Washington, D.C. -(January 7, 2014) The Organic Trade Association (OTA) today announced the appointment of a new CEO/Executive Director, with Laura Batcha now on board as the fourth executive director in the association’s 29-year history. OTA is the North American membership-based trade association whose mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy.
Batcha most recently served as OTA’s Executive Vice President and Interim Co-Executive Director.
“I am certain that with Laura’s executive leadership at OTA, we are well positioned for success in the coming years,” said Melody Meyer, President of OTA’s Board of Directors. Meyer added, “OTA has achieved many major milestones during the past few years, including establishing a Farmers Advisory Council (FAC), creating a bi-partisan Political Action Committee, and bringing The Organic Center under the OTA umbrella. OTA also has begun the critical conversation of exploring the potential for an Organic Research and Promotion Program.”
“Organic food and farming, with their entrepreneurial spirit and proven benefits to public health and the environment, make a real difference in the lives of both farmers and consumers. At the same time, organic commerce is also making an increasingly significant contribution to the economy as a whole,” said Batcha, OTA’s incoming CEO/Executive Director. She added, “I look forward to working directly with OTA members and its Board to strengthen the integrity of organic, enhance the business climate to support the increasing consumer demand for organic products, and advance the goal of increasing acres under organic production.”
Batcha currently serves as the Chair of OTA’s Political Action Committee. She has been appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture and has served as a representative of the organic industry on two separate Federal Advisory Committees. The first, AC21, advises on issues related to coexistence of biotechnology and organic and identity-preserved agriculture. The second, APAC, is the agricultural policy advisory committee dedicated to international trade. In her new role as CEO/Executive Director, she also will serve on the Board of Trustees for The Organic Center, an independent non-profit research and education organization operating under the administrative auspices of the Organic Trade Association.
Prior to today’s appointment, Batcha served the Organic Trade Association in multiple capacities over the past six years. She was first hired as Marketing and Public Relations Director, became Chief of Policy and External Relations, and lastly, served as Executive Vice President immediately prior to her appointment as CEO and Executive Director. In addition to her work at OTA, Batcha brings 20 years of direct experience as a certified organic producer and handler, and more than 10 years of hands-on experience in the private sector of the organic industry.
Having worked across all parts of the organic sector including organic farming, processing and business development, she looks forward to strengthening OTA’s position as a unifying voice for the industry.
“An engaged OTA membership of farmers, ranchers, handlers, manufactures and retailers—large and small—can achieve great things when working together,” Batcha said.
OTA headquarters are in Washington, D.C., with offices and staff in Vermont, California, and Oregon.
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. OTA is the leading voice for organic trade in the United States, representing over 6,500 organic businesses across 49 states. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers’ associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA’s Board of Directors is democratically elected by its members. OTA’s mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy.