DR. JENNIFER TUCKER
Jennifer Tucker, Ph.D., was named Deputy Administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) National Organic Program on June 21, 2018. Dr. Tucker served as Associate Deputy Administrator of the National Organic Program from 2011-2018. Before joining USDA, she served as a group facilitator and organization development consultant, working primarily with scientific and technical government and non-profit organizations. She earned a B.A. in Environmental Science from Wesleyan University, an M.S. in Management from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies from Virginia Tech.
Megan DeBates is the Director of Legislative Affairs and Coalitions for the Organic Trade Association (OTA). In this capacity, she develops and implements policy strategies in the interest of OTA’s mission and its members, and engages Congress, federal and state agencies and other stakeholder groups to further those policy goals. She currently serves as staff for the Trade Association’s recently formed Dairy Council. The OTA Dairy Council brings together farmers, handlers, processors, and manufacturers in order to advance the organic dairy sector. The current membership of the council collectively represents over 90% of the U.S. organic dairy market.
Prior to joining OTA, DeBates served as Senior Legislative Aide to U.S. House of Representatives Congressman Peter A. DeFazio (OR-04). She graduated from the University of Oregon with a dual degree in international studies and environmental studies.
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. OTA is the leading voice for the organic trade in the United States, representing over 9,500 organic businesses across 50 states. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, rectifiers, farmers' associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA’s Board of Directors is democratically elected by its members.
OTA’s member organic businesses work together through networking, advocacy, and other initiatives to encourage and protect organic farming practices, and to share messages about the positive environmental and nutritional attributes of organic products with consumers, the media, and policymakers.
Since 2015, Abby Youngblood has served as the Executive Director at the National Organic Coalition (NOC), an alliance of farmers, ranchers, NGOs, and companies dedicated to protecting organic integrity. Youngblood has been a passionate participant in the organic farming and food justice movement for more than two decades and is a former co-owner and operator of a vegetable farm in upstate New York. She holds a masters degree in public policy and non-profit management from New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service, and lives with her husband and two children in Arlington, MA.
The National Organic Coalition (NOC) is a national alliance of organizations working to provide a "Washington voice" for farmers, ranchers, environmentalists, consumers and industry members involved in organic agriculture. NOC seeks to advance organic food and agriculture and ensure a united voice for organic integrity, which means strong, enforceable, and continuously improved standards to maximize the multiple health, environmental, and economic benefits that organic agriculture provides. The coalition works to assure that policies are fair, equitable, and encourage diversity of participation and access.
Ann Burkhart has worked in sustainable agriculture and social responsibility for the past 20 years. Her grandparents on both sides of the family were dairy farmers so she grew up with a strong connection to farming. Currently Burkhart is living on Whidbey Island, looking for land to develop as a sustainability focused retreat center and occasionally consulting in the sector. Most recently, she was as a Relationship Manager at Earthworm Foundation (formerly known as The Forest Trust). Burkhart worked with member companies (brands) to set policy around sourcing key agricultural commodities, gain traceability in their supply chain, support transformation projects at origin and verify progress against their goals. She also had responsibility for new business development in the United States.
Burkhart formerly worked at Starbucks as a manager on the ethical sourcing team, focused on Starbucks programs for dairy, produce and animal welfare, but also contributed to the manufactured goods, coffee and cocoa programs. Previously she helped build the company’s business ethics and compliance program and worked on the equal opportunity initiatives team. Burkhart has also worked as acting director of Weyerhaeuser’s ethics and compliance program and held management consulting positions with two Internet development firms. As a volunteer, she served on the board of directors for EarthCorps and Global Visionaries. Burkhart received her bachelor’s degree from the Jackson School of International Studies at University of Washington and her master’s degree from the Stern School of Business at New York University.