WASHINGTON, Jan. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Organic Trade Association (OTA), headquartered in Greenfield, Massachusetts, has opened its first Washington, D.C., office in the Hall of the States at 444 North Capitol Street, NW.
Christine Bushway, OTA's Executive Director and CEO, made the announcement, saying, "OTA is very excited about achieving this milestone at the beginning of its 25th anniversary year. This office, located three blocks from Capitol Hill, will help the trade association increase its visibility and effectiveness in D.C. with Congress, the Executive Branch and all regulatory agencies including the National Organic Program housed at USDA."
The Hall of the States (http://sso.org) is home to many Washington offices of the 50 states, U.S. territories and associations of state officials, as well as to college and university offices and associations. More than 90 organizations have office space there.
"Not only is this building within view of the U.S. Capitol, it also offers a host of amenities that will expand our capabilities, from meeting rooms and conference space to a library of resources for those working in the public policy arena," Bushway added.
In conjunction with opening the D.C. office, OTA is scaling up its policy and advocacy staff. Laura Batcha, formerly OTA's Director for Marketing and Public Relations, has been promoted to OTA's Chief of Policy and External Relations. Batcha will continue to be based at the Greenfield office but will devote more time in D.C. in her new role. In addition to Bushway, a new legislative and advocacy position will be filled and based out of the D.C. office.
"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," said 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.
OTA members and others within the organic business community will have the opportunity to experience the Hall of the States facilities first hand April 14-15 when OTA hosts its 2010 Policy Conference and Hill Visit Days there. The events will include two days of morning education and afternoon Hill visits, meals, and a celebratory reception marking the 25th anniversary of OTA, the 20th anniversary of the Organic Food Production Act, and NOP's tenth anniversary. For more details on the upcoming Policy Conference and Hill Visit Days, visit http://www.ota.com/advocacy/events.html.
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. 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 (www.ota.com).
SOURCE Organic Trade Association