The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) reminds residents that the deadline to apply for the Minnesota Organic Advisory Task Force (OATF) is June 26. The OATF advises the Commissioner of Agriculture and the University of Minnesota about policies and programs that will improve organic agriculture in the state. Members from the following categories or sectors are needed: Two farmers using organic agriculture methods; One organic processor; One organic wholesaler and/or distributor of organic products; One member of the University of Minnesota faculty; One member representing a nonprofit producer organization (such as Farmers Union); One member representing the interests of the public; and, One member representing the interests of consumers. All members must be residents of Minnesota willing to serve a one-year term. Half-day meetings are held three or four times per year; members receive reimbursement for travel. Task force vacancies are filled through the state’s Open Appointments process.

The application form is available at (click the Open Commissions/Appointments icon) or by calling the Secretary of State’s office at 877-551-6767. Applicants should specify the category/sector they represent and submit a cover letter with their applications. Members will be appointed by the Agriculture Commissioner in consultation with the University of Minnesota. Minnesota is a leader in organic farming in the U.S, with more than 700 certified organic farms and more than 200 organic processors, according to MDA estimates.

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