Member engagement: Sector Council updates

Organic Dietary Supplements

The Dietary Supplements Council first convened in August 2016 under the leadership of Bethany Davis from FoodState Inc. The aim of the council is to provide a forum for discussing issues, challenges and opportunities related to dietary supplements and to grow the organic supplement sector.

The inaugural meeting took placed in conjunction with Natural Products Expo East 2016 where the group developed a work plan. The council held its second in-person meeting in conjunction with Natural Products Expo West 2017 where its members discussed the progress made and developed a continuing plan for 2017.

In March, the council participated in a webinar training on the Organic Trade Association’s international activities delivered specifically to the group, by International Trade Director Monique Marez. The council requested the webinar to help the group understand additional ways to get involved with OTA and export opportunities. It has also become engaged in the work of the National Organic Standards Board and the process for reviewing and approving critical inputs needed in organic dietary supplements.

The Council is currently working to build out the Organic Trade Association dietary supplement web page with resources and links to help educate and raise awareness on the requirements and challenges behind the formulation and marketing of organic dietary supplements under USDA’s National Organic Program. It also is developing a panel presentation for retailers at Natural Products Expo East 2017.

The council is now comprised of American Herbal Products Association, Garden of Life, FoodState Inc., New Chapter, Organic India, RFI Ingredients, Richard Siegel Law Offices, Traditional Medicinals, Vitamer Labs, Yerba Prima, The Synergy Company, Clarkson Grain and RIBUS. 

Organic Grain, Pulse and Oilseed

The Organic Grain, Pulse, and Oilseed Council, through its formalized relationship with Sustainable Food Lab, continues to support the ongoing work of the U.S. Organic Grain Collaboration. The Collaboration is currently working in Aroostook County, Maine (an organic dairy development region), and the Northern Great Plains to support profitable expansion of organic grain acres for feed and food.

In northern Maine, the Collaboration is focusing on developing markets for organic produce, which is a necessary rotation on an organic farm looking to grow organic grains. On July 27, growers in Aroostook County and the U.S. Organic Grain Collaboration will invite industry leaders to experience this newly booming agricultural sector and set up growers to meet the industry’s organic produce supply needs of tomorrow.

In the Northern Great Plains, the Collaboration has focused on developing enterprise budgets for the grain rotations typically found in Montana and North Dakota, so that aspiring organic growers can begin to pencil out the long-term financial investments that organic requires. The Collaboration also has helped sponsor an organic field day at North Dakota State University Carrington Research and Extension Center on July 18. The morning field day will focus on plant breeding work Carrington researchers are doing to support the resiliency of organic oats, field peas, and local grains.

The tour will feature General Mills’ Tom Rabey, who will discuss oat breeding and consumer trends in organic, as well as, author and chef, Dan Barber, who will provide attendees with a view into cooking with a variety of grains and pulses.  The field tour will conclude with an afternoon session on soil health, integrating livestock, and proper crop rotations led by University researchers and NRCS staff.

The Collaboration is the main work stream of the Grain, Pulse, and Oilseed Council, but it has also been involved in moving forward additional priorities, including functioning as a forum to help refine farm bill priorities to accommodate the needs of current and future organic grain farmers. The Council has provided the trade association invaluable insight into the global grain trade, which will translate into a more effective effort to develop best practices for the organic industry in curbing imports of fraudulent organic ingredients.

As the Council and the Collaboration wrap up their final few months of work for 2017, they will be looking for continued support from OTA members and for new members to join the ranks contributing both time and resources to moving these important projects forward. For additional information about this work, contact OTA’s Farm Policy Director Nate Lewis.  //