Kim Dietz of The J.M. Smucker Company on Wednesday was tapped as the President of the Organic Trade Association’s Board of Directors by fellow Board members. First appointed as an Organic Trade Association director in 2014 by the Board for a three-year term, she was elected by the membership this summer for another three-year term.
Dietz was the top vote getter in the Association’s democratic election process, where each Trade member company gets one vote.
“I have been an active member of the Organic Trade Association in many different capacities over the past 20 years, and am now honored and excited to be chosen to lead this incredible organization,” said Dietz as she took over her new role. She added, “This is an exciting and challenging time for the organic community. I will do my very best to represent the membership and to promote and protect organic.”
Dietz had served as Vice President of the Board since 2016. In her professional life, she is Senior Manager for Environmental, Natural and Organic Policy at The J.M. Smucker Company. She also is currently enrolled in Michigan State University working towards her Master’s degree in Global Food Law.
Dietz succeeds Melissa Hughes of Organic Valley who served as President since 2014.
“Our Board is in great hands with Kim’s depth of experience. We truly thank Melissa for her extraordinary leadership over the past three years and look forward to having her continue on the Executive Committee as this year’s Vice President joining our other new officers,” said Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director of the trade association.
Other officers announced at the Organic Trade Association’s annual members meeting yesterday include Marci Zaroff of Under the Canopy/MetaWear as Secretary, and Rick Collins of Clif Bar and Company as Treasurer.
In the recent Board of Directors election, a record 37 percent of Organic Trade Association member companies voted, electing incumbent Dietz, and seating two new Board members: Britt Lundgren, Director of Organic and Sustainable Agriculture at Stonyfield Farm and Mark Squire, owner of two Good Earth Natural Food stores. In addition, the Board named Bob Kaake of Annie’s Inc. and Mike Menes of True Organic Products to fill two appointed seats.
Completing the Board are Perry Clutts of Pleasantview Farm who was named once again to fill the Board farmer seat, Doug Crabtree of Vilicus Farms, David Lively of Organically Grown Company, Kelly Shea of DanoneWave, and Leslie Zuck of Pennsylvania Certified Organic. Ryan Benn of Alive Publishing Group Inc. holds a Board seat chosen by the Canada Organic Trade Association.
Retiring from the Board are Melody Meyer of UNFI, Tony Bedard of Frontier Natural Products Co-op, Sarah Bird of Bhakti Chai, and Jesse Laflamme of Pete and Gerry’s Organics. First elected to the Board in 2008, Meyer, Bedard and Bird have completed the maximum allowed three terms for at-large elected members. Elected to the Board in 2014, Laflamme completed one three-year term.
Melody Meyer served as President of the Board for the 2013-2014 term. Sarah Bird served as Vice President from 2010--2015, and as Board Secretary from the 2015-2017. Meanwhile, Tony Bedard was Board Treasurer from 2012-2017. In addition, Jesse Laflamme served on the Board’s Governance and Community Relations Committees. At the annual meeting, outgoing directors were recognized for their invaluable service.
In other business, David Will, General Manager of Chino Valley Ranchers, was named Organic Trade Association 2017 Member of the Year. This special recognition of an individual employed by a member company is staff nominated and endorsed by the Organic Trade Association Board. Will was selected for his advocacy for the Organic Trade Association within his company. He has also been instrumental in developing trade association comments, positions and strategy to advance organic poultry production standards. He was commended for being a strong defender and advocate of organic farmers.
Members attending the annual meeting had the opportunity to network and learn more about trade association business before the Annual Organic Leadership Award Celebration took place later that evening.
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. OTA is the leading voice for the organic trade in the United States, representing over 9,500 organic businesses across 50 states. 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 ORGANIC with a unifying voice that serves and engages its diverse members from farm to marketplace.