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30 Days of Thanksgiving – Day 21: OATF

What? No photo? I totally failed on this one. I brought my camera along to our first Organic Advisory Task Force meeting, and I forgot to ask for a group photo.

So, what is the OATF, and why am I thankful for them?

The Organic Advisory Task Force is a group of 15 individuals from around the state of Minnesota who meet a couple of times a year to discuss the organic industry in our state. We then advise the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and the University of Minnesota on policy and research issues. The group is made up of farmers, processors, distributors, certifying agencies, University faculty, a non-profit general farm organization representing farmers, and the public.

The coolest thing about this group, besides the people, is that farmers get to hear from consumers (processors, distributors and the public) as well as the certifying agencies and the faculty, and everyone else gets to hear from the farmers. I love how we all come together with the goal of finding a consensus on the issues facing the organic industry. I am thankful for the opportunities that we have to share with each other, and the friendships that are made.

On Tuesday, the new 3 year term began. We were able to hear from a Deputy Commissioner of Ag and Deans from the University of Minnesota. We also had a chance to share what the concerns are in the area we represent. We had some really good discussions! One thing that was made clear to the Deans, is that with funding sources shrinking all the time, that they hire faculty that is friendly towards organic agriculture. We realize the importance of shared research and resources, and know that there are many research areas that benefit both organic and conventional agriculture. We are not a group of extremists that are hell bent on taking down anyone. We focus on ways to support and educate what the organic farming and food system is about.

I am thankful for all of the members of this Task Force, and I am thankful that I have been given the opportunity to serve as their chair.

 

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Posted in 30 Days, 30 Days of Thanksgiving, agriculture, choices, Organic and tagged as , , , , ,
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