OPN Connect Newsletter 111 · April 18, 2019

Are you an Organic Industry Leader? Here’s How You Can Be.

By Melody Meyer

Organic agriculture creates jobs in our communities, stimulates local economies and supports the next generation of successful farmers. It also creates opportunities for farmers by providing price premiums in a sector experiencing growth well above any other food category. 

The growth happens because of the hard work of organic farms and businesses. It also requires guidance and leadership from individuals who go above and beyond to help steer the organic ship.

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If you’ve ever wondered how you can become one of those organic leaders, there’s never been a better time to dive in. Some of the most valuable committees and governance bodies are looking for new members right now to give their time and service.   

How to Participate on the Federal Level

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is a 15-member advisory committee that considers and makes recommendations on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. It also provides critical input to the USDA Secretary of Ag on other issues involving the production, handling and processing of USDA certified organic products.

USDA is seeking nominees to fill five NOSB vacancies. The Secretary of Agriculture will appoint new members for five-year terms to begin in January 2020. The current vacancies include:

  • One individual with expertise in areas of environmental protection and resource conservation.
  • One individual who owns or operates an organic farming operation or an employee of such individuals.
  • One individual who owns or operates a retail establishment with significant trade in organic products or an employee of such individuals.
  • Two individuals who own or operate an organic handling operation or an employee of such individuals.
Vitalis April 2024

USDA is also accepting nominations of qualified candidates to fill future unexpected vacancies in any of the seven categories representing the scope of the organic agricultural community.

The deadline for nominations is May 20 and the new appointees will be announced this fall.

Criteria for being an NOSB member can be found here.

How to Apply? Written nominations must include a resume and an AD-755 application form. Nominations may also include an optional cover letter and letters of reference.

Nominations should be emailed to

If you Live or do Business in California you can Participate on the State Level

The California Organic Products Advisory Council (COPAC) is a 15-member committee that advises the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) on organic issues. There are currently 12 vacancies on COPAC:

Homegrown Organic Farms April 2024

The Vacancies for 3 Voting Members are:

  • 1 Processor
  • 1 Technical Representative
  • 1 Consumer Representative

 Seats open for Alternate Members include:

  • 2 Producer Alternates
  • 1 Wholesale Distributer Alternate
  • 2 Processor Alternates
  • 1 Environmental Representative Alternate
  • 2 Technical Representative Alternates
  • 1 Accredited Certifier Representative Alternate

To find out more visit the California State Organic Program Page on COPAC.

There are links to “Steps to apply for COPAC membership” and a link to the Prospective Member Appointment Questionnaire.

Interested in Governance of The Organic Trade Association?

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is a membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. They are looking for the next wave of organic leaders and visionaries to serve on their board. The nomination process for new Board members is underway. 

If you are an OTA member and have the commitment and vision to guide the future direction of the trade association, now is the time to apply.

Creekside Organics April 2024

If you believe you are qualified for the role, check out the board commitment form and reach out to Allison Rice, Government Affairs and Engagement Manager for the Organic Trade Association. 

If you care about the integrity of the organic seal, and the growth of organic, now is the time to get involved with any of these opportunities.Going that extra mile and serving the organic industry  is the path to becoming an Organic Industry Leader.

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