Mar 25, 2021
‘Organic public servant’ recognized by trade association
The Organic Trade Association on Thursday honored Kelly Strzelecki, Senior Trade Advisor for the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, with its 2021 Organic Public Servant Award in recognition of her outstanding efforts to promote and facilitate a meaningful public-private partnership for the organic industry through trade during her many years at USDA.
“Kelly has worked tirelessly through the years to expand organic exports and to create valuable new markets for our organic farmers and businesses,” said Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director of the Organic Trade Association. “Kelly’s commitment to organic has made a real positive difference in enabling the organic sector to thrive and advance. Helped greatly by her stewardship over the past two decades, American organic exports now total close to $650 million every year, and consumers all over the world are benefitting. We are truly honored to be presenting this award to Kelly.”
“I’ve had the distinct honor and pleasure of working with Kelly for over 20 years in her role as Senior Trade Advisor at USDA/FAS. She is an enthusiastic, informed problem solver and seeker of common ground. Kelly has been an incredible organic ambassador who partners and negotiates with integrity, compassion, and grace – the ultimate public servant,” said Robert Anderson, senior trade advisor to the Organic Trade Association and principal of Sustainable Strategies.
Strzelecki has 34 years of federal service, 32 of these with FAS working to support U.S. food and agricultural exports. In particular, she has spent much of her FAS career in support of furthering U.S. organic exports. She was instrumental in helping to communicate to overseas trading partners once the U.S. National Organic Program was established in 2000.
Strzelecki has helped shepherd to completion seven organic equivalence arrangements between the U.S. and its trading partners, and participated in dozens of organic international trade negotiations beginning in 2002 with Japan. Eleven years later, she was at the table at the signing of the U.S. – Japan organic equivalence arrangement, a first for the U.S. in Asia. She was a key negotiator in the first U.S. organic equivalence arrangement with Canada, signed in 2009, and the subsequent arrangements to follow: E.U., Switzerland, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and most recently the U.K. She has been a crucial voice for the U.S. in the Organic Equivalence Working Group, which is comprised of government representatives from Canada, the E.U., Switzerland, Japan, South Korea, and Chile.
After 34 years of federal service, Strzelecki is retiring at the end of March 2021 to spend time with her family and continue her world travels.
The Organic Trade Association’s Public Servant award was established to recognize and honor individuals in government who have been supportive of organic agriculture and trade.
Photo: USDA/Lance Cheung