Laura Batcha is CEO and Executive Director of the Organic Trade Association which is meeting in Washington, D.C. this week.
Organic appears to be going mainstream. USDA certification of organic production has allowed the word "Organic" to become one of the three top trademark words for foods. Wal-mart is planning to expand sales of organic products in its stores in the United States.
Batcha speaks of the challenges of growth while maintaining standards and developing an organic "checkoff" that will do as much, or more, than other checkoff programs for commodities.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Yin Woon Rani, CEO of MilkPEP. The National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board sees a certain opportunity for growth from a growing health-conscious consumer base. However, fluid milk consumption continues to decline largely due to the fast-paced lifestyle of many Americans today. Yin Woon Rani brings an extensive career in the food industry to her role in promoting milk and educating younger generations about the benefits of milk. MilkPEP collaborates with other dairy promotion groups and is reaching back to a true performer and the “Got Milk” campaign.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Dr. Nathan Pumplin, president and CEO of Norfolk Healthy Produce. Improvements in mechanization, nutrient management and crop protection have helped farmers make tremendous strides in productivity and sustainability, but Pumplin believes the industry is on the cusp of a tremendous revolution of more and better food for consumers through genetic engineering. The company is working with Washington now to gain full commercial status for a purple tomato with improved health benefits for consumers. Pumplin responds to questions on the safety of the science behind the new variety and the regulatory obstacles to growth in the industry.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Cathy Burns, CEO of the International Fresh Produce Association. The group — formed earlier this year by a merger of the United Fresh Produce Association and the Produce Marketing Association — is preparing for the upcoming White House meeting on hunger and nutrition as well as its own gathering in the nation's capital, where Burns says the group’s focus is the ongoing nutritional challenges in the nation and the world. IFPA is watching closely the development of the 2023 farm bill with a special interest in research as well as nutrition programs. Labor remains a top priority for IFPA members, and Burns is hopeful Congress can still address the issue this year.
This week’s Open Mic guest is G.W. Fuhr, Head of branded sales and biofuels for Syngenta. On the sidelines of the 2022 Farm Progress Show, Fuhr discussed the revolution of technology farmers utilize today to accomplish productivity and sustainability goals. Fuhr outlines the company’s expanded role in seed selection and revenue protection. He says Washington’s regulatory hurdles are a challenge for farmers who need crop protection chemistry and companies that want to bring new products to market.
This week’s Open Mic guest is House Ag Ranking Member Glenn “GT” Thompson. At last week's Farm Progress Show, Thompson offered thoughts on crafting a 2023 farm bill including an opportunity to chair the committee if the GOP wins a majority in the November midterms. The Pennsylvania 15th district representative is determined to see the committee do the work to write new farm policy with full committee hearings in Washington and across the country. Thompson favors investigating a shift to margin coverage for commodity programs and supports programs for small and beginning farmers as well as ag businesses. Thompson is critical of a “politically motivated” EPA and favors renewable liquid fuels over mandates for electric vehicles.