SPRING MILLS, Pa. — Pennsylvania Certified Organic (PCO), a nonprofit organization that offers organic certification services throughout the U.S., held its annual membership meeting in Bellefonte, Nov. 28.
The business portion of the meeting was followed by a listening session with Johanna Mirenda, Organic Trade Association (OTA), farm policy director.
Members acknowledged the departure of PCO founder and long-time Executive Director Leslie Zuck. Zuck left the position in September and her role is currently being filled by two interim directors: Kyla Smith, PCO’s director of certification, and Diana Underwood, PCO’s director of operations.
Smith and Underwood, both of whom have been with PCO for several years, are serving in this capacity while the board launches a search for Ms. Zuck’s successor.
Luke Howard praised Smith and Underwood for their performance since stepping into their new roles, both their management of the transition period and their commitment to moving the organization forward.
It was noted that PCO has maintained its position as the fifth largest certifier in the nation, with approximately 1,600 certified organic clients, and grew its PCO 100% Grassfed certification by 173 percent between 2016 and 2017.
“If you think about the growth that we have had as an organization, it really has been phenomenal,” Howard said.
OTA Farm Policy Director, and former PCO employee, Johanna Mirenda led a listening session on OTA’s work and the role of farmers in shaping that work. Mirenda stresed priority issues from OTA’s Farmer Advisory Council work plan: pesticide and GMO contamination, dairy industry issues, labor shortage and climate change.
Howard urged members to respond to a satisfaction survey and to vote in the 2019 PCO Board Member Election by Dec. 17.
For information on organic certification, contact PCO at www.paorganic.org, 814-422-0251.
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