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Organic Week 2024

Organic Week 2024 

 

We're thrilled to be back in the nation’s capital to work on solutions for the complex issues surrounding organic food and farming. We will focus on continuous improvement in organic, celebrate organic leaders, and work together to advance organic policy priorities. Organic Week is a place of discovery, collaboration, and advocacy for farmers to retailers and everyone in between looking to help shape decisions that impact organic.


Register and learn more here_

 

Below is information on Organic Week 2023 - view this year's agenda here

Sponsors
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Thank you to our generous 2023 sponsors!

Previous Events
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Confluences Day | Tuesday, May 9, 2023

 

For Organic Week 2023, the Organic Trade Association is partnering with The Organic Center to present the 2023 Organic Confluences: Reducing Plastics Along the Entire Organic Supply Chain. We’re bringing together scientists, farmers and industry experts for insightful panel discussions to help your business reduce plastics and create a more sustainable future for organic. Organic Confluences sessions will occur throughout the day on Tuesday and the morning of Conference Day on Wednesday.

 

7:30 – 8:30 am │ Breakfast is served outside Breakout Rooms 7 and 8 with seating in rooms. 

 

Organic Confluences Sessions 

Day one of Organic Confluences will examine the current use of plastics in organic and future directions.  All Organic Confluences Sessions will take place in Mainstage Room 9 on the lower Meeting Level of the Yours Truly Hotel. 


8:30 am | Welcome and Opening Remarks from The Organic Center

MORNING SESSIONS | 8:45 am – 10:15 am
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8:45 – 10:15 am | How Plastic Moves Through our Food System and Environment

➜ How Plastic Moves Through our Food System and Environment

This session will showcase the role of plastic in our food system, and how it can escape the supply chain and move through the environment and our bodies. Detrimental impacts of plastic pollution and exposure to plastic chemicals will be highlighted, including the disproportionate impact of plastic manufacturing and waste on marginalized communities and the tension organic farmers face using plastic tools that secure their yields but contaminate their environments, underscoring why we should care about reducing plastic along the organic supply chain and beyond.   

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  10:15 am  Break

MORNING SESSIONS │ 10:30 am – 12:15 pm
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10:30 - 12:00 pm | Use of Plastics in Organic

➜ Use of Plastics in Organic  

This session will examine the use of plastics in organic throughout the supply chain, highlighting challenges that organic stakeholders face that are currently addressed with plastic-based tools. Farmers, retailers, and distributors will discuss their plastic use and difficulties in finding bio-based alternatives. The panel will also touch on consumer demand for reduced plastic and how farmers are trying to meet production goals given these pressures. A discussion session will follow the panel so conference participants can share their experiences with plastic use. 

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  12:15 – 1:30 pm │ Lunch served in the pre-function hallway with seating in Breakout Rooms 7 and 8. 

AFTERNOON SESSION | 1:30 pm - 5:00 pm
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1:30 - 2:30 pm | Organic Regulations and Plastics: Policies, Pathways, and Challenges

➜ Organic Regulations and Plastics: Policies, Pathways, and Challenges

This panel will explain the history of plastic in rulemaking for NOP, and include updates from NOP regulators on the current status of plastic regulation in general and specifically for organic. Policy as points of leverage for change will be discussed as well as the complexities of regulating plastic use in organic. We will also hear about international policies that regulate plastic, focusing on the E.U. as they have been leading the charge to reduce plastic along the supply chain.

2:30 - 4:00 pm | Breakout Sessions

Conference participants will break into small groups to participate in interactive discussions across stakeholder groups identifying the biggest challenges and start thinking through solutions to those challenges.

4:00 - 5:00 pm | Breakout room synthesis

➜ Breakout room synthesis

Breakout groups will report back their biggest challenges in reducing plastic and the highest priority action items to address those challenges. If time, groups can present examples of solutions that are currently working or making significant progress.  

5:00 PM | Closing Remarks from Dr. Amber Sciligo, The Organic Center Director of Science Program
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4:45 – 5:00 PM | Final Q&A followed by closing remarks from Dr. Amber Sciligo,  The Organic Center Director of Science Program 

 


OTA Members are invited to join our concurrent breakout programming during Confluences Day, Tuesday, May 9. 

Concurrent Member Programming - Confluences Day 1
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11:00 am – 12:00 pm | Organic Dairy and Livestock Economic Burden

Organic Dairy and Livestock Economic Burden: Update and Discussion 

Featuring Mike Schmidt, USDA Senior Advisor in the Office of the Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation 

When: 11:00 am – 12:00 pm, Tuesday, May 9
Where: Breakout Room 14, lower meeting level of the Yours Truly Hotel 

Organic dairy farmers are facing catastrophic economic challenges as the availability of organic feedstuffs has declined dramatically, resulting in costs climbing significantly over the past 18 months. OTA organic dairy and livestock members are invited to join Mike Schmidt, USDA Senior Advisor in the Office of the Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation, for a discussion on the current supply chain challenges and economic burdens facing the sector, the needs and difficulties of organic-specific cost data and how USDA is engaging in supporting the sector.  

1:30 – 2:30 pm | Information Session: SOE & New Requirements for Import Certificates

Information Session: SOE & New Requirements for Import Certificates 

Featuring Jonathan Veley, Director of International Trade Systems at USDA Agricultural Marketing Service  

When: 1:30 – 2:30 pm, Tuesday, May 9 
Where: Breakout Room 14, lower meeting level of the Yours Truly Hotel

OTA members are invited to join a small group meeting where Jon will provide an overview of the import certificate system, including the rollout dates, program details and how certificates will be issued, and how import cert data will be used to support organic integrity. There will be an opportunity for Q&A as well. Jon Veley will be appearing with Assistant Director of Trade, Kristin Tensuan and International Specialist Bridget McElroy 

4:00 – 5:00 pm | Organic International Trade Update

Organic International Trade Update 

Featuring Chris Anderson, Vice President of Sustainable Strategies

When: 4:00 – 5:00 pm, Tuesday, May 9
Where: Breakout Room 14, lower meeting level of the Yours Truly Hotel 

OTA Members are invited to join Chris Anderson, OTA's Senior Trade Advisor for an update on the organic international trade market. Chris will cover key organic import and export statistics, the importance of organic equivalency agreements and updates to EU and Canada agreements, other potential arrangements on the horizon, and data from an international marketplace survey from Edelman. 

Leadership Awards Reception
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6:00 – 8:00 pm | Leadership Awards Reception

Leadership Awards Reception

Time: 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Location: Room 2/3 on the lower level of Yours Truly DC

All Organic Week attendees are invited to join us for our official conference welcome reception honoring this year’s Organic Leadership Awards Recipients. This is a can’t-miss night of celebration for the entire organic community that will include an open bar, appetizers, and award presentations.

Learn more about this year's honorees   

Conference Day | Wednesday, May 10, 2023
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Conference Day | Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Conference Day will begin with the remaining Organic Confluences sessions focusing on reducing plastics along the organic supply chain, followed by the Organic Policy Conference highlighting critical organic issues and policy updates as we head into the 2023 Farm Bill cycle.

7:30 – 8:30 am │ Breakfast is served outside Breakout Rooms 7 and 8 with seating in rooms. 

9:00 - 10:00 am | Media Breakfast
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9:00 – 10:00 am | Media Coffee Hour

9:00 10:00 am | Media Coffee Hour

Located in Breakout Room 14 on the lower Meeting Level of the Yours Truly Hotel. 

Invited members of the media will receive an on-the-record briefing of the new Organic Industry Survey number from OTA CEO Tom Chapman. Chapman and OTA Board President Paul Schiefer, President of Amy's Kitchen, will also provide updates on organic-related Farm Bill developments, the status of organic policy at USDA, the latest on the implementation of sweeping new organic regulations announced earlier this year, and other key organic priorities.  

 

 

Confluences Day Two Sessions Intro
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ORGANIC CONFLUENCES SESSIONS 

Day two of Organic Confluences will explore plastic alternatives and building a roadmap for a future without plastics. 


8:30 am | Welcome from The Organic Center

Morning Sessions Confluences Day Two
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8:30 am - 9:40 am | The Future of Non-Input Synthetics, Recycling and Plastic-Alternatives in Organic

 ➜The Future of Non-Input Synthetics, Recycling and Plastic-Alternatives in Organic

This session will explore the need for a future framework in developing discussions around non-input use of synthetic, recycling, and plastic alternatives in organic. We will discuss the complexities of expanding the perspective of organic to include non-input synthetics and discuss who needs to be included in collaborative efforts to make large shifts in plastic use, including artist and general public engagement.

9:40 am - 10:15 am | Innovations in Plastic Alternatives: Lightning Session

 ➜ Innovations in Plastic Alternatives: Lightning Session 

Organic stakeholders have been getting creative to reduce plastic in the field, packaging for distribution and retail, and transporting food to home. These rapid, 5-minute presentations will highlight case studies where stakeholders across the supply chain have used novel alternatives to plastic and offer hopeful solutions for future plastic reduction.  

Confluences Closing Remarks
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10:30 am - Confluences Conference Ends! Open invitation to continue the discussion to gather in Breakout Room 8 where Amber Scilligo, PhD, The Organic Center Director of Science Program wraps up the conversation

Conference Day | Wednesday, May 10, 2023
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Organic Policy Conference Sessions 

All conference sessions will take place in Mainstage Room 9 on the lower Meeting Level of the Yours Truly Hotel. 

11:00 am - 12:35 pm | Conference Sessions
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11:00 – 11:20 am | Welcome and Kick Off

A warm welcome from Paul Schiefer, President of Amy's Kitchen OTA Board President, and the conference kick-off from Tom Chapman, CEO of the Organic Trade Association with a special release of the 2023 Organic Industry Survey 

 

Paul Schiefer | President of Amy's Kitchen 

Paul Schiefer is the President of Amy's, a producer of organic frozen meals and soups. He oversees Amy’s Planet Strategy, which includes integrating sustainability into all aspects of the business, including sourcing and agricultural practices, manufacturing operations, and products. He also leads Amy’s Policy and Advocacy Strategy, and is a member of Amy’s Leadership Group.

 

 

 

Tom Chapman | CEO of Organic Trade Association 

Tom Chapman is CEO and Executive Director of the Organic Trade Association bringing 20 years of experience with the organic industry, policy, and certification. Tom possesses a strong understanding of organic principles and standards and has had a career long dedication to the organic industry including experience in organic certification as well as organic supply chains.  Tom started his career at Quality Assurance International (QAI) working on international organic export programs and USDA accreditation. Tom and his teams have source over 1 billion pounds of organic ingredients during his 15 years in supply chains at Kinder’s Premium Sauces and Seasonings, Clif Bar & Company and Numi Organic Tea. Tom actively engaged with the organic ingredient supply chain, meeting with farmers and manufacturers to encourage and support the continued growth in organic acres to ensure supply meets with growing demand.  Tom has served and chaired the National Organic Standards Board and California Certified Organic Farms Certification Services Management Committee.  He has also served on the board of Mercaris and on the California Organic Products Advisory Committee.  

 

11:20 am - 12:05 pm | Keynote Address: The Honorable Tom Vilsack, Secretary, United States Department of Agriculture

Keynote Address: The Honorable Tom Vilsack, Secretary, United States Department of Agriculture

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has been invited to deliver a keynote address on his perspective and priorities for the next Farm Bill and provide an update on the historic initiatives USDA has put in place for organic – from its unprecedented Organic Transition Initiative to its sweeping new regulations to fight fraud in the organic supply chain – and what lies ahead for federal organic policy.  

 

Tom Vilsack |  Secretary, United States Department of Agriculture 

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack will deliver a keynote address on his perspective and priorities for the next Farm Bill and provide an update on the historic initiatives USDA has put in place for organic – from its unprecedented Organic Transition Initiative to its sweeping new regulations to fight fraud in the organic supply chain – and what lies ahead for federal organic policy.  

 

 

 

 

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12:05 - 1:00 pm | Lunch served is served outside Breakout Rooms 7 and 8 with seating in rooms. 

1:00 pm - 4:50 pm | Afternoon Sessions
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1:00 - 1:15 pm | Keynote Address: Robert Bonnie, USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation

Keynote Address: Robert Bonnie, USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation

Ahead of a conversation about some innovative organic projects being made possible under the USDA's Climate-Smart Commodities Grant program, USDA Under Secretary for Farm Protection and Conservation Bonnie will offer his perspective and introductory remarks.
 
Robert Bonnie is the Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation at USDA. Prior to joining USDA, Bonnie was at Duke University first as a Rubenstein Fellow and later as an Executive in Residence at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions working on conservation and environmental issues in rural America. In 2020, Bonnie also worked with the Bipartisan Policy Center
on its Farm and Forest Carbon Solutions Initiative. Bonnie was Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment at USDA from 2013 to 2017, and a senior advisor to Secretary Tom Vilsack from 2009 to 2013. Prior to joining USDA, Robert was vice president for land conservation at Environmental Defense Fund where he focused on developing incentives to reward stewardship on private lands. Robert has master’s degrees from Duke in forestry and environmental management. He lives with his wife, Julie, and daughter, Lilly, in Loudoun County, Virginia.
1:15 - 1:45 pm | Panel Discussion: Update on USDA Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities Grant Projects

1:15 - 1:45 pm | Panel Discussion: Update on USDA Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities Grant Projects

This panel discussion will include several innovative organic agriculture projects that have been made possible through USDA Climate Smart Grants. Carbon insetting, region-specific approaches, and educational campaigns to grow demand for climate-smart products are a few of the big organic ideas made possible as part of USDA’s $3.1 billion investment. Organic is the original climate-smart agriculture, and these transformative projects have plenty to teach us about improving agriculture and growing the marketplace.

1:45 - 2:15 pm | Keynote Helena Bottemiller Evich in conversation with Leah Douglas

Keynote Helena Bottemiller Evich in conversation with Leah Douglas

Award-winning journalist Helena Bottemiller-Evich will discuss her leading coverage of the alarming national shortage of baby formula last year with Reuters journalist Leah Douglas. Although organic baby food and formula is much more regulated than conventional, and the organic baby food market is robust with steady growth, there are important lessons for the organic sector from this supply crisis.

Helena Bottemiller Evich | Founder and Editor-in-chief of Food Fix

Helena Bottemiller Evich is the founder and editor-in-chief of Food Fix, a new online publication about food policy in Washington and beyond.

 

 

 

 

Leah Douglas | Reporter at Reuters

Leah Douglas is a reporter covering agriculture and energy policy at Reuters. 

2:15 - 2:45 pm | Panel Discussion: Nutrition Equity

Panel Discussion: Nutrition Equity

Ensuring an abundant and equitable food system is among the most pressing human health concerns. During this Farm Bill season, our thoughtful conversation with nationally recognized food policy innovators will illuminate what is possible when we acknowledge that food is medicine, and make thoughtful choices about how to best fuel bodies and minds, while sustaining cultures and empowering communities.

2:45 - 3:15 pm | Panel Discussion: Shoring up the Demand Side – Pinpointed Market Development to Support Transitioning Farmers

Panel Discussion: Shoring up the Demand Side – Pinpointed Market Development to Support Transitioning Farmers

The final element of USDA’s Organic Transition Initiative (OTI) to be realized is a $100 million investment in Pinpointed Market Development Support. OTI is intended to help producers bring more organic crops to market, but without work on the demand side, farmers could be left without a market for their products. Where are the demand signals coming from? A panel of consumer product trend and innovation experts will discuss areas where work could be done to create links between growers and buyers, increase processing capacity for organic commodities, and foster international trade opportunities for organic crops – including minor crops (such as rotational crops) with smaller markets.

3:15 - 3:25 pm | Congressional Greetings

Members of Congress will share greeting messages and information about organic priorities and legislative opportuntities with OTA members in a series of recorded messages.

3:25 - 3:55 pm | Keynote: Roger Cryan PhD, Chief Economist, American Farm Bureau Federation

Keynote: Roger Cryan PhD | Chief Economist, American Farm Bureau Federation 

In light of rising food prices, supply chain issues such as a shrinking labor pool, transportation price increases, weather-related crop issues, and conflicts in key agricultural zones, Roger Cryan, Chief Economist at American Farm Bureau will provide his outlook for the nation’s food and ag economy, particularly as it relates to premium, value-added products. Organic products are made with human, planetary and rural economic health top of mind – but as a result, they do carry a premium in the marketplace. How will they perform in the marketplace in the coming years?

 

Dr. Roger Cryan is an award-winning government leader and expert agricultural economist, with a successful record in team development, leading data collection and analysis, and working across programs and agencies on a diverse range of issues. Leader in farmer advocacy as a long-time association executive, supporting the interests of agriculture and the public, developing and leading effective policy solutions. Ph.D. economist with expertise in marketing, agricultural policy, animal welfare, quantitative analysis, and government administration. Long-time community leader, coach, and volunteer.

 

3:55 - 4:25 pm | Panel Discussion: For the Long Haul: Supporting Diverse Business Partners Beyond the Certification Process

Panel Discussion: For the Long Haul: Supporting Diverse Business Partners Beyond the Certification Process 

This panel discussion will explore tangible steps that businesses can take to help increase BIPOC diversity into their supply chains. It will discuss barriers, after certification, that leave marginalized producers/processors far from understanding what it takes to enter into the larger organic supply chain.

Closing Remarks - 4:25 - 4:35 pm
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4:25 - 4:35 PM | Closing Remarks


 

EVENING ORGANIC PAC FUNDRAISER | 5:30 – 7:30 PM
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5:30 – 7:30 PM | Organic PAC Fundraiser

Organic Political Action Committee (PAC) supporters are invited to attend our Organic PAC fundraiser Wednesday night. Join us for a fun spirit tasting at Mercy Me Garden Patio from 5:30 - 7:30 pm. 

The suggested minimum donation to attend is $125; If you work for an OTA member company that has granted Organic PAC prior authorization OR your business is a sole proprietorship or an LLC,  you are eligible to support the OTA Organic PAC today and can contribute here to attend the event. If you work for an OTA member company that holds a corporate tax status, but has not yet granted Organic PAC prior solicitation authorization you can do so here

Advocacy Day │ Thursday, May 11, 2023
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Advocacy Day│Thursday, May 11, 2023

With the Farm Bill back on the Congressional agenda, this year’s Advocacy Day and hill visits are critical to the advancement of organic. Members will work in small teams to attend hundreds of pre-scheduled meetings across Capitol Hill advocating for our 2023 organic policy priorities to ensure responsive organic standards, thriving American farmers, and resilient supply chains. If you are attending Organic Week and have not yet signed up for Hill Visits, please contact Laura Holm to get involved. 

7:30 am │ Breakfast is served in the pre-function hallway with seating in Mainstage Room 9.

8:00 am │Breakfast Remarks by Jennifer Tucker, PhD, USDA Deputy Administrator for the National Organic Program

Join Jennifer (Jenny) Tucker, PhD, for breakfast and an informal opportunity to discuss current NOP initiatives and any questions you may have. After which, the trade association's Senior Director of Government Affairs Peter Mihalick will provide a send-off for a productive day advocating for organic on Capitol Hill. Advocacy Day participants, please visit the Advocacy Day Resource Center for everything you need for a successful day of Hill visits, and contact Peter Mihalick with any questions or concerns. 

Advocacy Day Resource Center