For immediate release
For more information, contact Holly Givens
413-774-7511, Ext. 18
Organic Trade Association looks forward to working with new
Ag Secretary to further the organic program
Greenfield, MA (Jan. 25, 2005) - The Organic Trade Association (OTA) today said it looks forward to working with Mike Johanns, the new U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, to further advance organic agriculture as an integral part of the U.S. agricultural landscape.
"OTA is encouraged with the responses the new Secretary of Agriculture gave about the National Organic Program and organic agriculture to written questions submitted to him by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) during the confirmation process. His responses show his willingness to provide the attention and support needed from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for a successful organic program," said Katherine DiMatteo, OTA's executive director.
For instance, to a question Senator Patrick Leahy posed about USDA's commitment to organic agriculture, Johanns' wrote: "I believe USDA should fully support organic agriculture as an excellent marketing opportunity for producers to succeed in today's competitive global market. Support for organic agriculture should include a full commitment to the integrity of the USDA organic label."
To other questions, Johanns pledged support for USDA to work with the National Organic Standards Board to formalize a peer review panel of certification agencies seeking accreditation, and for efforts to coordinate organic production and handling data collection and analysis among all USDA agencies.
To see Johanns' responses to a sampling of other questions posed by Leahy, go to www.ota.com/pp/usregulatory/Johanns-Leahy.html.
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the business association representing the organic agriculture industry in North America. Its nearly 1,500 members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers' associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others.
Headquarters: 60 Wells Street, P.O. Box 547, Greenfield, MA 01302 USA (413) 774-7511 Fax: (413) 774-6432 e-mail: email@example.com web site: www.ota.com Legislative Office: 600 Cameron Street, Alexandria, VA 22304 USA (202) 338-2900
January 25, 2005
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