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Two of the nation’s largest organic certification organizations, Oregon Tilth and CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers), announced plans to merge the organizations, to form CCOF Tilth. Members of the organizations will be asked to ratify the merger.

The merger “will strengthen the visibility and voice of organic, one of the fastest growing sectors of U.S. agriculture,” the organizations said in a joint press release.

“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,” according to Cathy Calfo, CCOF executive director.

“Both Oregon Tilth and CCOF’s origins date back to the 1970s,” according to Chris Schreiner, Oregon Tilth’s executive director. “We both have deep roots in the organic movement.”

Working together in the 1980s, the two organizations launched what would become the Organic Materials Review Institute in 1997.

Farmers and food processors who currently use CCOF or Oregon Tilth labels on their products may continue to do so. A new CCOF Tilth label will be released this fall.

CCOF, founded in 1973, is the largest and oldest third-party organic certification agency in the country. It certifies 2,321 organic operations in 34 states.

The certification program of Oregon Tilth was founded in 1982 and certifies more than 1,400 organic operations in 46 states and six countries.

For more information visit www.ccoftilthmerger.org.