Organic PAC—cultivating champions

Have you ever wondered what exactly this thing called Organic PAC is? What does “It” do, and why is “It” important to the organic industry? Short answer: Organic PAC is one of the most critical tools available to cultivate champions of organic on the Hill in Washington, D.C.

In a city with multiple competing interests and many groups advocating for the time and attention of lawmakers, a robust Political Action Committee (PAC) provides a way for the Organic Trade Association to engage and cultivate relationships with policymakers to advance the organic sector’s interests. Bottom line: without a sound PAC, our voice can be lost in the clamor despite the fact that we have a great success story to tell.  Having a strong PAC magnifies our voice and gets the attention of lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle who make significant decisions affecting organic and your business every day! 

Compared to the size of PACs in the food and agriculture industry, Organic PAC is a small blip on the radar screen. However, Organic PAC is incredibly important to the organic sector. It is solely fueled by voluntary contributions from the Organic Trade Association membership base—whether through PAC events to raise funds toward Organic PAC, opportunities for payroll deduction (coming soon), or direct donations. Raising funds gets complicated because federal election laws impose strict limits on soliciting contributions.

Please know that the Organic Trade Association isn’t being secretive when it does not share details or invites on upcoming PAC events. It is not personal, but necessary to abide by the law because we must have written prior approval on record from a company or individual to share event details or invitations. You can obtain a request for a prior approval form by reaching out to the Organic Trade Association offices.

Organic PAC supports candidates at the federal level who share common beliefs on organic and support our industry. We thank Members of Congress and candidates who are, or who can be, influential in protecting and promoting the interests of the organic sector. Organic PAC is a way for us to show our appreciation to those who are supportive of, protective to, and fighting for our issues. It helps us establish and build new relationships to expand support for organic in public policy.

Since January, the Organic PAC Committee appointed by the Organic Trade Association’s Board of Directors has identified potential champions based on several factors including committee assignment, House and Senate leadership, new Members, organic footprints within a Member’s district, and general interest in organic. Thinking outside of the box, we have cultivated new friends on both sides of the aisle, and will continue to do so.

Organic PAC has set attainable but lofty development goals to reach more Members of Congress over the next two years. We aim to elevate the status of the organic sector to be more closely aligned with the impact that we have on the greater agriculture and U.S. economy.

As the organic market grows at a robust pace, our presence on Capitol Hill through Organic PAC must keep pace as well. It is a vital tool in federal advocacy and necessary to sustain a positive future. If you have any questions or want further information, Organic Trade Association staff is here to assist you. //

Kelley Poole is the Organic Trade Association’s Vice President for Government Affairs and chair of Organic PAC Committee (