Organic Trade Association 2005 Leadership Awards - Organic Trade Association
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Organic Trade Association 2005 Leadership Awards


News Release 
For Immediate Release      
For more information, contact:
Holly Givens (413-774-7511)


Joseph Smillie, Terry and LaRhea Pepper to be honored in May


GREENFIELD, Mass. (April 6, 2005) —  The Organic Trade Association (OTA) will recognize three organic industry leaders May 2 during OTA's Annual Dinner and Awards Ceremony scheduled in conjunction with the 2005 All Things OrganicTM  Conference and Trade Show in Chicago, IL.


This year's event will mark OTA's 20th anniversary. In honor of that milestone, Joseph Smillie, one of the founders of the trade association, has been selected to receive OTA's 2005 Organic Leadership Award for Special Pioneer—OTA. In addition, Terry and LaRhea Pepper, who have been pioneers in organic cotton farming, will receive a 2005 Organic Leadership Award for Agriculture.


Smillie was one of the founders of the Organic Foods Production Association of North America, as OTA was originally known when it formed in 1985. Cited for his "vision, energy, expertise and leadership to OTA in many capacities," Smillie has served as a past president of OTA, co-chair of OTA's Quality Assurance Committee and chair of OTA's International Relations Committee. He has been a leader in organic certification and the development of global organic trade. In his travels as a consultant, certification inspector and certification agency representative, he has promoted organic agriculture and helped farmers and processors throughout North America and in countries such as Mexico, China, Haiti, Turkey, Bolivia, Jamaica, Japan, Argentina, Iceland, India, and Sri Lanka.


Also passionately committed to the organic industry, Terry and LaRhea Pepper farm Pepper Farms in Texas, which has been certified organic since 1991 and which in May 1997 became the 500th member of OTA. The Peppers are founding members of the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative (TOCMC), a cooperative of approximately 30 family farmers in the High Plains of West Texas. Cited as "tireless and resourceful beyond belief," LaRhea also founded Organic Essentials, to add value to farm products, and Cotton Plus, to make TOCMC fiber available in fabrics that can be purchased in small quantities. She also wrote a proposal and received a $450,000 USDA grant to fund the Organic Cotton Consumer Outreach Project.


The awards will be presented at OTA's Awards Dinner Monday evening, May 2. Dinner tickets, which are required for the event, may be ordered when registering for the conference online at As recipients of OTA's Leadership Awards, Smillie and the Peppers will each receive a hand-blown glass planet by well-known artist Josh Simpson.


OTA is the business association representing the organic industry in North America. Its approximately 1,550 members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers' associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. Founded in 1985, OTA encourages global sustainability by promoting and protecting the growth of diverse organic trade.


Headquarters: 60 Wells Street, P.O. Box 547, Greenfield, MA 01302 USA( (413) 774-7511 Fax: (413) 774-6432  e-mail:  web site: Legislative Office: 600 Cameron Street, Alexandria, VA 22304 USA  (202) 338-2900

April 6, 2005

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