WASHINGTON — The Organic Trade Association here said Tuesday it has named Laura Batcha as its new CEO and executive director.
Batcha most recently was OTA’s EVP and interim co-executive director, and has worked at the organization in several capacities during the last six years. David Gagnon, OTA’s COO, had been the other interim co-executive director.
Christine Bushway, who had been CEO of the OTA since 2008, left that position in October to pursue other interests, a spokeswoman for the association told SN.
Batcha was first hired by the OTA as marketing and public relations director, became chief of policy and external relations before she was named EVP. In addition to her work at OTA, Batcha brings 20 years of direct experience as a certified organic producer and handler, and more than 10 years of hands-on experience in the private sector of the organic industry.
“I am certain that with Laura’s executive leadership at OTA, we are well positioned for success in the coming years,” said Melody Meyer, president of OTA’s board of directors, ina statement. “OTA has achieved many major milestones during the past few years, including establishing a Farmers Advisory Council (FAC), creating a bi-partisan Political Action Committee, and bringing The Organic Center under the OTA umbrella. OTA also has begun the critical conversation of exploring the potential for an Organic Research and Promotion Program.”
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Batcha currently serves as the chair of OTA’s Political Action Committee. She has been appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture and has served as a representative of the organic industry on two separate Federal Advisory Committees.
"Organic food and farming, with their entrepreneurial spirit and proven benefits to public health and the environment, make a real difference in the lives of both farmers and consumers. At the same time, organic commerce is also making an increasingly significant contribution to the economy as a whole,” said Batcha, in a statement. “I look forward to working directly with OTA members and its board to strengthen the integrity of organic, enhance the business climate to support the increasing consumer demand for organic products, and advance the goal of increasing acres under organic production.”
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