OMRI Board of Directors
The OMRI Board of Directors broadly represents the constituencies of the organic industry with members selected from the community of certifiers, inspectors, farmers, suppliers, processors and handlers, and organizations serving consumer and environmental interests. The Board is the highest governing body at OMRI. It determines OMRI policy and standards and plays an active part in guiding OMRI in its public service role and in carrying out its mission.
Chair, Jennifer Scott, Centre for Systems Integration, London, Ontario, Canada.
Jennifer has worked for 15 years in the seed and crops sector for the Canadian Seed Institute, a not-for-profit organization created to deliver ISO 9000 quality system-based programs to monitor compliance in the seed industry with the Canadian Seeds Act and Regulations. This original work led to opportunities for CSI to become involved in providing auditing services for non-GMO IP systems, food safety programs and eventually, organic certification under the Centre for Systems Integration division. CSI holds COR and JAS accreditation currently, and maintained until recently both NOP and EU accreditation. Jennifer works within CSI as an auditor, inspector, reviewer, trainer, Quality System Manager, and in program development, maintenance and delivery. Jennifer holds a B.Sc. in Biology from the University of Waterloo, and a diploma in Crop Science from the University of Saskatchewan.
Vice-Chair, Nicole Dehne, Vermont Organic Farmers, Burlington, Vermont.
Nicole is the Certification Administrator of Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF). She began working for VOF in 2003, the year after the National Organic Program regulations went into effect. Since that time, Nicole has worked to represent the views of Vermont organic producers at the National Organic Standards Board meetings and as a member of the Accredited Certifiers Association. Nicole has a BA from the University of Montana and a Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Education from the University of Vermont. In her spare time, Nicole hones her chicken wrangling skills while operating her small, certified organic poultry operation in the Intervale region of Burlington, VT.
Secretary, Margaret "Meg" Tuttle McGrath, Ph.D., Cornell University, Riverhead, New York.
Meg holds a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from Pennsylvania State University. She holds an M.S. in botany from the University of Vermont and her B.A. in Biology is from Carlton College. Since 1988 Meg has worked in the Cornell University Department of Plant Pathology, first as an Assistant Professor and then as an Associate Professor in 1996. Meg is a member of the Cornell Organic Production Program Work Team and the Northeast Organic Network. Meg’s extensive research, publications and presentations cover organic disease management.
Treasurer, Darren MacFarlane, Bridgewell Resources, Oregon City, Oregon.
Darren has spent over thirty years formulating, marketing and distributing fertilizers and mineral products for use in certified organic growing and sustainable agriculture. As an early adopter of listing branded products with OMRI, he has worked in several management roles and is currently sales manager of the agriculture business unit of Bridgewell Resources. Darren holds a B.S. in Agriculture and Resource Economics from Oregon State University.
Chair Emeritus, John Ashby, California Natural Products, Lathrop, California.
John has over 25 years experience developing Natural and Organic foods. He is currently the General Manager of the Ingredients Division of California Natural Products – an organic innovator that has been making Organic foods since 1985. As a food scientist and Natural and Organic Foods advocate he has lectured extensively at Universities, and has over 25 published articles. He is currently the Chair of the State of California’s Organic Products Advisory Committee and holds an Sc.B. in Cellular Physiology and Biophysics from Brown University, and an MBA From Wharton.
Sue Baird, Mid-America Organic Association, Bunceton, Missouri.
Sue has an undergraduate degree in Poultry Science with a minor in Microbiology, and a Master’s degree in Poultry Diseases, with special emphasis in researching the transfer of Salmonella species. Before moving into organic certification work, Sue worked for six years as the program coordinator for Missouri’s Feed and Seed Program. She has cooperatively written three federal grants addressing microbial contamination for vegetable production. Sue has also worked as a quality assurance supervisor for a national poultry processing company. She was instrumental in developing and implementing the Hazards Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) program for the company.
Brett Bakker, New Mexico Department of Agriculture, Albuquerque, New Mexico.Brett Bakker has been involved with organic certification since 1991 when he became an inspector for the State of New Mexico Organic Commodity Commission, now the New Mexico Department of Agriculture Organic Program. He began his agricultural career saving heirloom seeds as a member of the Seed Saver’s Exchange and Native Seeds/SEARCH in 1980. This work continued with seed banks at Ohkay Owingeh (San Juan Pueblo), Talavaya Seeds, High Desert Research Farm, and Jemez Pueblo Youth Garden Project, among others. He is a past board member of the Accredited Certifiers Association and founding board member of the native-based Flowering Tree Permaculture Institute. He continues to head the NMDA Organic Program.
Jackie DeMinter, Midwest Organic Services Association (MOSA), Viroqua, Wisconsin.
Jackie comes from a Texas farming background and has a degree in agricultural education. She taught middle and high school agriculture for several years in Texas and Wisconsin and has worked for MOSA since early 2005. Jackie is the Certification Policy Manager and does a variety of outreach and educational programs for MOSA. She works on the OMRI Livestock Review Panel and Advisory Council. Jackie serves as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Accredited Certifiers Association Board of Directors and participates in various working groups.
Ben Dobson, Stone House Farm, Hudson, New York.
Ben founded Atlantic Organics in 2007, which was the largest organic fresh vegetable farm in the state of Maine. Between Atlantic Organics and his other venture, Locally Known LLC., Ben provided the first 100% East Coast grown and packaged organic salads for sale to the broader retail market in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. He developed an organic coffee business in Haiti; and learned about the production and export of organic bananas, coffee and mangoes while in the Dominican Republic. Ben currently works for Stone House Farm, a producer of certified organic and non-GMO grains for cover crop seed, human consumption and livestock feed. He is also the director of Hudson Carbon, a collaborative research project focused on monitoring the ecological impacts of farming systems with relation to carbon sequestration.
Tina Ellor, Philips Mushroom Farm, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.
Tina is the longtime Technical Director at Phillips Mushroom Farm. She is also a former member and Crops Committee Chair for the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).
Sheryl K. Reilly, Ph.D., SciReg, Inc., Woodbridge, Virginia.
Sheryl has over twenty years of experience with risk assessment and risk management as it applies to biopesticide regulation and the U.S. EPA. She currently serves as a Senior Regulatory Specialist for SciReg, Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in biopesticide registration and regulatory strategies. She has also served as liaison to the Pineapple Growers’ Association of Hawaii through the EPA’s Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program, where she worked with growers to identify appropriate Biopesticides that could be used in their integrated pest management practices and organic crop production. Sheryl holds a Ph.D. in Vertebrate Physiology, Cell Biology, and Immunology from The George Washington University.
Paul Sachs, North Country Organics, Bradford, Vermont.
Paul has studied natural soil system dynamics for close to 30 years and is considered one of the foremost authorities in the country on organic land care. He has written five books and hundreds of articles for trade journals, and speaks regularly at association conferences for professionals involved in both agriculture and horticulture. He has served as a member of the Technical Advisory Panel for the National Organics Standards Board of the USDA. Since 1993 Paul has completed work on five manuscripts that include the first and second edition of Edaphos: Dynamics of a Natural Soil System, Handbook of $uccessful Ecological Lawn Care, Ecological Golf Course Management (Co-authored with Richard Luff), and Managing Healthy Sports Fields.
Gwendolyn Wyard, Organic Trade Association (OTA), Corvallis, Oregon.
Gwendolyn holds a degree in Food Science with a Fermentation Science Option and a minor in Chemistry. She received her certificate as an independent farm and processing inspector through the International Organic Inspector's Association (IOIA) in 1997 and worked for multiple certifiers thereafter inspecting organic farms and processing facilities. Gwendolyn worked for many years as the Processing Program Technical Specialist for Oregon Tilth specializing in policy analysis and technical review of materials for use in organic products. She currently serves as the Senior Director, Regulatory and Technical Affairs for the Organic Trade Association.