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Organic Trade Association plants “seeds” for active farmer involvement

Formalizes new Farmers Advisory Council to engage farmers across America

Barbara Haumann
(802) 275-3820
Washington , DC
May 10, 2013
) — 

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) has formally established a Farmers Advisory Council to provide input from small- to medium-sized organic farmers, ranchers and growers to the trade association on matters geared to advancing organic agriculture.

“One of OTA’s Core Values is the understanding that organic farms are the foundation of the organic industry. This advisory council will give organic farmers a vehicle to influence OTA’s policy and advocacy work,” said Perry Clutts of Pleasantview Farm, who holds the first designated Farmer Seat on OTA’s current Board of Directors and co-chairs the council.

Making up the new advisory council will be active farmers of small and medium-size operations serving as representatives of sector, state and regional organic farming organizations. CCOF Inc.(California Certified Organic Farmers) is a founding member of the advisory council, with CROPP Cooperative and the Organic Egg Farmers of America also signing on board. Other organizations will be encouraged to join.

“Our new Farmers Advisory Council institutionalizes the farmer’s voice in all OTA does to grow and protect U.S. organic agriculture in the fast-changing political environment,” said Matt McLean of Uncle Matt’s Organic, a fourth-generation citrus grower and President of OTA’s Board of Directors. He noted that while OTA’s membership has always represented the entire value-chain for organic, including farmers, this formal step makes that commitment clear. 
The OTA Farmers Advisory Council (FAC) has been designed to formalize and improve two-way communication between OTA and organic producers. Through dialog and upfront input, FAC gives organic farmers a voice to directly influence OTA’s policy work, and allows OTA to better represent the diversity of organic producers in its policy and advocacy work. Service eligibility defines a farmer as someone who owns, leases or is a partner in an organic farm, has a full-time functional role as an organic farmer, and derives his or her primary income from an organic farm.

Interested organic farmers and organic farming sector, state and regional organic farming organizations should contact OTA’s Executive Vice President Laura Batcha.

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. OTA is the leading voice for the organic trade in the United States, representing over 6,500 organic businesses across 49 states. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers' associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA’s Board of Directors is democratically elected by its members. OTA's mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy.