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


Policy conference Logo

An OTA members-only event

Highlights from OTA's 2014 Policy Conference and Hill Visit Days

  • Record-breaking attendance of nearly 200 individuals from 100 distinct organizations representing every facet of the organic value chain.

  • WATCH NOW: 2014 Policy Conference keynote recordings are now available to view online. Hear from featured conference speakers U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and many other thought provoking leaders.

  • OTA members advocated for organic at the offices of more than 130 Members of Congress

  • A first ever Producer Summit, hosted by OTA’s Farmers’ Advisory Council

  • The Kingdom of Bhutan’s National Organic Programme Coordinator, Kesang Tshomo spoke about her country’s aspiration to achieve a 100% organic agricultural system

  • A preview of OTA’s 2014 Organic Industry Survey, which showed that the industry achieved 11% growth in 2013, for a total of $35 billion in consumer sales. The full survey will be published in June.

OTA’s 2014 Advocacy Materials are Now Available for Download:

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

May 21, 2014

Time Event Location
8:00-8:45 a.m. 

Farmers' Advisory Council (FAC)

Breakfast & Convening Session

(by invitation only)

Room 709
8:15 a.m.  Registration Opens
Light refreshments
Room 705
9:00 a.m.  Policy Conference Welcome
Melody Meyer, VP Policy & Industry Relations, UNFI Chair, OTA Board of Directors
Laura Batcha, Executive Director & CEO, OTA
Room 706
9:15-9:45 a.m. Public Servant Award Presentation:
Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Presented by Walter Robb, Co-CEO, Whole Foods Market
9:45-10:00 a.m.

Farmers' Advisory Council (FAC) introduction
Perry Clutts, Owner, Pleasantview Farm 
OTA Board of Directors

FAC Member CCOF Update: Attracting New Organic Farmers
Cathy Calfo, Executive Director / CEO, CCOF 

Morning Breakout Sessions:
10:15-11:00 a.m. FAC-Sponsored Session:
Alternative Models for Risk Mitigation
Room 709
10:15-11:00 a.m. The Organic Center-Sponsored Session:
Organic Research Priorities

Jessica Shade
Director of Science Programs,
The Organic Center

Brise Tencer,
Executive Director OFRF

Jane Dever,
Texas A&M University

Mathieu Ngonajio,
National Institute of Food & Agriculture
Room 702
11:15-11:30 a.m.

We're Organic: Emerging Themes Supported by Timely Industry Data

Laura Batcha, Executive Director/CEO, OTA

Room 706
11:30-12:00 p.m.
Organic Research and Promotion Program Panel Discussion
12:00-1:00 p.m.  Lunch
12:15-12:45 p.m.

Optional Working Lunch Sessions:

Follow-up Discussion about Organic Research and Promotion Program Assessments

Protecting the Organic Seal:
MRO Accreditation and Enforcement of all organic claims.
1:00-2:45 p.m.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack

Phil Karsting, Administrator, USDA Foreign Agriculture Service

Julia Ensor, Attorney, FTC Enforcement Division

Kesang Tshomo, National Organic Program Coordinator, Kingdom of Bhutan

Room 706
Afternoon Breakout Sessions:
3:00-3:45 p.m. FAC-Sponsored Session:

Crop Insurance Discussion with Q&A Period
featuring Brandon Willis, USDA - RMA Administrator 

Room 709

3:00-3:45 p.m. International Commerce Update Newseum,
Room 702
4:00-4:30 p.m. Anne Alonzo, Administrator, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service

Room 706

4:30-5:00 p.m. Prepare for Hill Visits

Marni Karlin, Vice President & General Counsel, OTA

Gwendolyn Wyard, Regulatory Director, Organic Standards & Food Safety, OTA
Room 706
5:30-7:00 p.m.
Capitol Hill Reception Longworth House Office Building: Room 1300

May 22, 2014

Time Event Location
7:45 a.m.  Registration opens Hall of The States
7:45 a.m. Hospitality Suite open - remains open all day Hall of The States
Room 283/285
8:30 a.m  Hill Visit Preparation session Hall of The States
Room 383/385
9:00-4:00 p.m. Members depart for pre-arranged Hill Visits
11:30-2:00 p.m. Stop by for lunch with new OFRF Executive Director Brise Tencer and members of OFRF Board of Directors.
sponsored by OFRF
Hall of The States
Room 283/285
3:00-4:30 p.m.
FAC Session  Hall of The States
Room 383/385
4:30 p.m.
Event closing & champagne toast Hall of The States
Room 283/285

Participating Companies

bullet Alive Publishing Group bullet Amy's Kitchen bullet Annie's, Inc. Applegate Arkansas Egg Company
Ashley Koff RD LLC ASR group Aurora Organic Dairy Ayrshire Farm bullet Bay State Millingbullet California Natural Products bullet Cal-Organic/ Grimmway Farms bullet CCOF bullet Clarkson Grain bullet Clif Bar & Company bullet Crystal Springs Consulting, Inc.bullet Davis Wright Tremaine LLP Driscoll's Earthbound Farm bullet Egg Innovations, LLC Elevation Burger bullet Florida Organic Growers / QCS FoodState Frontier Natural Products Coop Garden of Life, LLC bullet General Mills Grain Place Foods, Inc. Heirloom Organic Gardens Herbrucks Poultry Ranch Hidden Villa Brands High Quality Organics Honest Tea Horizon Organic  I Love Produce Kamut International KeHE Distributers LaRocca Vineyards Late July Organic Snacks LVOG, INC. Mercaris Michael Torrey Associates, LLC MOM's Organic Market Montana Organic Association National Organic Program Naturepedic Nature's Path New Hope Natural Media NOP – USDA staff NSF International OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) On the Mark PR Oregon Tilth Organic Farming Research Foundation Organic Valley PCC Natural Markets Pennsylvania Certified Organic Pleasantview Farm Portico Brands Purity Organics, Inc. QAI, Inc. Richard D. Siegel Law Offices Rodale Institute Smucker Natural Foods v Specialty Sleep Association Stonyfield SunOpta, Inc. v Sustainable Food Trade Association Sustainable Strategies v Texas A&M University The Hain Celestial Group Inc. v The J. M. Smucker Company v Uncle Matt's Organic, Inc. v UNFI v USDA - Foreign Agriculture Service Vilicus Farm v Vitamin Cottage Natural Food Markets, Inc. WhiteWave Foods Whole Foods Market WSDA Organic Food Program

The Newseum
OTA’s Policy Conference and Hill Visit Days will kick off on May 21 at the Newseum — Washington, D.C.’s 250,000-square-foot museum of news. There, participants will learn 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 will gather at the Hall of States – OTA’s home in D.C. – on May 22 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


Annies Clif Clif

Organic Valley
Hidden Villa Ranch

Silk SunOpta




2014 Annual Fund

Research and Promotion 2012