OTA Looking for Ideas on Voluntary Checkoff

The Organic Trade Association is looking for the “best and brightest ideas” from organic stakeholders on how to put together a voluntary “checkoff-like” program for the organic sector. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue decided last May that the USDA wouldn’t move forward on a mandatory checkoff for the organic industry. As a result, the private sector initiative is being called “GRO Organic.” Laura Batcha, CEO of the Association, says, “We want GRO Organic to be a bold and engaged opt-in program that pools resources from everyone who can contribute so that we can collectively address critical needs across the organic sector. The need for more investment in organic is widely agreed upon.” She says the best way to go about doing that is what the industry needs to work together to figure out. Melissa Hughes of the Organic Valley Cooperative in Wisconsin, says, “We have a saying at Organic Valley. None of us is as smart as all of us.” Hughes adds that by working together on this idea, the organic industry will continue to be at the center of the good food movement. The deadline to submit ideas to the OTA is April 19, 2019. Ideas can be submitted by email, which can include attachments.