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The Organic Trade Association (OTA) has hired Gwendolyn Wyard to fill the new position of associate director for organic standards and industry outreach. Wyard will begin her duties March 7.
“OTA is truly pleased to have Gwendolyn join our staff,” noted Christine Bushway, executive director and CEO of the Brattleboro, Vt.-based trade group. “Her years of experience and expertise will prove to be invaluable to our organization.” Wyard has worked with certified organic operations throughout the United States and internationally during her tenure at Oregon Tilth, where her most recent position was as a technical specialist, and possesses extensive knowledge of the National Organic Program (NOP) and National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).
In her new role, Wyard will, along with Laura Batcha, OTA’s chief of policy and external relations, guide the organization’s relations with NOSB, NOP Standards Branch and association members to develop regulatory policy positions and enhance OTA’s leadership in standards development, with the goal of bolstering the integrity of the USDA Organic seal. Wyard will be working from the West Coast to improve outreach to producers and handler members based there.
“OTA has long recognized the need for a stronger West Coast presence,” said Bushway, “The addition of Gwendolyn to the staff is a perfect fit, and she is poised to hit the ground running.”
Wyard has more than 15 years of experience with organic certification at the producer, inspector and certifier level. Among other industry activities, she is co-chair of the Material Working Group, a group that assists NOSB on material-related issues. Wyard will be presented to OTA’s board of directors at its April 5 meeting in Washington, and will attend the association’s Policy Conference and Hill Visit Days to interact with members on April 6-7.
OTA is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America, representing more than 6,500 organic businesses in 49 states. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers' associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants and retailers.