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    OTA Opens First D.C. Office

    The Organic Trade Association has opened its first office in the nation’s capital, in the Hall of the States at 444 North Capitol Street, NW.

    The Organic Trade Association has opened its first office in the nation’s capital, in the Hall of the States at 444 North Capitol Street, NW. The opening of the office, which is located just three blocks from Capitol Hill, marks the 25th anniversary of the Greenfield, Mass.-based trade organization, according to OTA executive director and CEO Christine Bushway.

    In addition to its new D.C. office, OTA is ramping up its policy and advocacy staff. Laura Batcha has been promoted to the position of chief of policy and external relations, from her former post of director for marketing and public relations. In her new role, Batcha will continue to be based at the Greenfield office, but will spend more time in Washington. Bushway will work from the D.C. office, along with an as-yet-unfilled legislative and advocacy position.

    “The physical office space — along with OTA’s augmented government relations staff and members’ continued participation on our policy task forces —will give OTA a more solid footing from which to advocate in Washington for organic agriculture,” noted Bushway, explaining that monies pledged to OTA’s 2010 Annual Fund will provide the financial foundation of this enhanced government relations program.

    Working on the policy front throughout its 25-year history, OTA envisions its government relations program will play an even more vital role in the coming days and years. Issues ranging from food safety to climate change, from National Organic Program (NOP) funding to emerging non-food standards, continue to be critical to the organic sector.

    The organization will host its 2010 Policy Conference and Hill Visit Days in the Hall of the States facility, which offers such amenities as meeting rooms, conference space and a library of resources for those working in the public policy arena, on April 14 and April 15. Scheduled events include two days of morning education and afternoon Hill visits, meals and a reception celebrating the 25th anniversary of OTA, the 20th anniversary of the Organic Food Production Act, and the 10th anniversary of NOP. For additional details on the Policy Conference and Hill Visit Days, visit www.ota.com/advocacy/events.html.

    OTA, the business association for organic agriculture and products in North America, counts among its members growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers’ associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants and retailers, among others.

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