OP: I know it’s still pretty early, but what are the main pillars of
the program being suggested at this time?
Bushway: The details will be determined by the industry,
but usually the bulk of the money goes towards promotion
programs. It can be any type of percentage; for example,
say that the industry had pooled $30 million, and they want
to do TV advertising in the top 20 markets in the country.
So they pull out 70 percent of their total revenue coming
in for that year and put some into TV advertising, some
into radio, some into print. Some could also go into things
like exhibiting at National Dietetics Association meetings,
or the Restaurant Association in Chicago to promote or-
ganic into food service. It’s really unlimited. Another per-
centage would go to research, not only market research,
but also research on the benefits of organic farming or the
greater nutrient density in organic products as opposed to
conventional products. These are the things that the board
would have oversight on—how the money is spent and
where it goes.
OP: How is the board chosen and what is the democratic process
in this whole system?
Bushway: People who are interested in serving on the
board are usually nominated by a group within the indus-
try such as OTA or a state organic organization. Much like
the National Organic Standards Board, ultimately it’s the
secretary of agriculture that officially nominates someone
to the board, but he or she is dependent on the industry
OP: What are the challenges with this being the first non-cate-
gory-specific marketing promotion order?
Bushway: With all the other promotion orders, it’s all
about particular food items. But for us, it’s not really about
a product, it’s about what organic delivers. If someone is
going to spend extra money to buy organic products, what
are they getting? This program is not about promoting organic leafy greens or organic milk—it’s about letting consumers know what they are getting when they see the
USDA Organic seal.