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Organic Trade Association

Just some of the awesome perks you'll find when visiting OTA's website

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The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is a unique and excellent membership-based business association for folks working within the organic industry in North America. You don't have to be a member though to benefit. OTA's website offers everyone, members and non-members alike, insight and tips about organic retailing, farming and organic advocacy.

There's a good chance you've heard of this organization, but have you explored all their helpful resources? Below, check out some of the many useful benefits and resources the OTA offers.

1. How To Go Organic

Hand down, the OTA's How To Go Organic pages are one of their most useful site sections. This area is organized into five sections for easy access no matter what area of the organic industry you work in, including...

  • Pathway for Producers: Steps to help producers transition to certified organic.
  • Pathway for Processors: Advice for new or existing handlers who want to go organic.
  • North American Directory: Organic farming resources by category or keywords.
  • Regional Guide: Useful organic farming resources organized by state and region.
  • Key Resources: Useful resources organized by sector.

Each section above is broken into easy to manage chunks for simple browsing. For example, the Pathway for Producers section is further divided into sections such as, Why Go Organic?, Is Organic for You?, Starting the Transition, Getting Certified, Managing Crops, Marketing and more.

The only con of this section is that some of the links really need to be updated, however, many links to information are still live and even when they're not, or a link has moved, you can often hunt down the resource manually.

2. Breaking News

OTA doesn't offer a ton of news on their site, but they do offer some of the most important news within the organic industry. Especially note-worthy is their OTA Responds section where OTA comments on ongoing and breaking issues happening within the industry. For example, when a major organization makes a crazy statement to the public, like, "Organics aren't worth it," OTA is there with a response to debunk it.

Other goodies you'll find in their news area:

3. Organic Directories at the Organic Pages

Like the How To Go Organic pages mentioned above, the OTA offers another subsection, called The Organic Pages.

The focus of the Organic Pages are the organic directories, that can help producers and processors find certified organic ingredients, products, producers, supplies and services offered by OTA members. For example, if you process and sell organic body care, you can check the Personal Care Directory to locate sellers or producers of organic essential oils for your products. This section also includes a consumer guide to organics.

Main Organic Pages directory categories include the following:

  • Certification Services
  • Branded Products
  • Broker Services
  • Children's Products
  • Consulting Services
  • Distribution
  • Farming Supplies
  • Farm-Grown Products
  • Fiber and Textiles
  • Food Service
  • Ingredients
  • International Trade
  • Manufacturing
  • Online Store & Mail Order
  • Packaging
  • Personal Care Products
  • Pet Food & Care Products
  • Private Label
  • Retail Stores

4. Organic Facts Made Simple

So far as certified organic producers or handlers go, your best sources for organic advice include your personal certifying agent or your handy NOP handbook. However, if you want to educate your customers about organics, then the OTA fact area can help.

In this section, you'll find easy to manage pieces of information related to organics and the wording can help you decide what to include on your organic business website or in consumer informational brochures or other customer info packets.

Facts about defining organics, environmental issues, nutrition, antibiotics, food safety, trends and more are offered.

5. Become an OTA Member

ALL of the OTA resources above are free and open to anyone. For those looking for even more benefits, you may want to consider becoming an OTA member.

OTA members reap benefits such as...

  • Connect with organic regulatory and legislative advocacy.

  • Get special industry information through OTA's exclusive member publications and market research.

  • Have OTA's consumer education, marketing and public relations resources at your fingertips.

  • Increase your business visibility and gain distribution while meeting up with organic industry leaders.

  • Socially responsible 401(K) retirement plans offered through Social(K).

  • Access to job postings through Green Dream Jobs.

  • $ discounts through FedEx, Hertz, HP and more.

  • Plus many other benefits!

About pricing: You get to select your own dues category at OTA based upon your company's Gross Annual Organic Revenue in U.S. $. Dues start at a reasonable $330.00 as of 2012.

+ See the OTA membership application.

{This OTA information is current as of summer 2012}

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