OTA Policy Conference & Hill Visit 2012 - Organic Trade Association
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OTA Policy Conference & Hill Visit 2012


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    Organic. Consumer Driven. Farmer Powered.

      April 25-26, 2012   ::  the Newseum   ::  Washington, D.C.
An OTA Members Only Event

Organic Week in Washington was the talk of the town. Learn more below!


Calendar of Events:

Tuesday, April 24
2:30  4:30  House Organic Caucus Briefing, 2167 Rayburn House Office Building

Wednesday, April 25
8:00 – 5:00 Policy Conference
5:30 – 7:30 Capitol Hill Reception 

Thursday, April 26
8:00 – 5:00 Legislative Visits  

Friday, April 27
8:30-10:30 a.m.
Organic Research & Promotion Program Town Hall Meeting
10:30 a.m. OTA Board Meeting

Conference Speakers


U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree (ME-1) Not only was Pingree the first woman from Maine's 1st District ever elected to Congress, her election marked the first time in American history that women have made up a majority of a state’s Congressional Delegation. A member of the House Agriculture Committee, she is becoming a national voice for local, sustainable farming.


U.S. Representative Reid Ribble (WI-8) is a third generation and lifelong Wisconsin resident. Ribble owned and operated one of the most successful roof construction and consulting companies in the United States. He remains active in his local community, volunteering for several community organizations. For the 112th Congress, Representative Ribble serves on the Budget Committee, the Agriculture Committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.


Kathleen Merrigan, USDA Deputy Secretary, discussed trade opportunities created by the historic United States – European Union organic equivalency agreement. Merrigan, a leader in agricultural policy, legislation, and research, was named among the "100 Most Influential People in the World" by Time magazine.


Ambassador Islam “Isi” Siddiqui is the Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the U.S., appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009. He is the chief figure in brokering trade Representative agreements relating to all facets of the agricultural landscape.


Michael R. Taylor, J.D., Deputy Commissioner for Foods at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Mr. Taylor is a nationally recognized food safety expert, having served in high-level positions at FDA and USDA, as a research professor in academia, and on several National Academy of Sciences expert committees.


Ken Cook, President and Co-Founder of Environmental Working Group, serves on the board of Organic Voices of which the Just Label It Initiative is a project. He spoke about the progress of the initiative, next steps, and ideas for harnessing public opinion for maximum impact. Cook has been the subject of profiles in numerous publications, including The New York Times, Chronicle of Philanthropy, Chicago Tribune, Des Moines Register and the National Journal.


Miles McEvoy is the Deputy Administrator of the National Organic Program (NOP). In his role, he is responsible for regulating the organic industry – the fastest growing segment of U.S. agriculture. At OTA’s Policy Conference, McEvoy participated on a panel discussion on the U.S. and EU Organic Equivalence Agreement. He also presented an update on NOP’s current priorities and future needs.


Tony Podesta, Founder and Chairman of the Podesta Group,  discussed why 2012 is a critical year in the political landscape for organic food and farming. Podesta, uniquely positioned to deliver election year insight and strategy, was dubbed one of DC’s “50 heavy lifters” by the Financial Times.

Participating Companies
Agrisystems International :: Albert's Organics :: Amy's Kitchen :: Annie's, Inc. :: Applegate Farms, LLC :: Archi's Acres :: Arkansas Egg Company :: Aurora Organic Dairy :: Bell & Evans :: California Natural Products :: Cal-Organic :: CCOF :: Chino Valley Ranchers :: Clif Bar & Co. :: Craig Weakley Consulting :: Driscoll's :: Earthbound Farm :: EcoTulips :: Environmental Working Group :: Enza Zaden North America, Inc. :: Florida Organic Growers :: Frontier Natural Products Co-op :: General Mills :: Grain Place Foods, Inc.:: Growers International Organic Sales Inc :: Hain Celestial :: Hardy Farms :: Heirloom Organic Gardens :: Hidden Villa Ranch :: High Quality Organics :: Honest Tea :: Horizon Organic :: I Love Produce :: Indiana Certified Organic :: Jacobs Farm / Del Cabo :: Kamut International :: LaRocca Vineyards :: Late July Organic Snacks :: Lundberg Family Farms :: Michael Torrey Associates :: MOM's Organic Market :: Naturepedic :: Nature's Path Foods, Inc. :: Neshaminy Valley Organic :: New Hope Natural Media :: OMRI :: On the Mark Public Relations :: Oregon Tilth :: Organic Farming Research Foundation :: Organic Valley :: Pennsylvania Certified Organic :: Pleasant View Farm :: Purity Organics :: QAI, Inc. :: Quality System Services :: Ramsco for Trade & Distribution :: RIBUS, Inc. :: Richard D. Siegel Law Offices :: Rodale Institute :: Scoular Company :: Seed Matters :: Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP :: Smucker Natural Foods :: SPINS :: Stonyfield Farm :: SunOpta, Inc. :: The Glover Park Group:: Trout Lake Farm :: Uncle Matt's Organic, Inc. :: United Natural Foods International :: University of Wisconsin - Madison :: USA Rice :: Virginia Organic Producers' and Consumers' Assoc. :: Vital Farms :: Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers :: Vitins Consulting :: VS Consulting :: Waseda Farm :: WhiteWave Foods :: Whole Foods Market :: Wholesome Sweeteners :: Wholesum Family Farms :: Willow Creek Farm :: Wolf, DiMatteo + Associates

The Newseum

OTA’s Policy Conference and Hill Visit Days kicked off on April 25th at an awe-inspiring venue – the
Newseum — Washington, D.C.’s 250,000-square-foot museum of news. There, participants learned about the issues making news in organic from Members of Congress, agency chiefs and other influencers.

Hill Visits
Equipped with the knowledge gained during the Policy Conference, attendees gathered at the Hall of States – OTA’s home in D.C. – on April 26th before deploying to Capitol Hill for pre-arranged meetings with legislators alongside industry peers. Fueled by consumer choice, organic is the future of farming. Be there to tell Congress about the prosperity and growth created by the organic industry through the hard work and determination of its members.

Organic Research and Promotion Order Town Hall
Following OTA’s two-day Policy Conference & Hill Visit Days, on Friday, April 27, OTA scheduled a Town Hall meeting as part of its effort to explore a possible research and promotion order proposal for the organic industry. The meeting was held from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. at The Hall of the States in Washington, D.C. Contact Kim Dietz with questions. All organic sector members were invited to participate.

2014 Annual Fund

Research and Promotion 2012