Home Issue 2017-10-06 Organic Farmers Association Hires Policy Director, Elects Committee

Organic Farmers Association Hires Policy Director, Elects Committee

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Organic Farmers Association (OFA), a national membership organization for certified organic farmers sponsored by Rodale Institute, has announced a new Policy Director and elected its first Policy Committee. This new leadership will facilitate OFA’s policy platform created by certified organic farmer members.

Mark Rokala will serve as Policy Director and lead policy work, under the direction of the newly elected policy committee and coordinating closely with OFA Director Kate Mendenhall and Steering Committee Chair Jim Riddle. Mark will be leading work on the farm bill, helping identify farmer members’ policy priorities, connecting members with Congressional leaders, and ensuring that our federal policies help support thriving independent organic farmers.

Mark Rokala has more than 28 years of experiences in agriculture policy, with twenty-three of those years working on state and federal agricultural policy. He worked for seven years as a congressional staffer on Capitol Hill and 16 years as a lobbyist in D.C. focusing on agricultural and food policy.

“The Organic Farmers Association is excited to welcome Mark Rokala as our Policy Director,” said Jim Riddle. “Given the proven power of organic production to promote soil health, produce healthy food, and restore rural economic vitality, organic farmers must make our voices heard in D.C. Mark has a great deal of experience working on federal farm policy, and will help members of Congress and federal agencies understand the importance of investing in and protecting organic systems.”

The first elected Policy Committee is made up of 12 voting certified organic farmer members and six advisory organizational members. Committee members are regionally diverse and reflect the national diversity of organic farms. The Policy Committee will facilitate OFA’s policy platform, created by certified organic farmer members. From its start in the fall of 2016, Organic Farmers Association has been working to build and support a farmer-led national organic farmer movement with a strong voice advocating for organic farmers. This first Policy Committee will help guide this work forward from the ground up.

2017 Policy Committee includes:
California Region Farmer Representatives (Voting)
Kenneth Kimes, Greensward / New Natives, LLC, Aptos, CA
Mark McAfee, Organic Pastures, Fresno, CA

California Region Organization Representative (Advisory: Non-Voting)
David Runsten, Policy Director, Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Davis, CA

Western Region Farmer Representatives (Voting)
Bob Quinn, Quinn Farm & Ranch, Big Sandy, MT
Pryor Garnett, Garnetts Red Prairie Farm, Sheridan, OR

Western Region Organization Representative (Advisory: Non-Voting)
Kristina Hubbard, Director of Advocacy, Organic Seed Alliance, Missoula, MT

North Central Region Farmer Representatives (Voting)
Francis Thicke, Radiance Dairy Fairfield, IA
Harriet Behar, Sweet Springs Farm, Gays Mills, WI

North Central Region Organization Representative (Advisory: Non-Voting)
Matthew Miller, Policy Committee Member, Iowa Organic Association, Ames, IA

Midwest Region Farmer Representatives (Voting)
Michael Adsit, Plymouth Orchards, Plymouth, MI
Hannah Smith-Brubaker, Village Acres Farm & FoodShed, Mifflintown, PA

Midwest Region Organization Representative (Advisory: Non-Voting)
Casey Trinkaus, Livestock & Poultry Specialist, The Fertrell Company, Bainbridge, PA

Southern Region Farmer Representatives (Voting)
Laura Freeman, Mt. Folly Farm, Winchester, KY
Jennifer Taylor, Lola’s Organic Farm, Glenwood, GA

Southern Region Organization Representative (Advisory: Non-Voting)
Michael Sligh, Program Director, Rural Advancement Foundation International, Pittsboro, NC

Northeast Region Farmer Representatives (Voting)
Rodney Graham, Oxbow Organic Farm, Hunt, NY
Dave Chapman Long Wind Farm, East Thetford, VT

Northeast Region Organization Representative (Advisory: Non-Voting)
Edward Maltby Executive Director, Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance, Deerfield, MA

 

 

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