OTA Heading to Vermont
The Organic Trade Association (OTA), which has been based in Greenfield, Mass, since 1990, will relocate its headquarters to the Graduate Center building in downtown Brattleboro, Vt., this fall.
“This move by the Organic Trade Association to Vermont is a testament to the importance of organic agriculture in our state and the leadership and entrepreneurial spirit found here,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). A longtime collaborator with the OTA on organic policy matters, Leahy, now the second most senior member of the U.S. Senate, wrote and passed the Organic Foods Production Act as part of the 1990 Farm Bill when he was chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. In 2009, he was the first recipient of the organization’s Public Servant Award, which honors those in government who have played major roles in organic agriculture and trade policies.
“Marlboro College Graduate Center’s state-of-the-art facility in downtown Brattleboro will provide a nice complement to OTA’s Washington, D.C., office,” noted Christine Bushway, the association’s executive director and CEO. Vermont is an appropriate location for OTA, added Bushway, since the state is “well respected for its interest and support for organic agriculture, sustainability, and green initiatives, particularly at this time when OTA is marking its 25th anniversary, and celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Organic Foods Production Act.”
According to the 2008 Organic Production Survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Vermont ranked 10th in the nation for number of organic farms, and took eighth position for organic sales by state, at nearly $73 million.
The Vermont Economic Progress Council has approved up to $86,300 in Vermont Employment Growth Incentives to enable OTA to relocate to the Green Mountain State, including membership acquisition and retention, public relations, marketing, regulatory review and tracking, support services for legislative activities and administration of USDA and other grants, instead of remaining in Massachusetts or consolidating operations in Washington.
The Graduate Center building is already home to a USDA service center serving all of Windham County. The center encompasses the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Rural Development and Windham County Conservation District.