Vilsack names McEvoy to National Organic Program post

by Bryan Salvage
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WASHINGTON — Miles McEvoy has been hired to serve as deputy administrator of the National Organic Program (N.O.P.) beginning Oct. 1, announced Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Mr. Vilsack also announced the N.O.P. would become an independent program area within U.S.D.A.’s Agricultural Marketing Service.

The N.O.P. regulates the organic industry, which is the fastest-growing segment of U.S. agriculture. U.S. sales of organic foods have grown from $1 billion in 1990, when the Organic Foods Production Act established the N.O.P., to a projected $23.6 billion in 2009. Congress increased N.O.P. funding to $2.6 million in fiscal year 2008 and to $3.2 million in fiscal year 2009.

Since organically grown and marketed agricultural products are of key interest to the Obama Administration, the N.O.P. will be receiving increased funding and staffing in the new fiscal year, according to Mr. Vilsack.

"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," Mr. Vilsack said.

Mr. McEvoy led the Washington State Department of Agriculture's Organic Food Program for more than 20 years; this is one of the nation's first state organic certification programs. He helped establish the W.S.D.A. Small Farm and Direct Marketing Program in 2001. From 1993 until 1995, Mr. 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.

Mr. McEvoy also helped establish the National Association of State Organic Programs in 1998 and currently serves as the association’s 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.

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