Jan 9, 2024
Organic Trade Association expands leadership team
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) has appointed a new leadership team.
Co-CEOs Tom Chapman and Matthew Dillon will lead the organization based in Washington, D.C.
Reflecting the expanding vision of the trade association and the increasing opportunities and potential in the organic sector, Chapman and Dillon will combine their deep sets of expertise and seasoned perspectives to continue to push organic forward, according to a news release.
“Tom and Matthew are truly a dynamic duo with a history of success as well as partnership, and they are poised and eager to accelerate the work of the trade association and to help us reach our strategic objectives,” Tracy Favre, OTA’s Board of Directors president, said in the release. “Moving to co-CEOs broadens OTA’s ability to effectively represent our members in the growing and evolving organic sector. The timing is right for this change, and the entire Board of Directors is supportive of this evolution in our leadership.”
“Chapman and Dillon bring an impressive depth and breadth of leadership to OTA,” according to the release. “Collectively, they have more than four decades of experience in organic across the industry, including farming, seed sector, supply chain, consumer packaged goods, certification and regulation and government affairs. With the upcoming announcements of the first USDA Organic Marketing Development grant recipients, the trade association’s continued work as a lead cooperator for USDA’s Transition to Organic Partnership Program, and a Farm Bill worth fighting for, Chapman and Dillon’s leadership will ensure OTA is well positioned to support the continued growth and improvement of the organic sector.”
Chapman joined the trade association in April 2022 as CEO, bringing 20 years of industry experience with expertise in policy, organic certification and organic supply chains. Starting his career at Quality Assurance International, he went on to lead the management of supply chains at Kinder’s Premium Sauces and Seasonings, Clif Bar & Company and Numi Organic Tea. As OTA’s co-CEO, Chapman will lead the association’s regulatory and technical affairs work, oversee the development of association programs and products and will be responsible for operations and financial management.
Dillon was raised in an agricultural family and community in Nebraska and has held diverse roles in organic food and farming, working from seed to shelf. He headed Abundant Life Seed, one of the first certified seed companies in the U.S. and founded Organic Seed Alliance. He worked for more than ten years at Clif Bar & Co. in several roles including vice president of impact and government affairs. He most recently served as chief sustainability officer for organic poultry producer Farmer Focus. As co-CEO for OTA, Dillon will oversee the organization’s public relations, policy agenda, member engagement and fundraising.
“It’s a privilege to co-lead OTA with Matt Dillion, particularly at this pivotal moment for the organic,” Chapman said in the release. “Our collective dedication to advancing the organic marketplace and our deep-rooted trade experience position us well to drive the organic sector forward. I look forward to leveraging our expertise to elevate OTA’s initiatives, foster growth in the marketplace, and champion the benefits of organic for a healthier, more sustainable future,” said Chapman.
Dillon expressed enthusiasm for his new role.
“I’m thrilled to be stepping into this role,” he said in the release. “There’s an incredible opportunity to improve the integrity, relevance, and value of organic for our farmers, brands, consumers, and planet. OTA can continue to lead and convene its diverse members to expand that potential. I look forward to working with Tom, the rest of the staff, our members, and the broader community of organizations working to improve the future of food and farming.”
More people than ever are eating organic food and using organic products, and the U.S. organic sector has never been bigger, according to the release. Organic sales in the U.S. in 2022 totaled a record $67.6 billion, as consumers are increasingly attracted to organic because of its environmental, nutritional and social benefits. Organic food sales, at almost $62 billion, broke through $60 billion for the first time, hitting another high-level mark for the robust organic sector, according to the release.
As the leading voice for organic trade in the United States, OTA has worked to strengthen organic businesses and promote organic agriculture for 30 years. The association represents more than 10,000 organic businesses across 50 states. Its members represent the entire organic supply chain, including growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers’ associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others.
The association’s expanding activities reflect the forward momentum and growth of the organic sector: its increasingly strong and effective advocacy for organic on Capitol Hill and in government agencies, the building out of business services offered to members, the creation of new member councils and task forces to better represent emerging organic categories, the inclusion of organic in climate-smart discussions and solutions, and the trade association’s growing diversity and entrepreneurship program.