The Evolving Mission Of The Organic Tree Fruit Association

Since first being conceived back in 2004, the Organic Tree Fruit Association (OTFA) and its Upper Midwest Organic Tree Fruit Network have come a long way. Today, OTFA has a list-serv of organic tree fruit growers with more than 700 participants. They also have a website with a wealth of information, and a formal association with around 40 members.

The association has several levels of membership and is governed by a board of directors that are elected by the members. The association funds the website and newsletter, applies for grants, manages the list-serv, and represents the organic apple industry. The Network is the communication arm of the group and consists of a list-serv, newsletter, and website. Participation in the Network is free to everyone. The Network is where the interaction among organic tree fruit growers really takes place.

Today, the OTFA is at a crossroads as an organization. For the past three years, much of its funding has come from a USDA Specialty Crops Block Grant. However, Harry Hoch, founding member of OTFA, says the group’s ultimate goal is to become a self-funded organization whose fund-raising efforts are solely dedicated to supporting research projects.

So what is the next step for OFTA? It could start with expanding its focus beyond the Midwest and promoting itself as a national organization. “While geographically expanding our membership could reduce the voice of our Midwest organic growers, if we structure it properly, we could include western and eastern growers,” says Hoch. “There is currently no single organization that represents the organic tree fruit industry. While there are conventional fruit grower organizations and several organic farming groups, there is nobody representing the unique interests of organic fruit growers. I think OTFA could fill that role.” Hoch also points out that with the National Organic Program constantly changing rules and adapting to the needs of consumers and organic farmers, the organic tree fruit industry needs to maintain an influence with the National Organic Standards Board.

For more information on OTFA and the Upper Midwest Organic Tree Fruit Network, including how to join, go to

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories

All Vegetables Stories >All Fruits Stories >All Nuts Stories >All Citrus Stories >

The Latest

CitrusGrowers Need To Take The Ball And Run — Now! [Opi…
October 18, 2014
Help yourself, your farm, and fellow colleagues by becoming more involved in your industry. Read More
CitrusLegendary Florida Citrus Grower And Advocate Passes
October 17, 2014
Joe L. Davis Sr. will be remembered for his straight talk and sage advice. Read More
GrapesNew American Viticultural Area In Northern California E…
October 17, 2014
“Eagle Peak Mendocino County” lies entirely within the North Coast viticultural area. Read More
GrapesMapping Grape Crown Gall Tumor Disease
October 17, 2014
Scientists are close to cracking the disease’s genetic code, a major boon to vineyard protection. Read More
NutsAlmond Growers To Promote Bee Health
October 16, 2014
Almond Board of California announces comprehensive Best Management Practices. Read More
Cucurbits6 Juicy Watermelon Selections For The Sunshine State
October 16, 2014
Leading vegetable seed companies highlight a half dozen high-performance varieties for Florida producers. Read More
CitrusDiversification Is King For Small Farm’s Success
October 16, 2014
Being flexible and adapting to the times critical for Central Florida's Vo-LaSalle Farms. Read More
CitrusAsian Citrus Psyllid Moves Into Northern California
October 15, 2014
First detections made of damaging insect in Santa Clara and San Joaquin counties. Read More
Farm ManagementVidalia Onion Committee Reaches Younger Audience with D…
October 15, 2014
“V is for Vidalia” campaign focused on social and digital media outreach. Read More
VegetablesSakata Seed America To Debut “Tasty 10 By Sakata Coll…
October 15, 2014
The collection includes a new variety and will be launched at the PMA Fresh Summit Oct 17-19. Read More
Insect ControlBagrada Bug Continues To Spread In California’s Brass…
October 15, 2014
The pest is expected to be a problem through December. Read More
Vegetables8 Blazing Hot Pepper Varieties [Slideshow]
October 15, 2014
Check out these 8 hot pepper varieties from the nation’s leading seed breeders and distributors. Read More
NutsKeep In Mind Availability Of Soil Fumigants
October 15, 2014
Almond growers must be aware of restrictions pertaining to soil fumigants prior to replanting. Read More
Food SafetyCalifornia Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement Revises Web…
October 15, 2014
The California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement's revised website provides food safety news and resources. Read More
CitrusScientists Uproot Common “Superweed” Myths
October 15, 2014
A new fact sheet is available that explores the truth behind two fallacies.   Read More
CitrusUF/IFAS Joins In On Specialty Crop Block Grant Bonanza
October 15, 2014
Researchers partnering with FDACS and USDA on 24 separate projects to strengthen the produce market sector. Read More
Citrus2015 Florida Agricultural Hall Of Fame Inductees Announ…
October 14, 2014
Six more to be honored for helping shape and influence the state’s farming industry. Read More
Apples & PearsRare Apple Found In Michigan
October 14, 2014
One-in-a-million chimera apple was discovered in a block of Rome apples. Read More