Organic Farmers Association Governing Council

The Governing Council (“the Council”) is responsible for governance, the ongoing process of due diligence to assure the health and effectiveness of the Organic Farmers Association (OFA). Council members agree to abide by the OFA Code of Conduct.

Number of Council Members: The Council includes 19 members. From each of the six regions, the council includes 2 certified organic farmers and 1 organic farm organization.  In addition, Organic Farmers Association’s fiscal sponsor, Rodale Institute, also has a seat on the council. All Council Members shall have identical rights and responsibilities, except that only farmer members have the right to vote. The fiscal sponsor, if it has a certified organic farm, also has a vote.

Tenure: Council Members serve a term of two (2) years from the date of their election. A full two-year term shall be considered to have been served upon the passage of two (2) Annual Meetings. Council Members shall take office at the Annual Meeting held after they are elected. No elected Council Member shall serve more than three (3) consecutive two-year terms.

Regular and Annual Meetings: Council members are expected to meet for Regular Meetings monthly for 1.5 hours via conference call. The Council also meets annually for the Annual Meeting, which they try to do in-person. The Annual Meeting is typically held in Washington, D.C. during the first quarter of the calendar year.

Policies and Procedures: Members of the Council shall adhere to all policies and procedures established by the Council.

Composition of the Council: Council members shall be sought who reflect the qualifications and diversity determined by the Council in its policies. The Council must be a hybrid of certified organic farmers and staff or board members from non-profit organic farming organizations who serve certified organic farmers as all or a significant portion of their stakeholders, with one seat designated for a representative of the Sponsor. Council members must equally reflect the designated regions and balance diversity of the organic farming movement (types of products, farm size, farmland ownership, regions, cultures, gender, race, and ethnicity) such that the full organic farming movement is clearly represented, without anyone segment dominating all others.  All Council members must be OFA farmer members or representatives of OFA organization members in good standing.

Nomination and Election: The nomination and election process shall take place annually ahead of the Annual Meeting according to OFA policies and procedures.

Vacancies:  Any vacancy occurring in the Council, can be filled temporarily upon recommendation of a qualified candidate by a member of the Council, by the affirmative vote of the majority of the Council. A Council Member elected to fill the vacancy shall immediately join the Council but must stand for election in the next annual election of the Council to fill the unexpired term of their predecessor in office.

Resignation:  A Council Member may resign at any time by filing a written resignation with the President of the Council.

Removal: The Council may remove any Officer or Council Member with cause by 60%vote of Farmer Council Members then in office, at any regular or special meeting of the Council, provided that a statement of the reason or reasons shall have been mailed by Registered Mail to the Officer or Council Member proposed for removal at least thirty (30) days before any final action is taken by the Council. This statement shall be accompanied by a notice of the time when, and the place where, the Council is to take action on the removal. The Officer or Council Member shall be given an opportunity to be heard and the matter considered by the Council at the time and place mentioned in the notice.

Officers of the Council 

Positions: There are five (5) elected officers of the Governing Council including no less than three (3) certified organic farmers and at least one (1) but not more than two (2) organization representatives: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Member-at-Large. The roles and qualifications of these Officers shall be determined by the Council in its policies. Only Farmer Members can serve in the role of President and Vice President.

Organic Farmers Association Policy Committee

The Policy Committee works with the OFA farm membership to set the policy agenda for Organic Farmers Association. The Policy Committee is responsible for executing the Process & Procedure for Determining Policy Positions, Priorities, and Agenda.  Committee members agree to abide by the OFA Code of Conduct.

Number of Committee Members:  The Policy Committee includes 18 members. From each of the six regions, the Policy Committee includes 2 certified organic farmers and 1 organic farm organization. All Committee Members have identical rights and responsibilities, except that only farmer members have the right to vote. All Policy Committee members must be active members or representatives of members in good standing of Organic Farmers Association.

Terms: Policy Committee terms are for two years.  Policy Committee members may serve no more than three consecutive two-year terms.

Vacancies: Vacancies may be filled by the Council until the next election when, if there is at least one year remaining someone will be elected to fill that seat for the remainder of the term.

Officers and Ex-Officio Non-Voting Members: The Chair and Vice Chair of the Policy Committee will be farmer members, elected by the policy committee at the first meeting after the annual election and they will serve for one year. These two officers shall be ex-officio non-voting members of the Governing Council. The Chair shall appoint a willing Policy Committee member or, if possible, a staff person to serve as the official Secretary.  Two members of the Council will serve as ex-officio members of the Policy Committee.

Nominations and Election: The nominations and election of the Policy Committee shall take place annually following the same process as Governing Council nominations. Timing for the nominations and elections will be set by the Council. The ballot with the final slate of candidates must first be approved by the Council before it is sent to the membership.

Meetings: The Policy Committee meets monthly via conference call for 1.5 hrs. The Committee also aims to meet annually in person for the Annual Meeting and Lobby Day. The Annual Meeting is typically held in Washington, D.C. during the first quarter of the calendar year.