November 16th, 2009 | melody | Comments Off on USDA Makeover
If you are a bit of a news junkie, or spend a good bit of time in the “Wonk Room”, or simply just can’t get enough of all things related to organic, then you probably know that Tom Vilsak is our current Secretary of Agriculture, appointed under the Obama Administration. Since his appointment we are seeing some very nice developments within this department, beginning with the hiring of Kathleen Merrigan as the USDA’s Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. She is a veteran of the organic industry and knows her way around D.C. Her appointment is good news for our industry.
We continue to see positive strides with the hiring of Miles McEvoy as Deputy Administrator of the National Organic Program (NOP). “Miles McEvoy has worked in the field of organic agriculture for more than two decades and has a solid understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the organic community,” Vilsack said after hiring McEvoy. Vilsack also announced that the NOP will become an independent program area within the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) as a result of the increased visibility and emphasis on organic agriculture throughout the farming community, evolving consumer preferences, and the enhanced need for governmental oversight of this widely expanded program. The Obama administration made it clear during their campaign that organically grown and marketed products would be taken seriously and they seem to be following through with their promise as the NOP will be receiving increased funding and staffing for the new fiscal year.
It should be exciting to watch as a more supported and strengthened National Organic Program emerges. There is a new wind that is beginning to blow for the organic industry in Washington, DC . . . and the breeze feels nice.