In a bid to help traditionally underserved farmers and ranchers, a Latino trade group is forming a new alliance with the Organic Trade Association.
As demand for organic produce rises and in an effort to help growers connect with organic-seeking consumers, the National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association (NLFRTA) and the Organic Trade Association (OTA) have formed a strategic alliance. Through this alliance, the NLFRTA will become a part of OTA’s Farmer Advisory Council, and work with OTA to educate and guide its members on organic certification.
Since 2004, the NLFRTA has represented Latino farming and ranching advisory groups, farmworkers transitioning into farm ownership and small-scale producers across the United States. As members of the Farmer Advisory Council, the group and its embers will have a voice in priority-setting processes and policy-making at the Washington, D.C.-based OTA, which represents more than 9,500 total organic businesses around the country.
“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,” said Rudy Arredondo, executive director of the NLFRTA. “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.”
Added Laura Batcha, OTA’s executive director and CEO: "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.”
The NLFRTA will be represented on the council by New Mexico-based farmer and advocate Eugene Pickett, who serves as that group’s operations manager. He also is 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.