Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture Dave Frederickson has appointed attorney Amanda Heyman to the statewide Minnesota Organic Advisory Task Force. Amanda will join the 15-member task force for a three-year term, and will be one of two members representing the public.
Since 1990, the Minnesota Organic Advisory Task Force (OATF) has been charged by Minnesota state law to advise both the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the University of Minnesota about policies and programs to improve organic agriculture in Minnesota. The Commissioner of Agriculture appoints members to the task force in consultation with both the dean of the University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and the dean of the University of Minnesota Extension.
In order to achieve a wide diversity of viewpoints, Commissioner Frederickson considered the balance of expertise, experience, geography, gender and previous service on an earlier OATF.
“The deans and I want candid feedback on what Minnesota organic farmers and businesses needs in terms of outreach, education, research, and technical assistance,” Frederickson said in a statement. “I was impressed at the number of experienced applicants willing to serve on the OATF.”
Amanda regularly provides legal counsel to organic farmers, organic food businesses, and organic advocates in Minnesota and nationwide. She is the author of the Farmers' Guide to Organic Contracts, and is helping to coordinate the new Legal Corner at the 2014 Minnesota Organic Conference, where farmers will be able to sit down with experienced attorneys for free legal consultations.
Organic farmer Carolyn Olson of the Lyon County Farm Bureau will serve as OATF chair. The task force is staffed by Meg Moynihan of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and Tom Rothman of the University of Minnesota.
The OATF members for the term of September 2013 through June 2016 are:
Organic Farmers: Adam Goeltz (dairy), Maple Lake; Douglas Hilgendorf (crop), Welcome; Jackie Hoch (fruit), La Crescent
Organic Processors: Anthony Schiller, SunOpta Grains & Foods, Inc., Blooming Prairie; Jessie Vander Poel, Grain Millers, Inc., Eden Prairie
Organic Retailers: Melissa Goodson, Valley Natural Foods, Apple Valley
Organic Wholesalers/Distributors: Sharon Hannigan, J & J Distributing, Saint Paul
Organic Consumers: JoAnne Berkenkamp, Minneapolis
Organic Certifying Agencies: Michelle Menken, Minnesota Crop Improvement Association, Saint Paul
Nonprofit Organization Representing Producers: Carolyn Olson, Lyon Co. Farm Bureau (chair), Cottonwood
The Public: Ryan Crum (Cedar Summit), Minneapolis; Amanda Heyman (Fare Grange Law), Minneapolis
United States Department of Agriculture: Anna Parker, Risk Management Agency, Saint Paul
U of MN Faculty: Rob King, Agricultural and Applied Economics, Saint Paul
U of MN Extension: Brad Heins, Animal Science, Morris