“We are up against an incredibly sophisticated agricultural machine driven by pesticides and fossil fuel that is destroying our soil and jeopardizing our short and long-term health. A $30 million-plus annual war chest will build expertise and capacity for organic farming in the United States, and educate uninformed consumers about organic food and farming. I thus urge my organic comrades to put in place a solid organic check-off program that will benefit organic farmers and processors, as well as help drive positive change generally in our food system.”
David Bronner, President, Dr. Bronner’s
The GRO Organic Core Committee, in collaboration with the Organic Trade Association (OTA), submitted an application to USDA for an Organic Check-Off program after three years of dialog with the organic sector. The GRO Organic Core Committee is a subset of the larger Organic Research and Promotion Program Steering Committee. It includes subcommittee chairs and other industry leaders who built on the outreach and input from the larger advisory group to help guide decision-making and next steps as the framework for an organic check-off developed.
Laura Batcha is the CEO/Executive Director of the Organic Trade Association (OTA). OTA is a membership business association that represents 8,500 businesses in organic including growers, ranchers, handlers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, certifiers, and regional farming associations.
Perry Clutts is owner of Pleasantview Farms, his family’s certified organic dairy operation in Ohio. A passionate supporter of the organic community for 15 years, he transitioned his family’s 133-year-old farm to an organic grass-based dairy.
Kim Dietz is Senior Manager of Compliance and Industry Relations for Smucker Natural Foods Inc. Smucker manufactures and distributes retail organic fruit juices, ancient grains, and other quality products under numerous brands.
Melissa Hughes is General Counsel & Director of Government Affairs for Organic Valley. Organic Valley is the nation’s largest and oldest organic dairy cooperative.
Marty Mesh is Executive Director of Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers Inc. (FOG). FOG is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation which operates two programs: Education & Outreach and Quality Certification Services.
Melody Meyer is Vice President for Policy & Industry Relations for UNFI. UNFI is the leading national distributor of organic and natural foods and specialty food products in the United States and Canada.
Robynn Shrader is CEO of National Co+op Grocers. Formerly known as the National Cooperative Grocers Association, National Co+op Grocers is made up of member co-ops representing 144 stores in 38 states.