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Miles McEvoy, a member of the Organic Trade Association (OTA), has been chosen to become the new deputy administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) National Organic Program (NOP).
“As organic program manager for [the] Washington State Department of Agriculture’s organic food efforts, Miles has been very active as a longtime member of OTA,” noted the association’s executive director, Christine Bushway. “[We are] confident that, with his experience, he will provide invaluable guidance and clear thinking that will further the integrity of the NOP.”
As an active participant in OTA’s activities, McEvoy most recently served on OTA’s Canada-U.S. Equivalency Task Force and is currently a member of OTA’s Fertilizer Verification Task Force. He also takes part in OTA Member Forums on aquaculture, farm supplies, international trade, and U.S. governmental affairs. Additionally, McEvoy headed the National Association of State Organic Programs, an organization of state officials that provides a forum for discussing the promotion and regulation of the organic farming industry.
The news of McEvoy’s appointment comes at a time of important changes in store for NOP. In May, Kathleen Merrigan, USDA’s Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, said that the department planned to create an internal division dedicated to organic agriculture. Historically, NOP has been part of the Transportation and Marketing Program within USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. Furthermore, efforts are underway to expand staffing at NOP, which would include the addition of compliance and enforcement capability.
In a more recent development, under a review slated for fiscal year 2010, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) National Voluntary Conformity Assessment Systems Evaluation program will examine NOP’s accreditation program to gauge its ongoing conformity with international standards for managing accreditation programs. Receiving such recognition would bolster the program’s credentials as an accrediting body and meet regulatory requirements for NOP to obtain peer review.
Greenfield, Mass.-based OTA is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers’ associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants and retailers.