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April 28, 1999
Present members of the National Organic Standards Board and their Committee
NATIONAL ORGANIC STANDARDS BOARD
The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, part of the 1990 Farm Bill,
authorized the Secretary of Agriculture to appoint a 15-member National
Organic Standards Board (NOSB). The board's main mission is to assist the
Secretary in developing standards for substances to be used in organic
The NOSB also advises the Secretary on other aspects of implementing the
national organic program.
The first NOSB was appointed by then Secretary Edward Madigan in January
Members of the initial board served staggered terms of 3, 4, or 5 years. All
subsequent board appointees serve 5-year terms.
The current board is comprised of four farmers/growers, two
handlers/processors, one retailer, one scientist, three consumer/public
interest advocates, and three environmentalists. Members come from all four
U.S. regions. A fifteenth board member, representing certifying agents will
be appointed once the standards are in place.
§2119 NATIONAL ORGANIC STANDARDS BOARD:
(g) CHAIRPERSON. The Board shall select a Chairperson for the Board.
(h) QUORUM. A majority of the members of the Board shall constitute a quorum
for the purpose of conducting business.
(i) DECISIVE VOTES. Two-thirds of the votes cast at a meeting of the Board
at which a quorum is present shall be decisive of any motion.
(j) OTHER TERMS AND CONDITIONS. The Secretary shall authorize the Board to
hire a staff director and shall detail staff of the Department of Agriculture
or allow for the hiring of staff and may, subject to necessary
appropriations, pay necessary expenses incurred by such Board in carrying out
the provisions of this title, as determined appropriate by the Secretary.
Current board members are:
Robert Blaine Anderson - Penns Creek, PA (2001)(Chairperson)
Marvin L. Hollen - Nyssa, OR (2002) (COMMITTEES: C, I, L)
Fred L. Kirschenmann - Windsor, ND (2000) (COMMITTEES: A, L, IPP)
Stephen P. Pavich - Terra Bella, CA (2001) (COMMITTEES: C, M, P, IPP)
Earl R. "Rod" Crossley, Jr. - La Crescenta, CA (2000) (COMMITTEES: A, I, M,
Steven J. Harper-Bellingham, WA (2002) (COMMITTEES: I, M, P, IPP)
Margaret Mary Wittenberg - Dripping Springs, TX (2000) (COMMITTEES: L, M,
CONSUMER/PUBLIC INTEREST (3):
Joan Dye Gussow - Piermont, NY (2001) (COMMITTEES: C, M, P, IPP)
Elizabeth S. Lydon (Betsy) - New York, NY (2001) (COMMITTEES: A, C, M, IPP)
Carolyn Brickey - Tucson, AZ (2002) (COMMITTEES: I, M, P, IPP)
Jean Afterman - Oxnard, CA (2001) (COMMITTEES: A, I, M,)
Kathleen A. Merrigan - Greenfield, MA (2000) (Vice-Chairperson, COMMITTEES:I,
William P. "Bill" Welsh - Lansing, IA (2002) (COMMITTEES: A, C, L,)
Eric J. Sideman - Greene, ME (2002) (COMMITTEES: A, C, M)
ACCREDITATION COMMITTEE = A,
CROPS COMMITTEE = C,
INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE - I,
LIVESTOCK COMMITTEE = L,
MATERIALS COMMITTEE = M,
PROCESSING COMMITTEE = P,
INTERDISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE ON PROCESSING PRINCIPLES = IPP)
NATIONAL ORGANIC STANDARDS BOARD BIO'S
Robert Blaine Anderson - Penns Creek, PA (Term expires 2001)
B.A., History, Thiel College. President/CEO of Walnut Acres Organic
600 certified organic acres of grains, vegetables, and beef. 29+ years of
hands-on experience in organic farming and all aspects of organic foods
production, processing, marketing, and retailing. Appointed to National
Standards Board (NOSB) 1995; NOSB chair, 1996 to present; past president,
Organic Trade Association; member, National Sustainable Agriculture Advisory
Council (NSAAC); founding member, Pennsylvania Association Sustainable
Agriculture (PASA); advisor, Penn State University Organic/Sustainable
Agriculture Research Projects.
"As we implement the Organic Food Production Act of 1990, we must forge
standards that assure the integrity of organic production; that instills
consumer confidence in organic foods; and that encourages the organic
Marvin L. Hollen - Nyssa, OR (Term expires 2002)
Farmer for over 27 years and owner of Dairy Blessing Organic Farms, certified
organic for the last two years. Presently milking 156 Holstein and Jersey
and farming 100 acres of alfalfa and pasture. Served as Director of, or
participated in, the following Boards: Washington State Dairy Federation;
Dairy Association; Northwest Farmers Union; National Family Farm Coalition:
Dairy Board; Idaho Rural Council: Dairy Board; Western Organization of
Councils, and National Grange - 5th Degree.
"I became interested in organic farming after attending the first sustainable
conference where I was sent by National Farmer's Union. I have been concerned
about the increase in chemicals and hormones as farmers have been encouraged
grow more and get bigger. Then, after reading about the allowable increases
chemicals under NAFTA, I wanted to be more involved. As standards are
implemented, we must be mindful of allowing family farms to take part and
protect the integrity of the organic industry for the environmental, economic
well-being of our country along with our own health."
Fred L. Kirschenmann - Windsor, ND (Term expires 2000)
Ph.D., Historical Theology, University of Chicago. Manager of Kirschenmann
Family Farms, a second generation family farm of 3100 acres in a diversified
grain and livestock production which has been managed as a 100% organic farm
since 1980. President of Farm Verified Organic, an international, private,
organic certifier. Serves on numerous sustainable agriculture and consumer
boards. Past chairman of the North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research
Education Administrative Council. Author of numerous articles on sustainable
agriculture, organic agriculture and ethics and agriculture.
"The organic community is a very young family. As such we still don't agree
all of the nuances. Unfortunately the 5% we disagree about often overshadows
95% we do agree on. Consequently the regulation writing process has been slow
and sometimes contentious. That is not all bad. This process will continue to
grow "organically." But now is the time to move forward. If we don't make
program operational soon we may not have the opportunity to make it
at all. Being on the NOSB I hope I can help to move the process forward
compromising the essential principles of organic production."
Stephen P. Pavich - Terra Bella, CA (Term expires 2001)
B.S., Plant Science, California State University. Production manager in
of growing organic farm products on 3,800 acres in both Arizona and
Member of Federal Review Board for the Lisa Program USDA (1988-1990); Member
University of California Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Committee
Member of California Certified Organic Farmers 1984-present (Board of
from 1984-1991); Member of OTA (Organic Trade Association) 1991-present.
"During my board term, I would like to see the implementation of the law so
states and farmers have a foundation to work from. It has taken the USDA too
long to implement the law. I would like to see the bureaucracy between
government and the farmer streamlined so that the law is credible and at the
same time doesn't cost the farmer and consumer additional exorbitant costs.
scientific level, the materials list needs to
be credible. Our updating and diverse inputs from across the country will
continue to validate the materials list.
There has been too much politics and a lack of understanding of what farmers
must do to farm organically. It seems like secondary agendas overshadow the
primary agenda of organics. All of the diverse groups involved in the organic
movement must move forward with unity. As a member of the board I have a full
commitment to this agenda."
Earl R. "Rod" Crossley, Jr. - La Crescenta, CA (Term expires 2000)
B.A., History, California State, Northridge. Principal of Crossley consulting
the areas of organic production and co-packer operation. Secretary of the
California Organic Food Advisory Board. Chairman, Labeling sub-committee,
Manufacturing, Processing, Packaging, Labeling Committee (MPPL), of the
Trade Association. Member, Independent Organic Inspector Association.
"The National Organic Standards Board has done an outstanding job on the
recommendations submitted to the Secretary. The board is now responsible for
providing guidance to the USDA staff on the implementation of the new organic
Steven J. Harper - Bellingham, WA (Term expires 2002)
Ph.D., Food Science and Technology, Oregon State University. Director of
Research & Development and Quality Assurance, Cascadian Farm. Member of
Trade Association Manufacturing, Packaging, Processing and Labeling
Member of the Advisory Council of the Organic Materials Review Institute;
Organic Processing Certification Consultant for Oregon Tilth (1990-1993).
"Promulgation and continued refinement of consistent standards are of utmost
importance to provide the organic consumer with the knowledge to understand
products they are purchasing. To help accomplish this objective I plan to
provide greater technical understanding to the NOSB regarding the role of
processing and its valuable contribution to the growth of the organic food
Margaret Mary Wittenberg - Dripping Springs, TX (Term expires 2000)
B.A., English, Marquette University (1975). National Communications Team
of Whole Foods Market, Inc., specializing in food, nutrition, quality
and food legislative information. Co-owner of small store: Sunseed Natural
Foods, West Bend, WI (1977-1981). Employed with Whole Foods Market, Inc.
(1981-present). Retailer member Texas Organic Standards Advisory Board
(1989-1991); steering committee member Natural Products Quality Assurance
Alliance (NPQAA) 1992-present; author: Experiencing Quality: A Shopper's
to Whole Foods (1987); Good Food: The Complete Guide to Eating Well (1995),
Pocket Guide to Good Food (1996).
"Our customers are justifiably concerned that the product they buy as organic
truly lives up to the name, not only in the way it was grown and processed,
how it is handled in the retail store to ensure the organic integrity of the
product. With my background as a retailer in both the small independent store
and large grocery chain formats, I believe I can bring to the National
Standards Board a broad, realistic perspective concerning how the standards
work most effectively on the retail level."
Joan Dye Gussow - Piermont, NY (Term expires 2001)
B.A., Pre-med, Ed.D. Nutrition Education. Professor emeritus of nutrition and
education and former chair Program in Nutrition, Teachers College, Columbia
University. I have written, testified, and lectured about organic foods and
sustainable food systems for 25 years and have served on various boards and
editorial boards related to sustainable/organic production. I am past Board
Chair of the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation. Organizer of/advisor to Piermont
Community Organic Garden, over twenty-five years as self-provisioning organic
"As one who has spent more than a quarter of a century deeply concerned about
the sustainability of food production on the planet, I view my task on NOSB
environmental gadfly. The organic production we are mandated to define must
sustainable on every scale from the farm to the planet. Nothing must be
to erode the public's confidence in the integrity of organic food."
Elizabeth S. Lydon (Betsy) - New York, NY (Term expires 2001)
B.A., Literature and Architecture, Bennington College, Vermont. Employee of
Mother & Others for a Livable Planet since 1989, Outreach Director since 1992
and Program Director since 1996. National coordinator of Mother & Others,
Shoppers' Campaign for Better Food Choices. Mothers & Others is a consumer
advocacy organization focusing on marketplace strategies which promote
sustainability. Founding member of Just Food (New York City Sustainable Food
System Alliance); member of Marketing Committee for New York Sustainable
Agriculture Working Group and Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working
"Consumers everywhere are increasingly concerned not only with food safety
how and where their food is being grown. Providing the uniform standards will
assist in consumer marketplace recognition for organic food and fiber
By providing them with information and choice, standards also bring consumers
into our food system more directly. With the implementation of the Organic
Production Act, an important piece in the development of a more regenerative
agriculture in this country will be put into place."
Carolyn Brickey - Tucson, AZ (Term expires 2002)
B.A., East Tennessee State University; J.D., Georgetown University Law
Established an independent consultancy in environmental law in 1992. Directs
National Campaign for Pesticide Policy Reform, a coalition of 67 public
organizations. Recently joined the professional staff of the Biosphere 2
as a Development Officer.
Ms. Brickey is a new member of the DowElanco Global Environmental Advisory
council; she previously served as principal investigator of a Tides
Foundation-sponsored grant to help resolve provisions of the Southern Arizona
Water Rights Settlement Act affecting the Tohono O'ndham Nation.
Previously served as Senior Counsel to the Chairman of the U.S. Senate
Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee until May 1992. Advised
Patrick Leahy regarding environmental policy and managed legal and political
strategy; helped draft the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act
1988. Prior to her work for the Senate, Ms. Brickey represented the State of
Texas in Washington, D.C., on agriculture, environment and trade issues
(1983-87), and was staff attorney and legislative representative for the Food
Research and Action Center (1981-83), and Public Citizen's Congress Watch
"I hope my participation in the NOSB will be productive and effective. I also
hope everyone who is part of this process will keep their eyes on the big
picture -- getting workable regulations in place."
Jean Afterman - Oxnard, CA (Term expires 2001)
B.A., History of Art, University of California at Berkeley; J.D., University
San Francisco School of Law. As of September 1, 1996, practicing law;
Vice President and General Counsel, Purepak, Inc., with a year-round
organic growing program in California and Mexico, and producing both fresh
processed certified organic fruits and vegetables.
As corporate counsel for Purepak, Inc., I was responsible in the areas of
agriculture, contracts and collection, licensing and certification, real
and litigation. As Vice President of Purepak, I was responsible for
administrative and field management, as well as development of Purepak's
international market, with an emphasis on the Pacific Rim, particularly in
Japan. Will continue to serve as outside counsel to Purepak whenever
Have worked in the areas of civil litigation, entertainment and sports law as
well as assisting foreign corporations in investing and establishing business
operations in the United States.
"I applaud the tremendous accomplishments of the NOSB thus far, and I hope to
able to assist in this "final lap" of the process."
Kathleen A. Merrigan - Washington, DC (Term expires 2000)
B.A., Williams College; M.P.A., University of Texas; and is completing her
in environmental planning at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since
Kathleen has served as a senior analyst for the Henry A. Wallace Institute
Alternative Agriculture, a nonprofit organization established in 1983 to
research and education in sustainable agriculture. Kathleen has served on a
number of advisory boards, including the USDA Facilities Review Commission,
Organic Farming Research Foundation, the Steering Committee of the National
Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture, and the EPA Food Quality Protection Act
implementation committee. Previously, Kathleen was employed by the U.S.
Agriculture Committee (1987-93), working on science issues for Chairman
Leahy and in this role was responsible for developing the Organic Foods
Production Act of 1990. Previous employment included the Texas Department of
Agriculture (1986-7) working on pesticide regulations and the Massachusetts
State Senate (1982-5), working, among other things, on integrated pest
"There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Seven years ago, the Congress passed
legislation requiring federal accreditation of existing state and private
certification agents. In no way will the USDA supplant the existing network
experts in the field. The USDA program will be an umbrella over existing
operations and ease interstate commerce by establishing consistent
William P. "Bill" Welsh - Lansing, IA (Term expires 2002)
Air Force instructor in Atomic, Biological, and Chemical Warfare, 1950-1953.
When discovering in 1981 that the farm chemicals we were using are similar to
those I learned about in the military we committed our efforts to organic
agriculture. Our farm was first certified organic in 1988. Currently, we
and market 60,000 broilers, 12,000 turkeys, 400 hogs and 60 beef annually.
Active in passage of the Iowa Organic Food Labeling Law; a founding board
of the Iowa Organic Growers & Buyers Association and the Northeast Iowa
Association (a chapter of the Organic Crop Improvement Association);
serves as President of the Organics Farmers Marketing Association (OFMA).
"I am personally committed to organic agriculture and have closely observed
NOSB since its' inception. As an active organic farmer and marketer I feel
I can add valuable insight to the board and look forward to the
of the National Standards."
Eric J. Sideman - Greene, ME (Term expires 2002)
Ph.D., Botany, University of New Hampshire; M.S., Biology, Northeastern
University; B.A., Agriculture, Cornell University. Director of Technical
Services, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (1985-Present).
Assistant Professor of Biology, Bates College (1982-1985).
"In the scientist position on the NOSB I will work to develop organic
that promote farming systems that protect and improve the sustainability of
family farms from an agronomic, economic and environmental perspective. My
definition of organic farming describes a system that produces healthful
improves the productivity of the farms resources and has the least
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