Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced last week that Miles McEvoy has been hired to serve as Deputy Administrator of the National Organic Program (NOP). McEvoy assumes his position on Oct. 1.
Vilsack also announced that the NOP will become an independent program area within AMS because of the increased visibility and emphasis on organic agriculture throughout the farming community, evolving consumer preferences, and the enhanced need for governmental oversight of this widely expanded program. Organically grown and marketed agricultural products are of key interest to the Obama Administration, and the NOP will be receiving increased funding and staffing in the new fiscal year.
"Miles McEvoy has worked in the field of organic agriculture for more than two decades and has a solid understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the organic community," Vilsack said.
For more than 20 years, McEvoy led the Washington State Department of Agriculture's (WSDA) Organic Food Program, one of the nation's first state organic certification programs. In 2001, he helped establish the WSDA Small Farm and Direct Marketing Program. From 1993 until 1995, McEvoy was the founding Director of The Food Alliance, a program that blends sustainable farming practices and social welfare components into an eco-label program.
McEvoy helped establish the National Association of State Organic Programs in 1998 and currently serves as its President. He also assisted the Montana Department of Agriculture to develop the state's organic certification program and has been helping the Oregon Department of Agriculture in developing its own organic certification program.
"As Organic Program Manager for Washington State Department of Agriculture's Organic Food efforts, Miles has been very active as a long-time member of the Organic Trade Association (OTA). OTA is pleased that he will be filling this very important position in USDA. OTA is confident that, with his experience, he will provide invaluable guidance and clear thinking that will further the integrity of the National Organic Program," said Christine Bushway, OTA's Executive Director.
The NOP is responsible for regulating the fastest growing segment of U.S. agriculture, the organic industry. U.S. sales of organic foods have grown from $1 billion in 1990, when the Organic Foods Production Act established the NOP, to a projected $23.6 billion in 2009. Congress increased NOP funding to $2.6 million in FY08 and to $3.2 million in FY09.