Washington, DC, September 12, 2017 – Miles McEvoy, who manages the USDA National Organic Program as the Deputy Administrator, announced his retirement from his position the end of September in a letter to the industry.
Lee Frankel, the executive director of the CSO, stated that “The Coalition appreciates the leadership of Miles McEvoy in increasing communication between the USDA and the industry, creating prompter enforcement, establishing a database of certified operations, and embracing the diversity of the organic community.
Miles thanked the organic agriculture sector and specifically expressed his appreciation to the “thousands of organic farmers, ranchers, processors, handlers, and traders that produce, process and distribute organic products all over the world. Your work supports biodiversity, protects soil and water quality, and brings economic vitality to many communities; the certifiers and inspectors that verify that organic standards are met and enforce the standards when they are not; and consumers who choose organic and thereby support organic producers, handlers and organic agriculture.”
The CSO strongly supported Miles embrace of diversity within the organic sector. Specifically, Miles stated that “The organic world is diverse from many perspectives. Organic food is produced in diverse environments, from temperate climates to deserts to tropical rainforests. Organic farms and processors have developed a diversity of practices that comply with the organic standards and organic principles. Embracing this diversity of production is critical as the organic sector grows. Organic farms comes in all sizes and shapes. All types of people of varying cultural, religious and political perspectives participate. It is critical that we embrace organic diversity in all its size, shape and color.”
In addition, Miles also stated in his vision for the future, “Organic food should be available to everyone from the cities to the countryside. We need all systems and scales of production to transform the agricultural system.” This idea aligns closely with the vision of the CSO where “everyone deserves organics” through the expansion and inclusion of sustainable practices, including the use of containers.
The USDA has not established a firm time table for when a replacement will be named. Jenny Tucker, the current Associate Deputy Administrator for the past 6 years, will serve as the Acting Deputy Administrator.