Governing Council

The Governing Council serves as the governing body of Organic Farmers Association.  Each region is represented by two certified organic farmers and one regional organic farm organization.  Members are elected by OFA farm-members and serve 2-year terms, up to three consecutive terms.  Only our certified organic farm members on the Governing Council have voting rights, while the organization representative serve an important advisory role.

Farmers – Voting

California Farmer Representatives
Judith Redmond, Farmer
Full Belly Farm, Guinda, CA

Steve Beck, Farmer
Kings River Produce, Inc., Hanford, CA

Midwest Region Farmer Representatives
Dave Bishop, Farmer
PrairiErth Farm, Atlanta, IL

Abby Lundrigan, Farmer
Turner Farm, Cincinnati, OH

North Central Region Farmer Representatives
Mike Kelly, Farmer
High Meadow Farm, Johnson Creek, WI

Harriet Behar, Farmer
Sweet Springs Farm, Spring Valley, WI

Western Region Farmer Representatives
Linley Dixon, Farmer
Adobe House Farm, Durango, CO

Marcia Litsinger, Farmer
Churchill Butte Organics, Silver Springs, NV

Southern Region Farmer Representatives
Jennifer Taylor, Farmer
Lola’s Organic Farm, Glenwood, GA

Shawn Peebles, Farmer
Shawn Peebles Organic Farm LLC, Augusta, AR

Northeast Region Farmer Representatives
David Colson, Farmer
New Leaf Farm, Durham, ME

Eve Kaplan-Walbrecht, Farmer
Garden of Eve Organic Farm & Market, Riverhead, NY

Advisory – Non-Voting

California Organization Representative
Phil LaRocca, Chair
California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF)

Midwest Region Organization Representative
Renee Hunt, Program Director
Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA)

North Central Region Organization Representative
David Perkins, President
Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES)

Western Region Organization Representative
Becky Weed, Board of Directors
Montana Organic Association (MOA)

Southern Region Organization Representative
Keith Richards, Program Director
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG)

Northeast Region Organization Representative
Ed Maltby, Executive Director
Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (NODPA)

Sponsor Seat
Sam Malriat
Rodale Institute

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Governing Council Biographies

California

Judith RedmondFarmer – Member-at-Large
Full Belly Farm

I am a co-owner of Full Belly Farm. We have been farming organically since 1985, growing vegetables, fruits, flowers and egg-laying chickens. I believe that collaboration, integrity and coalition-building are a critical part of public discourse, but without an organization speaking out with the authentic point of view of organic farmers, the regulatory structure will continue to favor non-organic models. We need to protect the meaning and integrity of the Certified Organic label, and support the work of family farmers on the NOSB. It is also important that organic agriculture gets a fair share of public research funds.

Steve BeckFarmer
Kings River Produce, Inc.

I have been farming organically since 1990, I have farmed in California, Arizona and Mexico. I enjoy the challenges of organic production and how important it is to feed the soil and not the plant. I believe that the organic community needs to stand united and be transparent in our dealings to show our integrity here in the USA and our commitment to organic production. We must bring all of our voices together, whether we produce plants or livestock organically because we can help each other get into new markets. As a member of the California Organic Products Advisory Committee I help write and evaluate many of the State Organic Program current and future laws and regulations here in the State of California and I believe that this experience will help me make informed and solid decisions at a national level with the OFA Governing Council.

Phil LaRoccaChair
California Certified Organic Farmers, CCOF

Phil and his wife Judy have been farming LaRocca Vineyards since 1984. They started farming 110 acres of unkept Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot wine grapes and transformed the vineyard to a thriving, successful certified organic operation. LaRocca Vineyards is located at 2600 feet elevation on the lower southern slopes of Mount Lassen, where the soil is rich in minerals. In 1991 LaRocca Vineyards released its first organic wine, under LaRocca Vineyards label. Today, Phil farms with the next generation of the LaRocca family. Philip has been a member of California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) since 1975 and was elected president in 1997. He was a major influence in the writing of the American Organic Standards and National Organic Program standards. Phil LaRocca has a Bachelor of Arts from California State University in San Jose and a Master’s degree from California State University, Chico. He and Judy have been married for over 40 years and have three children and four grandchildren.

Midwest Region

Dave BishopFarmer 
PrairiErth Farm

PrairiErth is a 300-acre farm with diverse crops and livestock and has been certified organic since 2004. Dave and his family also run the 100-acre farm where Dave grew up. Over these combined 400 acres, the Bishops grow organic corn, soybeans, oats, wheat, livestock forages, vegetables, fruit, and flowers and produce organic beef, pork, eggs and honey. They sell at local farmers’ markets and to restaurants and stores. They also offer a vegetable CSA and winter CSA. PrairiErth Farm has been participating in research with the University of Illinois for many years. Current research is studying the impact of various cover crop mixtures on weed suppression, soil microbial activity, and field productivity. The Bishops are passionate about growing organically, a system Dave adopted after years of conventional farming. Dave said he sees organic farming as a way to limit “our ecological footprint by caring for the earth, not just for us, but for future generations.” They’ve reduced their “footprint” even further by using solar-powered pasture fencing and livestock watering systems. Dave has advocated in DC with NSAC for organic and local food issues, both in writing the farm bill and in the appropriations process. He currently serves as President of the Illinois Food, Farms, and Jobs Council, a Governor appointed entity created to advise the Governor and the Legislature on agricultural issues.

Abby Lundrigan, Farmer
Turner Farm

Although Abby has been farming for less than a decade, she was quickly promoted into a leadership role at Turner Farm and has worked diligently during that time to build and improve on her farm’s strong and longstanding foundations of organic practices.  Abby is deeply passionate about her work, and about expanding the understanding and awareness of what certified organic practices entail, and how these practices fit into our role as stewards of our environment, our health, and our communities.  Her role with Turner Farm affords her an opportunity to share with consumers and those we educate through our internship and cooking classes, what “certified organic” truly means. As public awareness of farming practices and food labeling simultaneously grows and becomes increasingly convoluted, I hope to be involved in the larger conversation about how certified organic farmers and practices can continue to evolve and differentiate themselves.  She is also passionate about the role that young and “new” farmers can play in this conversation, and advocates for their perspective and increased participation.  Turner Farm is one of three working farms remaining within the village of Indian Hill. It has been in operation since the early 1800’s. In 1994, it became a farm devoted to growing organically and currently is certified organic for microgreens, seedlings, wheatgrass, mixed vegetables, berries, flowers, herbs, popcorn, mushrooms, and pasture.

Renee Hunt, Program Director – Secretary
Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA)

Renee has worked for sustainable and organic farm groups for almost two decades in education and advocacy work. While national coalitions (which I’ve actively been a part of/taken lead roles in) are helping to advance organic farmer policy issues, it’s become clear to me, and to OEFFA, that organic farmers need a seat at the table, and their own voice in the policy arena and in the media. Renee has a strong knowledge base and adds to our organization’s expertise on organic farming and organic certification. OEFFA has strong communications and outreach programs and proudly supports OFA’s advancement.

North Central Region

Mike KellyFarmer 
High Meadow Farm

My family and I started a Community Supported Agriculture program in 2009, and today raise certified organic veggies, poultry and sheep on our gorgeous, well-maintained 40 acre certified organic farm with the help of farm friends, volunteers and employees. Our CSA has over 200 members, we also sell wholesale accounts, and have workplace CSA relationships with local businesses. I served on the FairShare CSA Board of Directors and currently serve as a county supervisor with Jefferson County and on the Farmers Union water committee.  Prior to farming, I had a career as a utilities superintendent.  I am very interested in promoting organic agriculture and do that from my work on the farm and through my position as county supervisor.

Harriet Behar, Farmer
Sweet Springs Farm

I currently serve on the OFA Policy Committee and have been involved with federal, state and local policy advocacy for over 20 years. I worked with MOSES for many years as their Organic Specialist and was an active member of NSAC and NOC. I work with the University of Wisconsin Extension on their organic grain project (OGRAIN).  I am also an approved produce safety alliance trainer for food safety.  I am the co-chair of the WI Organic Advisory Council, serve on my county conservation committee and am the chair of my town plan commission. I am on the WI NRCS State Technical Committee. I am the Vice Chair of the National Organic Standards Board. I have run a certified organic farm since 1989.  Over the years as an organic inspector and educator, I have visited over 2000 organic farms and processing facilities around the world, but mostly in the Upper Midwest, from which I have gained knowledge of the common sense methods used on organic farms to meet their management challenges.

David Perkins, President
Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Services (MOSES)

David, his wife, Barb, and their three children established Vermont Valley Community Farm in 1994, a CSA which now has over 2,000 members. Certified organic since 1999, the farm expanded its mission in 2003 to include organic seed potato production. David has spoken across the country on CSA, vegetable production and financial management, and remains committed to assisting beginning farmers. He has served on several boards. Prior careers include legislative budget analyst, agriculture policy analyst and agronomist.

Western Region

Linley DixonFarmer
Adobe House Farm

Bio/Statement: Starting on rented land, over the past 10 years, our family has worked hard to build our farm business and finally purchase a farm on which we can live and continue to grow. This experience has exposed me to the challenges new organic farmers face to get started and succeed. I have a Masters in Plant and Soil Science and a PhD in Plant Pathology. My hope is that OFA can help ensure that USDA organic standards and enforcement continues to represent the values of the organic community and the way the vast majority of us farm, that is with the responsibility to maintain healthy soil and pasture. For the past ten years, we have farmed 3 acres of vegetables intensively in Durango, CO, with a prime focus on soil health. We direct market to local restaurants, SWFF Local Distribution Cooperative, James Ranch, and the Durango Farmers Market. Our specialties are soil-grown greenhouse tomatoes, salad greens, peppers and strawberries. Daily operations are managed by my husband, Peter Dixon, and brother, Reid Smith. I am the associate director of the Real Organic Project by day and tomato pruner extraordinaire by night.

 

Marcia Litsinger, Farmer
Churchill Butte Organics

Marcia has been certified since 1998 and been growing organically since 1982. She served on the Nevada Organic Advisory Council as Vice Chair then as Chair. She is an IOIA trained organic inspector since March of 2001. Her farm was one of the founding farms for the Great Basin Community Food Co-op and she served on that board for two terms. President Obama appointed her to the FSA state committee, on which she served for 7 1/2 years. She started Bar-O a non-profit NOP accreditation service in 2015, which continued until 2018.

Becky Weed, Board of Directors
Montana Organic Association (MOA)

Becky Weed and her husband Dave Tyler have owned and operated Thirteen Mile Farm in Southwest Montana for thirty years (certified since 1999). They primarily run a certified organic grassfed sheep flock, although their operation has included a wool processing mill (2003-2017), as well as grassfed organic cattle and small-scale commercial vegetables intermittently. One of Becky’s employees is purchasing and continuing the wool mill, opening up time for Becky to return her focus more fully to her land, integrating crops and livestock, and to agriculture more broadly. Becky has served on the Montana Board of Livestock, and the boards of the Wild Farm Alliance, People and Carnivores, and has recently joined the board of the Montana Organic Association. She also served on the Conservation & Science Board of a very large ranch operation in Central Idaho, Lava Lake Land & Livestock, continuing her lifelong interest in the interface of agriculture and conservation. Before becoming involved in agriculture, Becky worked for more than ten years as a geologist with degrees in the Geological Sciences from Harvard (B.A.) and University of Maine (M.S.). That mixed background in research in some of the wildest places on earth, along with hazardous waste cleanup in some extremely urban locations continue to influence Becky’s perceptions and hopes for agriculture. Since 2002, The Montana Organic Association has been the voice of Montana’s organic community. MOA believes that the organic movement is the one best hope for keeping small family farms viable while providing clean, nutritious, and safe food to the community; helping secure our food system by supporting farm diversity; and contributing to a healthier environment which helps protect our precious wildlife and natural resources. MOA’s mission is to advocate and promote organic agriculture for the highest good of the people, the environment and the state’s economy.

Southern Region

Jennifer TaylorFarmer – Vice President
Lola’s Organic Farm

Jennifer Taylor currently serves on the OFA Steering Committee and us the Vice Chair of the OFA Policy Committee.  She would like to continue her service on the Governing Council. Jennifer Taylor is an associate professor in the Florida A&M University (FAMU) College of Agriculture and Food Sciences (CAFS) and served on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, the Honorable Tom Vilsack January, 2011 – January, 2016. She also farms in Southern Georgia at Lola’s Organic Farm. The farm is USDA Certified Organic family owned/operated farm located in beautiful Glenwood, Georgia. They sell organic fruits and vegetables and host workshops. Lola’s Organic Farm is named after Taylor’s grandmother, a sharecropper who eventually bought it and farmed successfully. Taylor’s interest in agriculture was sparked by the joy her grandmother took from farming. “I think she would be happy to see what we’re doing on the farm… she would be tickled,” Taylor said. At Florida A&M University, Taylor serves as the coordinator of the FAMU Statewide Small Farm Program. Her role on the NOSB included serving as a member of the NOSB Policy Development Committee, and she was assigned to chair the Materials Committee. Through her responsibilities in the FAMU Cooperative Extension Program, Taylor has made a major impact on the organic farming community in North Florida through growing initiatives such as the various growers’ markets in the Tallahassee community, bio-fuels awareness and development, and many sustainable agriculture initiatives to support limited-resource farmers and their families.

Shawn Peebles, Farmer
Shawn Peebles Organic Farm LLC

Bio/Statement: Our farm is solely organic. I am a third-generation farmer. I started farming early with my dad and branched out on my own about 20 years ago. I switched to organic farming in 2009. We farm approximately 1500 acres. We grow sweet potatoes, edamame, black eye peas, soybeans, and corn. We find it exciting to find new crops to grow and diversify more each year. I handle some of each aspect that goes into a farming operation. I am hands on and fully involved in each decision that goes into the operation. I am currently serving on the USDA’s Specialty Crop Committee. I have also served on a dicamba specialty task force. I enjoy speaking at meetings and conventions to share my knowledge and experience with others. I think organic farming is the future and want to see it grow. I will stand tall for my beliefs and advocate for what I believe in.

Keith Richards, Program Director
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG)
Keith Richards worked for Southern SAWG in several capacities since 1993, serving as Working Group Coordinator, Program Manager for the Community Food Program and Enterprise Development Program, Executive Director and as a member of the funding development team. He coordinated the development and implementation of thousands of conference sessions and training projects to meet the needs of family farmers and community-based organizations in the South.  Prior to his work with Southern SAWG, Keith was the marketing manager for the Ozark Organic Growers Association, a coop of small organic farmers in the Ozarks bioregion. In the 1980s he helped develop a sustainable training farm using biodynamic methods in mid-Missouri, and later managed an organic farm in northern California, producing apples, raspberries and Asian pears. Keith has a B.A. in Communications from the University of Central Florida, served a two-year apprenticeship at Gasconade Farm in Missouri.. He grew up in a farming community in northern Iowa.

Northeast Region

David ColsonFarmer – President
New Leaf Farm
I currently serve on the OFA Steering Committee and would like to continue my service on the Governing Council. As owner/operator of New Leaf Farm I was an early advocate for local and organic foods. For over thirty years our family has produced vegetables and herbs for natural food stores and restaurants, marketing Certified Organic products since 1985. I have a BA in Agriculture and have presented at numerous farm conferences over the years as well as being a featured farm in the Northeast Organic Network (NeON). The Colson Family has hosted dozens of farm apprentices, many of who have gone on to start their own organic farm operations in Maine. New Leaf farm was an early adapter of green manure rotations for fertility, utilization of hoophouses for tomato production as well as introducing mesclun salad mix to Portland area restaurants. In 2011 I took a position with the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association to utilize my experience in agriculture to work with farmers in Maine to access resources to make their operations successful. MOFGA is one of the largest organic farming organizations in the country with over 11,000 members and over 500 Certified Organic farms and processors. As Director of Agricultural Services I oversee programs and staff that work directly with farmers to aid in production, marketing, business planning and food safety challenges. My current farming activities involve hay production, a small orchard and family gardens.

Eve Kaplan-Walbrecht, Farmer
Garden of Eve Organic Farm & Market

Bio/Statement: Eve Kaplan-Walbrecht and her husband Chris founded Garden of Eve organic farm in 2001, dedicated to providing delicious organic vegetables, fruits and beautiful flowers and to “making changes in the world by living them.” Invited to sell some extra produce from their garden (zucchini!) at a local farmers market they made $40 and were launched on their farming career. In the 20 years since then, they have expanded and now grow 60 acres of certified organic vegetables, flowers, raise 1500 pastured laying hens, and oversee a team of 20 at the height of the season. Garden of Eve sells produce through a large on-farm Market, 3 farmers markets, and nearly 1,000 households participating in their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs at 20 locations in New York City and on Long Island. Eve holds a BA from Harvard in Environmental Science and a MS in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She has also worked as a land preservation advocate with the North Fork Environmental Council and as Principal Planner for the Town of Southampton. In Eve’s over 20 years of operating a family-scale organic farm, She has been constantly challenged to overcome the innumerable challenges that farmers face, as well as the ways that the chemical farming industry overrides the interests of real farmers in national policy. She is a longtime supporter of several OG watchdog groups and has seen how “Big Food” continues to try to water down the organic standards that the rest of us work so hard to uphold. She is well qualified for the OFA Governing Council with her skills in advocacy and lobbying, through her longtime involvement in land planning and farmland preservation on the North Fork of Long Island. She has worked with groups both inside and outside of local government to help secure the preservation of large tracts of vulnerable land including what became the Hallock State Park; North Fork County Park, and farmland that has now been preserved for perpetuity through Purchase of Development Rights.

Ed MaltbyExecutive Director – Treasurer
Northeast Organic Producers Alliance

Ed, Executive Director of the Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance, is a producer with over 50 years experience managing conventional and organic dairy, beef, sheep and vegetable enterprises on a variety of different farms in Europe and the United States. For the past thirty years, Ed has worked with regional farms to cooperatively market their products into mainstream markets, ranging from direct marketing of lambs and organic produce, to establishing a cooperative of dairy farmers who direct market their own brand of milk in Western Massachusetts. Since 2005, Ed has worked as Executive Director of the Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (NODPA, www.nodpa.com), an organic family farm member organization dedicated to preserving organic integrity and a sustainable pay price for farmers. He worked with groups in the Midwest and West to help form a national umbrella organization, Federation of Organic Dairy Farmers (FOOD Farmers), to provide a national voice for organic dairy family farms. Since the start of his tenure, the organization has developed into a recognized able national voice on organic dairy policy. Ed has served on the National Organic Coalition Board and Executive Committee; has taken a lead in creating NOP rules for Organic Dairy; advocates in DC for important policy development and implementation within the USDA; and extensively contributed to the written body of organic dairy policy. In addition, he was one of the leaders who successfully defeated the industry supported federally mandated Organic Check-Off with the No-Organic Check-off campaign. Ed Maltby was the organic dairy industry representative on the USDA’s Dairy Industry Advisory Committee, convened during the Obama administration in response to the economic crisis facing the US dairy industry. He is also the General Manager for an organically certified slaughterhouse in central Massachusetts.

About Rodale Institute 

Rodale Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to pioneering organic farming through research and outreach. For seventy years, the Institute has been researching the best practices of organic agriculture and sharing findings with farmers and scientists throughout the world, advocating for policies that support farmers, and educating consumers about how going organic is the healthiest option for people and the planet. Learn more at RodaleInstitute.org.