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Board of Directors

OTA’s structure reflects an organizational commitment to utilizing the board of directors as strategic advisors and long-term thinkers, the staff as program planners and implementers, and the members as lenders of knowledge and expertise to the board and staff.

OTA’s Board of Directors consists of fifteen people, each of whom serves a term of three years. A Board member cannot serve more than three consecutive terms.

OTA Board members are elected by OTA trade members each year. The Board is made up of nine at-large members elected by the general membership, two Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA) representatives who have been elected by the general membership of COTA and four members who are appointed by elected Board members. There is also a dedicated Farmer Board seat.

OTA Board election results for the 2016-2017 term were announced to members on August 25, 2016. Melissa Hughes of Organic Valley, and Leslie Zuck of Pennsylvania Certified Organic, were re-elected to three-year terms. Doug Crabtree of Vilicus Farms was also newly elected to a three-year term. In addition, the Board has selected Marci Zaroff of Under The Canopy  to fill a three-year appointed term. One of the two appointed Canadian seats, originally vacated by Dag Falck and scheduled for reappointment in August, remains open pending action by the COTA Board. OTA members may contact OTA for the complete election details. 

Missy Hughes

Melissa  is General Counsel & Director of Government Relations for Organic Valley, the nation’s largest and oldest organic dairy cooperative. Melissa, who says her passion for organic food and people is her compass and that serving a co-op of farmers creating a better future is a perfect fit, currently serves on USDA’s Advisory Committee on Biotechnology & 21st Century Agriculture.

Kim Dietz
Vice President

Kim is Senior Manager of Environmental, Natural and Organic Policy Government Relations & Corporate Sustainability for Smucker Natural Foods. Kim has been involved in organic farming sustainability her entire life, and has over 30 years experience and expertise regarding organic and non-GMO compliance and standards; her commitment to organic has been shown in her voluntary work with OTA throughout her career, both as a leader and a participant.

Sarah Bird

Sarah is CEO at Bhakti, Inc, the Colorado manufacturer of chai and sparkling teas. A veteran of consumer packaged goods marketing, Sarah has worked at Three Twins and Annie’s Inc. She has a long experience in the organic industry, is a staunch advocate of a unified voice to drive consumer trust and understanding of organic, and is dedicated to helping grow and protect the organic sector.  

Tony Bedard

Tony is Chief Executive Officer for Iowa-based Frontier Co-op, a leading supplier in natural and organic herbs, spices and aromatherapy products under the Frontier, Simply Organic, Aura Cacia and Aura Cacia Organics brands. Tony, who grew up on a family farm in Iowa, says he learned long ago that the organic industry begins with farmers, and says the industry needs a strong trade association to protect and promote its best interests.

Ryan Benn
Community Relations Committee

Ryan is president of Teldon Media Group and alive Publishing Group, leaders in Canada’s health and wellness publishing sector for 39 years. Ryan’s approach to business embodies a combination of vision and execution, and his commitment to giving consumers the tools they need to live healthier and happier lives has translated into his work with OTA to help educate the public about organic. 

Perry Clutts
farmer board seat, Governance Committee

Perry is owner of Pleasantview Farm, his family’s certified organic dairy operation in Ohio. Perry has been a passionate supporter and fully engaged member of the organic community for 15 years, transitioning his family’s 133-year-old farm to an organic grass-based dairy, and wants to use his resources and knowledge to further promote organic through advocacy and working with OTA. 

Community Relations Committee

Doug and his wife Anna own and operate Vilicus Farms, a 5,000-acre certified organic dry-land farm growing 12 to 15 grain, pulse, broadleaf and oilseed crops annually. Having started the farm “from scratch,” they share a passion for beginning farmers. Doug has been an active member of the Farmers Advisory Council and regular participant in OTA’s Policy Conference and Hill Visits. Prior to launching the farm, Doug managed the State of Montana’s Organic Certification Program.

Community Relations Committee

Rick Collins is Executive Vice President of Sales for Clif Bar & Company, a leading maker of nutritious and organic food and drinks. Guided by the company’s five bottom lines of Sustaining its People, Business, Brands, Community and the Planet, Rick oversees Clif’s global strategic sales and customer marketing efforts.

Jesse Laflamme
Governance Committee

Jesse is founder of New Hampshire-based Pete & Gerry's Organics, LLC, the parent company for both Pete & Gerry’s Organic Eggs and Nellie’s Cage-Free Eggs brands. Under his stewardship since returning  to the family farm in 2001, Pete& Gerry's has become a leader in sustainable organic food production, and Jesse an advocate for small family farms and small-scale organic food production.

David Lively
Community Relations Committee

David Lively farmed professionally before joining the staff as the Vice President of Sales & Marketing and serving on the Board of Organically Grown Company. He is a co-founder of the Sustainable Food Trade Association, Organic Produce Wholesalers Coalition and the Organicology Conference. He has also served on the Boards of Oregon Tilth and the Organic Seed Alliance.

Melody Meyer
Community Relations Committee

Melody is Vice President Policy & Industry Relations for UNFI, the leading national distributor of organic and natural foods and specialty food products in the U.S. and Canada. Melody has been attracted to and involved in the organic food industry for over thirty years, with a lifelong goal to promote the growth of organic trade to benefit consumers, growers and the environment.

Kelly Shea
Governance Committee, Chair

 Kelly is Vice President of Government & Industry Relations for DanoneWave, home to pioneer organic brands Silk Soymilk and Horizon Organic. A member of OTA for almost 20 years, Kelly stresses the importance of the organic industry coming together as a community with one voice to the media, to lawmakers and politicians, and to shoppers to educate on the multiple benefits of organic. 

Community Relations Committee

Marci is founder of Under the Canopy, a sustainable lifestyle brand of certified organic, eco-friendly home fashion, apparel, and hotel textiles made and manufactured by socially responsible methods. She is also founder and CEO of Metawear Organic, the nation's first turnkey GOTS certified garment factory. For over two decades, Marci has been a visionary, authority and ambassador of an organic/sustainable lifestyle, and is working with OTA to protect and build the organic industry

Leslie Zuck
Governance Committee

Leslie is co-founder of Pennsylvania Certified Organic (PCO) and has been PCO’s Executive Director for 17 years. A lawyer and an organic farmer for nearly 30 years, Leslie have been involved with OTA for several decades; she says everyone in the organic community needs to pitch in to keep the organic sector strong, and to help OTA effectively protect and preserve organic integrity in Washington and around the world.