Organic Week Day 1

Tuesday, May 14, 2024
Welcome Breakfast8:00 AM - 9:00 AM 
Welcome Remarks9:00 AM - 9:10 AM 
Organic Market Trends & Consumer Insights9:10 AM - 9:40 AM

The organic market continues to grow despite challenging headwinds. Consumers expect to see the full scope of their values reflected in the products they choose – including environmental sustainability, human health, animal welfare, and social justice. This interest and willingness to pay for the beneficial attributes of organic continues to foster industry growth. Join this session for a deeper dive into organic consumer data, hear challenges and opportunities across all product categories, and gain insight into the purchasing patterns and drivers of organic shoppers. 

  • Tom Chapman | Co-CEO | Organic Trade Association
  • Scott Dicker | Market Insights Director | SPINS
Organic Market Opportunity 9:45 AM - 10:10 AM

As the global economy fluctuates and consumers chase trends, organic systems are vulnerable to real challenges that impact every segment of the industry, but opportunity is still ripe. Hear from an organic leader with his eyes set on brighter horizons on how the industry can amplify the value of the organic premium and expand access to more households.   

  • John Foraker | CEO | Once Upon a Farm
Break10:10 AM - 10:25 AM 
Unlocking the Organic Promise: Strategies for Organic Amidst the Proliferation of Eco-Labels10:25 AM - 11:10 AM

“Organic” is a term that has been used for over thirty years to demonstrate the prioritization of sustainable business practices, accountability, trust, and transparency to consumers. But diverse label claims that are stacking up on the front panel of many products are catching shoppers’ attention. The proliferation of eco labels and other claims in B2B discussions and on consumer-facing labels, promotes a wholistic change to agricultural systems but many of these claims have no universal or regulatory definition and they have varying degrees of verification. What do these trends in impact reporting mean for the organic sector, and what are the best methods for protecting the value and integrity of the organic label and promoting the benefits of organic practices in this competitive environment?

  • Krista Kinder | VP of Brand Marketing & Communications | Organically Grown Company
  • Dr. Derric Pennington | Senior Sustainability Scientist | Dept. of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota
  • Paul Schiefer | President | Amy's Kitchen | OTA Board Community Relations Chair
  • Carolyn Gahn | Senior Director, Mission & Advocacy | Applegate
Organic Roots Remain Relevant 11:20 AM - 12:00 PM

While the original motivations for developing organic markets varied, many advocates saw organic as a vehicle for creating resilient regional farm and food economies. This session will explore how CSAs, farmers markets, regional food hubs, grower groups and small holder cooperatives – all remain relevant to the ongoing success of our sector and provide value for our consumers.   

  • Daniella Velazquez de Leon | General Manager | Organic's Unlimited | OTA Board Member
  • Bill Green | Executive Director | The Common Market Southeast
  • Matt Landi | CEO | Vermont Way Foods
  • Ryan Zinn | Regenerative Projects Manager | Dr. Bronners Magic Soaps
Networking Lunch12:05 PM - 1:15 PM 
Organic Agricultural Outlook Breakouts1:15 PM - 2:00 PM
  • Dairy

The organic dairy sector has faced numerous challenges over the past few years, from skyrocketing feed prices to economic pressures stemming from government policies, shifts in the marketing and logistics costs, shake ups in market players, and the impacts of climate change. This session will cover a range of policy topics relevant to the dairy industry, including an update on HAPI in Dairy, updates on USDA programs to ensure a thriving organic diary sector and an initiative addressing the impact of the Federal Milk Marketing Order on the organic sector. Additionally, we will hear from an emerging dairy brand who is leveraging government grants to grow their farm, brand and impact.

        • Adam Warthesen | Director of Government & Industry Affairs | Organic Valley | OTA Board Vice President and Dairy Council Chair
        • Dr. Mark Lyons | Director fo the APHIS Ruminant Health Center | USDA
        • Hayley Painter | Co-Owner | Painterland Sisters
        • Chip English | Partner | Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
        • John Berge | Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs | USDA
  • Ingredients

The Organic Ingredients panel will feature leading experts and businesses, providing the latest market forecasts, factors, and trends, along with expert analysis. Panelists will provide updates on the markets for organic cocoa, sunflower oil, and palm oil. These major ingredients are often paired with other domestically sourced ingredients to make the variety of organic products available on shelves today. However, challenges in the market from world events such as the conflicts in Ukraine and Palestine, and shipping disruptions in Panama and the Red Sea, weather and breakdowns in conventional markets all impact these commodities significantly. This session promises to be a crucial conversation about critical ingredients vital for the processing of organic products. 

      • Hobbs Wolcott | President | Tradin Organic USA
      • Ann Marie Hourigan | Quality Standards Executive Leader | Whole Foods | OTA Board Member
      • Felipe Guerrero | Executive Vice President | Daabon
      • Aaron Iverson | National Sales Manager | Global Organics 
  • Poultry

Poultry and eggs are the two largest sources of animal protein and are vital markets for organic consumers. Recent years have been challenging for the sector, with spikes in organic animal feed prices, ongoing need to access essential nutrients through food additives, and swings on animal welfare rulemaking under organic standards. Additionally, broader factors such as changing consumer interests in meat in younger generations, the impact of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, and changes in state and federal regulations on the poultry industry have presented both opportunities and challenges in producing and marketing organic poultry products. Join a panel of industry leaders for a dialogue on these critical topics. 

      • Stephen Shephard | CEO | Farmer Focus
      • Tracy Favre, P.E. | Vice President Sustainability, Live Operations | Handsome Brook Farms | OTA Board President
      • David Will | General Manager | Chino Valley Ranchers
      • Heidi Diestel | President of Sales & Marketing | Diestel Family Ranch
Networking Break 2:00 PM - 2:15 PM 
Organic Agricultural Outlook Breakouts2:15 PM - 3:00 PM
  • Grains, Oilseeds, and Pulses

The Grains, Oilseeds, and Pulses panel will feature leading experts and businesses, offering recent market forecasts, factors, and trends, along with expert analysis. Panelists will provide updates on the markets for organic soybeans, corn, peas, wheat, and oats. Additionally, the discussion will address policy implications, including the impact of government regulations and programs, trade agreements, and trade disputes. A specific focus will be given to an update on the International Trade Commission (ITC) case concerning organic peas and antidumping measures. 

      • Alexander Schultz | Senior Reporter | Argus Media
      • Nicole Atchison, PhD | CEO | Puris
      • Ed Fish | Vice President, General Manager Varietal Solutions | Bay State Milling | OTA Board Member and Grains Council Chair
      • Sam Raser | Purchasing | Grain Millers
  • Export Opportunities & Challenges

International trade is a critical element of the organic marketplace. With varying regulations and authorities worldwide, trading in organic products can quickly become complex. This panel will bring together experts from both the Organic Trade Association (OTA) and international bodies to address critical issues impacting the organic sector. We will explore global consumer insights related to the organic and USDA labels, provide updates on the status of trade with Canada and the EU, review Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) challenges in accessing the EU market, and discuss new import codes for organic commodities entering Canada. This conversation will be invaluable for anyone involved in international trade within their supply or customer base.

      • Chris Anderson | Senior Trade Advisor | Sustainable Strategies Advisors
      • Sarah Gorman | International Programs Manager | Organic Trade Association
      • Tia Loftsgard | Executive Director | Canada Organic Trade Association
      • Eduardo Cuoco | Director | IFOAM Organics Europe
  • Produce

Organic produce accounts for nearly a third of all organic sales, yet it has experienced slower growth in the past year compared to the overall organic market. Join experts as they discuss a variety of pertinent topics for the produce community, including the economics of produce, market opportunities, and challenges in processed produce. Additionally, we will explore relevant issues that extend beyond organic produce, which could be addressed in the upcoming farm bill. Trade leaders and academics will guide this deep dive into these critical topics.  

      • Paul Mitchell | Director | Renk Agribusiness Institute & Professor | University of Wisconsin, Madison
      • Tim Griffin | Vice President of Global Sourcing | Amy’s Kitchen
      • John McKeon | Director of Organic Integrity & Compliance | Taylor Farms | OTA Produce Council Chair
      • Sara Neagu-Reed | Director of Production & Environmental Policy | International Fresh Produce Association


Networking Break 3:00 PM - 3:15 PM 
Organic Agricultural Outlook Breakouts3:15 PM - 4:00 PM
  • Farm Economy

The Organic Farm Economy panel will delve into a discussion about the financial health and well-being of our most important members—farmers. Expert analysts, academics, and on-the-ground farmers will discuss the latest data, studies, and experiences concerning farm economics and how market forces are impacting the livelihood of America's organic farmers. Panelists will compare returns from organic and conventional farming, discuss recent findings on the state of the organic dairy farm economy, and align these with the firsthand experiences of an organic dairy and grain farmer. 

      • Michael Langemeier | Associate Director | Center for Commercial Agriculture & Professor | Dept. of Agriculture Economics, Perdue University
      • Kellee James | VP of Agriculture North America | Argus Media | OTA Board Member
      • John Berge | Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs | USDA
      • Dan DeSutter | Farmer | DeSutter Farms
      • Chuck Nicholson | Associate Professor | University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Fiber Roundtable

There is always much to discuss in the organic fiber sector, from the impacts of limited cotton supply and investment in U.S. growing and manufacturing, to opportunities for consumer education. Please join other members of the fiber sector for a conversation with OTA Fiber Council Chair on how the Organic Trade Association (OTA) and the community can work collectively to advance the sector. 

  • Hosted by Elizabeth Tigan | Fiber & Textile Specialist, Oregon Tilth | Chair, OTA Fiber Council
  • Sugar/Sweeteners

Organic sweeteners are crucial ingredients for both the vast array of processed organic products and for home shoppers looking to stock their kitchens with organic foods. The U.S. has limited access to domestically produced organic sugar, resulting in the majority being imported under quotas managed by the USDA and USTR. This session will explore the organic sugar market, detailing the processes and challenges involved in ensuring sufficient imports while protecting the domestic market. Additionally, we will delve into other vital organic sweetener markets, such as rice, tapioca, and agave, providing market forecasts, factors, and trends, along with expert analysis. 

      • Dylan Daniels | Senior Policy Advisor, Import Programs, Trade Policy and Geographic Affairs | USDA
      • Tom Chapman | Co-CEO | Organic Trade Association
      • Joe Rouleau | Head of Sustainability | Ciranda
Break4:00 PM - 4:15 PM 
Organic Trade Association Annual Membership Meeting 4:15 PM - 5:00 PM

The Organic Trade Association Board of Directors invites all Organic Week attendees to the Annual OTA Membership Meeting. Whether you’re a seasoned member or a first-time Organic Week attendee, this is a can’t miss session to hear the latest trade association updates directly from the leadership team. You’ll learn about new board members, key trade association priorities, member community updates, and other opportunities for membership engagement. The OTA Board of Directors is excited to celebrate these successes, all Organic Week attendees are welcome to attend. 

  • Organic Trade Association Board of Directors
  • Member Community Council Chairs


Leadership Awards Reception6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

After a productive day of conference programming, you won’t have to go far for this official conference welcome reception to celebrate and  honor the organic community. The Organic Trade Association will present it’s Annual Organic Leadership Awards recognizing individuals who have shown leadership and vision in furthering the goals of the organic movement. We’ll share a toast to honor everyone along the value chain who works to advance organic. 

Hosted by: OTA Board Members Paul Schiefer, President of Amy's Kitchen, and Daniella Velazquez de Leon, General Manager of Organics Unlimited