic industry is rapidly growing, it is important that the new CCOF Tilth is supported.

“The merger will create the strongest mission-driven certification program in the country,” said CCOF Executive Director Cathy Calfo, “supported by a trade association of nearly 4,000 certified farmers, ranchers and processors, and a robust educational foundation.”

The Organic Trade Association additionally congratulated the new merger, and announced that the group “looks forward to collaborating with the new joint organization, CCOF Tilth, to strengthen the visibility and voice of certified producers, handlers and processors.”

Farmers and food processors that use these two labels can continue to do so, but are asked to look out for the new CCOF Tilth label that will be released this fall.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, July 2012 (online 5/23/12)