The Organic Trade Association (OTA) and National Latino Farmers and Ranchers (NLFR) announced a new strategic alliance that will help both organizations strengthen their impact on national public policy.
OTA is the leading voice for the organic trade in the US, representing over 9,500 organic businesses across 50 states. NLFR, which represents Latino farming and ranching advocacy groups, farmworkers transitioning into farm ownership, and small-scale producers across the United States, joined the association this month as the newest member of its Farmer Advisory Council (FAC).
For nearly a decade, FAC has served as a critical link between OTA and the farmers and ranchers represented by association members. FAC amplifies organic and transitioning-to-organic farmer voices by giving them a direct say in the trade association’s policy and priority-setting processes. According to a press release, this important collaboration between OTA and NFLR enhances both organizations’ ability to grow and protect US organic agriculture and advance their shared federal policy agendas.
“At the farmers’ markets, on the farm, and at the store – wherever we are selling – our customers are asking us about whether or not our products are certified organic,” says NLFR Executive Director Rudy Arredondo. “We want to be able to serve more of those customers and to bring that price premium to more of our producers, but our farmers and ranchers need support to make the transition. Our partnership with the Organic Trade Association will amplify our advocacy and help us get more Latino producers connected with organic.”
Founded in 2004, NLFR’s mission is to organize, engage, and empower Latino farmers and ranchers and the advocacy organizations that provide them with training and technical support.
NLFR is a leading voice on agricultural and rural policy, actively working with its members to amplify Latino producer and producer association voices on Capitol Hill. As part of FAC, NFLR will be even better positioned to elevate historically underserved producers. NLFR will work with OTA to educate their members about the benefits of organic certification and help those interested to join the growing number of farmers and ranchers transitioning to organic.
“This is an important partnership for the Organic Trade Association, one that will help us to be a better partner and ally to the many farmers and ranchers out there who are dedicated to sustainable agriculture, but not yet organic certified,” says OTA Executive Director and CEO Laura Batcha. “I’m thrilled to have NFLRTA as part of the OTA community and look forward to the fresh insights and perspectives they bring to the Farmers Advisory Council.”
FAC members select their representation on the council independently. New Mexico-based farmer and advocate Eugene Pickett, who also serves as NFLR Operations Manager, will represent NFLR on the council.
Pickett is also the Owner-Operator of Black Farmers and Ranchers New Mexico and an active member of the National Rural Coalition/ Coalición Rural, New Mexico Food & Agriculture Policy Council, New Mexico Farmers Marketing Association, Albuquerque NAACP, and the New Mexico African American Chamber of Commerce.
NLFR farmer members who are certified organic and whose income from farming is less than $250,000 per year are eligible for OTA’s Farmstead membership and may choose to become a direct member of the association for an annual membership fee of just $50.00. Farmstead members receive the full benefits of OTA membership at a reduced rate, including the right to vote in the association’s annual Board of Directors election.