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 http://organictreefruit.org.

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
Jacket Rot Almonds featured image
Nuts
April 29, 2016
Look Out For Jacket Rot On Almond Leaves
Rains at bloom are causing higher than normal incidents of bacterial infections. Read More
An intern harvest salad greens at Churview Farm for a farm dinner FEATURE
Farm Marketing
April 29, 2016
Churchview Farm Aims To Close The Gap Between Farm And Table
This year, from June through September, Churchview Farm, located just outside of Pittsburgh, will host four farm dinners a month, Read More
Cosmis Crisp apples planting FEATURE
Farm Marketing
April 29, 2016
How Wholesale-Only Growers And Farm Marketers Differ In Their Crop Choices
We already know of some of the differences between farm marketers and wholesale-only farms. Farm marketers outnumber wholesale-only farms. Wholesale-only Read More
apple tree trellising washington state
Apples & Pears
April 28, 2016
Cracks In Your Orchard’s Infrastructure Expose Bigger Flaws
Modern blocks can increase your production, but if your training system is shoddy, you could see major losses. Read More
Brandt logo
Citrus
April 28, 2016
Brandt Acquires Majority Interest In Utah-Based Baicor
Baicor will operate as a subsidiary in Brandt’s specialty formulations division. Read More
Drip Irrigation
Production
April 28, 2016
Farm Demonstration Visits To Focus On Soil Health
California farmers will share practical experiences in “growing” healthy soil. Read More
Two chipping varieties Cornell released in the last few years that have shown promise are ‘Lamoka’ and ‘Waneta.’ 
“They both have outstanding chip color when fried out of the cold, which is a trait that’s important in the industry,” Cornell's Walter De Jong says.
Photo courtesy of Walter De Jong
Potatoes
April 28, 2016
Potato Breeding Update From Cornell University
Variety research includes incorporating resistance to Potato Virus Y, a new race of golden nematode, and improving appearance. Read More
field shot the Produce Peddler Colorado
Farm Marketing
April 28, 2016
Small Producers Talk Profits
Four growers from across the country discuss the importance of knowing your customer, how to handle money, and being the face of your farm. Read More
workers bending
Fruits
April 28, 2016
Knowing Role, Expectations Beneficial To Your Staff
Labor management is much more than just delegation. Read More
The Latest
Nuts
April 29, 2016
Look Out For Jacket Rot On Almond Leaves
Rains at bloom are causing higher than normal incidents of bacterial infections. Read More
Farm Marketing
April 29, 2016
Churchview Farm Aims To Close The Gap Be…
This year, from June through September, Churchview Farm, located just outside of Pittsburgh, will host four farm dinners a month, Read More
Farm Marketing
April 29, 2016
How Wholesale-Only Growers And Farm Mark…
We already know of some of the differences between farm marketers and wholesale-only farms. Farm marketers outnumber wholesale-only farms. Wholesale-only Read More
Farm Marketing
April 29, 2016
Who’s Using Biocontrols, And Who I…
With so many consumers concerned about how food is grown, many farm marketers find themselves in the unexpected role of Read More
Apples & Pears
April 28, 2016
Cracks In Your Orchard’s Infrastructure …
Modern blocks can increase your production, but if your training system is shoddy, you could see major losses. Read More
Citrus
April 28, 2016
Brandt Acquires Majority Interest In Uta…
Baicor will operate as a subsidiary in Brandt’s specialty formulations division. Read More
Production
April 28, 2016
Farm Demonstration Visits To Focus On So…
California farmers will share practical experiences in “growing” healthy soil. Read More
Potatoes
April 28, 2016
Potato Breeding Update From Cornell Univ…
Variety research includes incorporating resistance to Potato Virus Y, a new race of golden nematode, and improving appearance. Read More
Farm Marketing
April 28, 2016
Small Producers Talk Profits
Four growers from across the country discuss the importance of knowing your customer, how to handle money, and being the face of your farm. Read More
Fruits
April 28, 2016
Knowing Role, Expectations Beneficial To…
Labor management is much more than just delegation. Read More
Fruits
April 28, 2016
USDA Establishes New Partnership To Link…
Minority, women, new and beginning, military, veteran, and urban producers to receive training and information on agency services. Read More
Apples & Pears
April 28, 2016
The Truth About Most Farmworkers [Opinio…
Just ask any grower who has placed a help wanted ad. Read More
Citrus
April 27, 2016
Meet Florida’s New Crop Of Agricultural …
Annual award program recognizes farmers practicing environmentally innovative techniques. Read More
Fruits
April 27, 2016
It’s Time To Rethink Grade Standards For…
Food waste is largely dictated by limiting produce standards. Read More
Crop Protection
April 27, 2016
Vector Transmitting Red Blotch Virus Fou…
Researchers at the University of California, Davis (UC-Davis) have found the vector that seems to be spreading grapevine red blotch, a Read More
Berries
April 27, 2016
New Herbicide For Tomatoes, Strawberries
The product from Helm Agro US is registered to control more than 100 broadleaf, grass, and sedge species. Read More
Fruits
April 27, 2016
Common Sense On Immigration [Opinion: On…
We need a guest worker program if we’re going to feed America and ensure our national security. Read More
Stone Fruit
April 26, 2016
No Peach Crop Likely This Year In Severa…
The sudden, hard freeze that followed the warm winter means Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut growers are seeing near total losses. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]