The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s organic program will have a new deputy administrator Oct. 1.
Miles McEvoy, who heads the Washington State Department of Agriculture Organic Food Program, will join the USDA National Organic Program responsible for regulating the U.S. organic industry and is scheduled to become an independent program within USDA, according to a news release
McEvoy “has worked in the field of organic agriculture for more than two decades and has a solid understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the organic community,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in the release.
McEvoy has worked for the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s Organic Food Program, one of the nation’s first state organic certification programs, for more than 20 years, according to USDA, and in 2001, McEvoy helped establish the state’s small farm and direct marketing program.
According to USDA, from 1993-95, McEvoy was the founding Director of The Food Alliance, a program that blends sustainable farming practices and social welfare components into an eco-label program. He also helped establish the National Association of State Organic Programs in 1998, where he serves as president. He also assisted in the development of an organic certification program for the Montana Department of Agriculture as well as the Oregon Department of Agriculture.
The Organic Trade Association “is pleased that (McEvoy) will be filling this very important position,” said Christine Bushway, executive director. McEvoy is a member of the association.
According to USDA, sales of organic foods have grown from $1 billion in 1990, when the Organic Foods Production Act established the Nation Organic Program, to an estimated $23.6 billion in 2009. Congress increased the program’s funding from $2.6 million to $3.2 million this fiscal.