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Organic Trade Association Elects New President

The Organic Trade Association is pleased to announce its new Board of Directors and president. Taking the helm of the association’s incoming 2023-24 Board will be Tracy Favre, Vice President of Sustainability for Live Operations at Handsome Brook Farms, LLC.  Joining Favre on the member-elected Board will be 14 organic industry veterans and experts representing the wide breadth of the organic agriculture, food, and fiber sectors.

Favre has been involved in natural resource management and the organic sphere for over 30 years. From 2012 – 2017, she served on the National Organic Standards Board, ending her tenure there as board chair. She has worked as an independent organic inspector and served as the Global Director for the international organic certification company Quality Assurance International. Favre is a longtime active and involved member of the Organic Trade Association and is passionate about the intersection of good, healthy food and sustainable livelihoods.

“I’m honored to be serving as the incoming OTA Board president,” said Favre. “The organic industry is at a pivotable point in its growth.  The Organic Trade Association is uniquely positioned to advocate for our membership, and I’m looking forward to helping support those efforts.”

“We heartily welcome our new Board president and Board, and look forward to working with these dedicated volunteer leaders to keep moving organic forward,” said Tom Chapman, CEO of the trade association. “Our new Board is an extremely committed and accomplished group of visionary organic leaders who will work together with members and staff to achieve OTA’s mission of growing and protecting organic.”

The Organic Trade Association Board of Directors consists of 15 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.

As part of OTA’s democratic election process, each trade member company regardless of size receives one vote in the spring election. The seated Directors serve the interests of the whole association and are accountable to the membership in determining the strategic direction and setting the budget for OTA priorities.

OTA’s 2023-24 Board of Directors includes two new incoming members: Heidi Diestel, President of Sales & Marketing at Diestel Family Ranch in California, and Ed Fish, Vice President and General Manager of Varietal Solutions at Bay State Milling, a leader in specialty and organic flour and grain milling.

Other Board officers are Adam Warthesen (Director of Government and Industry Affairs for Organic Valley), Vice President; Britt Lundgren (Senior Director of Sustainability and Government Affairs at Stonyfield), Secretary; and Domenic Borrelli (President of Premium Dairy for Danone North America) as Treasurer.

Other Board members are Doug Crabtree of Vilicus Farms (Owner), David Lively of Organically Grown Company (Pioneer Emeritus), Paul Schiefer of Amy’s Kitchen (President), Matthew Dillon of Risk to Reliance Strategy (Founder and Owner), Ann Marie Hourigan of Whole Foods Market (Quality Standards Principal Advisor), Mike Menes of True Organic Products (Vice President of Food Safety & Technology), Johanna Phillips of Ecocert (Technical Director), Kellee James of Mercaris (Founder and CEO), and Daniella Velazquez de León of Organics Unlimited (General Manager).

New mission and vision unveiled

More than 150 OTA members from across the country attended the trade association’s virtual membership meeting on June 28 during which the Board was announced and Chapman, Favre and other Board officers and task force and committee leaders highlighted successes of the past year and priorities going forward. Chapman and Favre unveiled OTA’s new mission and vision statements approved by Board members earlier this year:

  • The OTA mission: Grow and protect organic with a unifying voice that serves and engages its diverse members from farm to marketplace.”
  • The OTA vision: “A world where ORGANIC is the foundation of agriculture resulting in a healthy and resilient future for all people, animals, businesses, and the planet.”

“The Board has identified a mission and vision that are inclusive and aspirational, ones that emphasize a healthy and resilient future,” said Chapman. “We want the results of our work at OTA to benefit all people, animals, businesses, and the planet.”

“Our vision describes a world where organic principles and practices are accessible, celebrated, and widely adopted and embrace organic agriculture’s potential to address many pressing challenges today, from improving public health to mitigating climate change,” said Favre. “We want to encourage farmers, businesses, and others to join us in pursuing a healthier, more resilient, and sustainable world with organic at its foundation.”

About the Organic Trade Association

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 10,000 organic businesses across 50 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 ORGANIC with a unifying voice that serves and engages its diverse members from farm to marketplace.

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