Farmersí Advisory Council (FAC) - Organic Trade Association
Organic Trade Association
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Farmersí Advisory Council (FAC)


Perry Clutts 
FAC Co-Chair, OTA Board Member, Pleasantview Farm

perryPerry Clutts is an organic farmer at Pleasantview Farm, was originally purchased by his great grandfather in 1899. It has seen its share of agricultural practices, having been a much diversified farm through the 1960ís, moving towards the plow and row crops only in the 70ís, and 80ís. Soil erosion through those years brought about a needed management change starting in the 90ís. They learned that organic production, with a focus on soil health and quality, could help heal their farm and make it productive again. Perry started working at the farm in 2000 starting and managing a compost operation to help improve soil quality. In 2003, their tenant retired from farming and he took over full management of the farm. They decided that grazing would be a better farming practice on this sand and gravel ground and planted the entire farm to grass in 2004/2005. They bought yearling heifers in 2005, began milking in 2006, and transitioned to the organic truck in 2007.

After a FOOD Farmer [Federation of Organic Dairy Farmers] conference call, during which the OTA was discussed, Perry realized he had little knowledge of who or what the OTA was, but realized that the members were the businesses that sell the organic products organic farmers produce. At the time, organic dairy pay price was a major concern and he felt that bringing more levels of the supply chain into the conversation might be a good idea. Perry decided to join the OTA and when the call went out for a board seat that would co-chair the Farmer Advisory Council, he again thought this could be a good way to make sure that everyone could hear and understand what is happening on organic farmsÖ from organic farmers!

About Pleasantview Farm:

  • 545 acres
  • 430 acres organic grass/forage
  • 105 acres CRP/CREP Ė pine plantation/grassland
  • 10 acres buildings/home
  • 180 cows milking Ė  calves and young stock raised on the farm
  • Year Ďround forage self-sufficient, we buy all our grain

Melody Meyer
FAC Co-Chair, OTA Board Member, UNFI VP of Policy and Industry Relations

MelodyMs. Meyer is the Vice President of Policy and Industry Relations for UNFI. Her role is to help strengthen and promote healthy, sustainable and organic food production and consumption through education and advocacy.

Melody serves on the Board of Directors for the Organic Trade Association, on the Board of Trustees for the Organic Center as well as the Organic Advisory Committee for the CA Department of Food and Agriculture.

Melody has been in the organic food industry since 1976, when she began her career at an Iowa Natural Food Cooperative. Melody started her own business, ďSource Organic,Ē in 1995, which was eventually acquired by Albertís Organics / UNFI. Prior to her current role, Melody served as the VP of Global Initiatives at Albertís Organics where she was deeply engaged in promoting and developing and Fair Trade producers from around the world.

Melodyís lifelong passion coupled with her experience and relationships supports her goal of continued involvement in the organic food industry. In her words, "It is an honor to serve our industry and the grower community through my continued work!"

Laura Batcha
FAC staff,
OTA CEO/Executive Director

LauraLaura Batcha joined the staff of the Organic Trade Association (OTA) in 2008, and currently serves as OTAís
CEO/Executive Director. Laura has been directly involved in organic production and handling for over 20 years. She serves as the staff person to the Farmer's Advisory Council and plays a lead role in public policy development, communications, and government relations for OTA. She is a member of the U.S. Department of Agricultureís Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture (AC21), and also is a member of the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC), a federal advisory committee appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative. Laura serves on the board of the International Working Group for the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), the board of the Organic Voices Action Fund-Just Label It campaign, and chairs the Organic Trade Association Political Action Committee. 

Jon Bansen
Affiliation: CROPP Cooperative 
Joe and his wife Julianne bought their farm 22 years ago and have farmed organically since 1999.  They milk 200 Jersey cows and farm 650 acres in the Willamette Valley in Oregon.  Joe was on the Dairy Executive Committee of Organic Valley for 11 years and worked in the Farmers in Marketing department of Organic Valley for six years.    
Grant Brians
Affiliation: CCOF Inc.  

John Brunnquell
Affiliation: OTA
John Brunnquell is managing member of Egg Innovations family farms. They own and operated organic pullet production, organic feed mill and processing plant as well as chickens for egg production. He oversees the companyís day-to-day operations, sales and marketing, food safety and organic certification.

John is active on several industry organic egg boards and committees including United Egg Producers organic egg committee, Organic Egg Farmers of America BOD and the Methionine task force. He is strong advocate for family farms and maintaining consumer trust in the organic products produced by the industry.

About Egg Innovations:
Egg Innovations is a leader in the specialty egg industry by providing high quality eggs while maintaining the highest integrity to its customers, growers and employees. Egg Innovations produces a wide variety of specialty eggs including pasture eggs, free range eggs, organic eggs and vegetarian eggs. Egg Innovations prides itself on its commitment to organics, animal welfare and maintain family farms for future generations.

Doug Crabtree
Affiliation: OTA
After a career in organic research, inspection and certification, Doug Crabtree returned to his calling to farm.  He and his wife Anna Jones-Crabtree founded Vilicus Farms in 2009.  Vilicus Farms is a dry land organic crop farm located in north-central Montana.  The operation produces a diverse array of heirloom and specialty grain, oilseed and pulse crops and practices "radical" land stewardship, minimizing fallow, strip cropping and devoting nearly 20% of the land to conservation, enhancing wildlife, pollinators and beneficial biology.  Vilicus Farms also includes an apprentice program designed to "create and launch" new organic farmers.  Doug and Anna strive to provide an example of (organic) farming practiced as an expression of a deep stewardship ethic and as a legitimate profession.

Kristina Hemstead
Affiliation: CROPP Cooperative 
Kristina Hemstead grew up on her familyís organic dairy farm, founded in 1893. After attaining bachelorís degrees in Agronomy and History, she continued on to graduate school where she focused on young/beginning farmer work in the Agroecology Program. Now a 5th generation beginning farmer and employee of CROPP Cooperative, Kristina is in her first year of raising organic produce.  Currently renting land from her parentís farm, she plans to sell her produce to CROPP Cooperative and to a local Farm-to-School Program. 

Steve Koretoff
Affiliation: CCOF Inc.     
Steve Koretoff is the manager of Nick Koretoff Ranches and Purity Organics. He is also the current chairman of the BLM Resource Advisory Council, a Former Board Representative of CCOF Fresno-Tulare Chapter, and a member of the Blue Diamond Almond Ag. leadership program. Steve grows organic almonds and raisins and has crop experience in Alfalfa, Almonds, Beans, Corn, Cotton, and Vineyard (wine grapes & raisins). Steveís family has been farmers ever since they came to this country from Russia, just after the turn of the century. He and his siblings are fourth generation California farmers. Steve lives in Fresno, California with his wife and their two children.

Phil LaRocca
Affiliation: CCOF Inc.
Phil LaRocca has been in the organic industry for 40 years.  He was first certified in 1974.  His farming career has included commercial apple (first certified organic apple grower in California), cherry, and apricot production.  He has farmed most vegetable crops and has commercially raised goats (grade B dairy), sheep and beef.

Thirty years ago he began farming wine grapes and making organic wine.  At the present time he still farms 165 acres of wine grapes and produces approximately 25,000 cases of fine wine annually.

Philip is also the past president of C.C.O.F. and has served as an organic representative to the State of California under Governor Grey Davis.  Among his many duties was to be a presenter at the W.T.O. as a voice for organic agriculture.

Jenny Lester Moffitt
Affiliation: CCOF Inc.
Jenny Lester Moffitt is managing director of Dixon Ridge Farms; her familyís owned and operated organic walnut operation, where she oversees the companyís day-to-day operations, including domestic and international sales and marketing, food safety and organic certification. Jenny works on several levels to promote organic agriculture to customers, to other farmers, and in the policy arena. Previously, Jenny worked to preserve farmland with American Farmland Trust.

Jenny was recently appointed by California Governor Jerry Brown to serve on the Central Valley Regional Water Board and currently serves as a board member for CCOF and on the California Organic Products Advisory Committee, the Food Safety Committee of the Walnut Marketing Board, and the Yolo Ag. and Food Alliance. Jenny is a graduate of Brown University and lives in Davis, CA with her husband, Greg, and their daughter, Maddie.

About Dixon Ridge Farms:
Dixon Ridge Farms is a leader in the organic walnut industry by providing high quality walnuts while maintaining the highest integrity to its customers, growers and employees. For their dedication to sustainable agriculture and energy use, Dixon Ridge Farms was recognized with CalCANís 2013 Farmer Leadership Award, EPA's 2012 Sustainable Ag Champion Award, the DPR IPM Innovator Award and CARBís COOL California Award in 2011, NRDCís 2010 Growing Green Award Food Producer recipient and the Governorís Environmental and Economic Leadership Award in 2008.

Roger Peters
Affiliation: OEFA           
Peters Farms, Inc. converted to organic production in 1988 and was one of the founding members of CROPP Cooperative.  They farm 700 acres (owned and rented), milk 250 cows, raise 300 market hogs and have 2,500 laying hens.   Roger has managed Peters Farms, Inc. with his father, Wayne, and brother, Rory for the last 32 years.
Roger has been a Dairy Executive Committee alternate for six years, on the Egg Executive Committee for 10 years and on the Organic Meat Company (OMC) Board for 11 years.  He is currently the OMC Board President and has been a member of the Lorentz Meats Board for one year. Roger has budget and finance experience from his farming operation and from serving on boards and committees.

Steve Pierson
Affiliation: CROPP Cooperative
Upon graduating in 1980, Steve packed his things into a Volvo and drove across the country to Oregon. With single-minded focus, he sought out the head of the dairy department at Oregon State University, asked if he knew of any local dairy farmers looking for a herdsman, and soon, Steve was headed to St. Paul, thirty minutes south of Portland, where he met with Marlin Rasmussen, a third generation dairy farmer and the owner of Sar-Ben Farms. 

Sar-Ben Farms stretches across 175 acres with 150 as irrigated pasture. Steve and his wife Susan manage the farm in partnership with Marlin, milking 350 Jersey, Holstein and crossbreed cows. In 2005, Sar-Ben Farms received organic certification and joined Organic Valley. By transitioning to organic practices and joining the cooperative, their family has been able to sustain their way of lifeóone that Susanís great grandfather etched. They receive a stable and equitable pay price for their milk and benefit the health of their land and herd. The Piersonís have three kids, Ryan, Kevin and Sara and are excited that just as Ryan is heading off to Oregon State University, their eldest son, Kevin, is returning to work on the farm beside his parents and younger sister, Sara, having graduated with his degree in animal science. Kevin will be the fourth generation farming on the same land

David Roberts
Affiliation: WODPA
David is an organic dairy producer in southeastern Idaho. They milk about 200 cows and farm 600 acres.  David has been on the WODPA board since the beginning of WODPA.  He and his wife Kayla have six children, ages 9-19 that are all involved on the farm in one way or another.

2014 Annual Fund

Research and Promotion 2012