09.15.10

Vermont Farmer Testifies Before Senate Panel, On Organics - Live Webcast Information

Today’s Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on Organics will be webcast starting at 10 a.m. To access the live webcast, go to the Senate Agriculture Committee’s main site at http://ag.senate.gov/site/index.html and then click the “Live Webcast”  link at the bottom of the home page.  Or, go directly to http://ag.senate.gov/site/webcast.html .

The webcast will stream in real time (a short delay may be expected depending on internet connection speed) and can easily be viewed on any computer with Adobe Flash Player, and it is compatible with Internet Explorer, Firefox Mozilla, Netscape, Opera, and Safari.

Leahy Chairs Agriculture Committee Hearing On Organics’ Past, Present And Future --

This fall marks the 20th anniversary of the law, authored by Senator Patrick Leahy, that established the national organic standards and labeling program.  Leahy will chair a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing this Wednesday, "The National Organic Law At 20: Sowing Seeds For a Bright Future."  The hearing will feature testimony from a Vermont organic farmer, as well as from other organic producers.  Leading off will be Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan, who heads the Obama Administration's efforts to strengthen support for organic agriculture.  Merrigan, the number two official at USDA, was on Leahy's Agriculture Committee staff when he wrote the organic law and worked with him in drafting it.  Leahy now is the most senior Agriculture Committee member of either party.

In addition to Leahy as the father of the U.S. organic program, another indication of Vermont's leading role in the organic movement came two weeks ago when the Organic Trade Association (OTA) announced it is moving its headquarters to Brattleboro.

A list of witnesses at today’s hearing follows, in the committee’s hearing notice:

Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry

Full Committee Hearing

The National Organic Law at 20:  Sowing Seeds for a Bright Future

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 — 10:00 am

328A Russell Senate Office Building

Witness List

Panel 1

Hon. Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC 

Panel 2

Ms. Regina Beidler, Beidler Family Farm, Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative and Board of Directors, NOFA Vermont, Randolph Center, VT 

Mr. Will Harris, White Oak Pastures, President, Georgia Organics Board of Directors, Bluffton, GA 

Mr. Michael Sligh, Founding Chairman of USDA National Organic Standards Board, on behalf of the National Organic Coalition, Pittsboro, NC 

Ms. Sarah Bird, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Annie’s Homegrown, and Vice President, Organic Trade Association Board of Directors, Napa, CA 

Press Contact

David Carle: 202-224-3693