GREENFIELD, Mass. (July 27, 2000) – The Organic Trade Association (OTA) has selected Kathleen Merrigan, administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Agricultural Marketing Service, to receive its 2000 Organic Leadership Award. The award will be presented at OTA’s Annual Organic Industry Dinner slated for Sept. 21 in Baltimore, MD.
OTA’s Organic Leadership Award is given annually to honor an individual who has shown leadership and vision in furthering the goals of organic agriculture.
"The proposed rule for the National Organic Program became a reality this year because of Kathleen Merrigan’s ability to lead, build a productive team, and articulate a vision for implementing the Organic Foods Production Act. Not only did she deliver a totally revamped regulation, but the resulting regulation reflected the principles, philosophies and standards held dear by the organic industry," Katherine DiMatteo, OTA’s executive director, said in announcing Merrigan’s selection.
"Kathleen’s tenacity and strength of character played a major role in the outcome of this document," DiMatteo added.
Also, during Merrigan’s tenure as administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service, there has been visible progress toward the integration of organic agriculture in existing programs, such as research and education, marketing orders and promotion, and crop insurance, within USDA.
"This recognition of organic agriculture has always been seen by OTA as the promise of a national organic program," DiMatteo said.
Merrigan, in fact, helped draw up the 1990 Organic Foods Production Act when she served as an aid to Senator Patrick Leahy in 1989 and 1990.
As the 2000 recipient of OTA’s Leadership Award, Merrigan will receive a hand-blown glass planet by well-known artist Josh Simpson and will be recognized at the dinner.
July 27, 2000
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