The Organic Trade Association has chosen its next CEO and executive director. Tom Chapman, who has extensive experience in the organic industry, will replace outgoing OTA leader Laura Batcha on April 18.

“Over his many years in the industry, Chapman has helped to advance certification and compliance, successfully managed global supply chains and managed multi-million dollar contracts, and worked closely with diverse brands, growers, and other organic stakeholders,” OTA said in a news release Tuesday.

For the past year, Chapman has been senior director, supply chain, at Kinder's Premium Quality Seasonings & Sauces in Walnut Creek, Calif. He spent 10 years at Clif Bar in various capacities, was a quality assurance manager at Numi Organic Tea in San Francisco for five years, and spent four years as an international programs and accreditation specialist for Quality Assurance International, a U.S.-based international organic certification company.

Chapman also was on the National Organic Standards Board from 2015-2020, serving as chair for two years, and was a member of the California Organic Products Advisory Committee at the California Department of Agriculture from 2007-2016.

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“I couldn’t imagine a better, more experienced person for this role than Tom,” Batcha said. “Tom has been contributing to the advancement of the organic industry for nearly 20 years and has led many different aspects of the work, which gives him a great sense of the entire organic tapestry. With Tom at the helm and working alongside our capable staff and dedicated members, OTA and organic will continue to thrive.” 

In a brief meeting with reporters Tuesday, Chapman did not go into great detail about the organization’s long-term priorities but said he had developed “close and collaborative relationships with USDA” during his years in the organic industry, which he believes will be helpful as he begins his new job. 

He also said it’s important, given the current backlog of NOSB recommendations to USDA, to focus on ensuring that when a recommendation from the board gains consensus, “that it's carried forward through the National Organic Program [and] its rulemaking. That’s really where it's kind of falling short.”

Chapman, who is a California native, said he will continue to be based there, but will be traveling to Washington, D.C., frequently.

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