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Minnesota Organic Advisory Task Force needs seven new members

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is seeking members to fill seven scheduled vacancies on the Minnesota Organic Advisory Task Force (OATF). Authorized by Minnesota Statute, the OATF advises the Commissioner of Agriculture and the University of Minnesota about policies and programs that will improve organic agriculture in the state.

Minnesota is an organic farming leader in the U.S, with more than 650 certified organic farms, according to MDA estimates. Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson says this growing agriculture and food sector needs and deserves support from public institutions like the Department of Agriculture and the University.

"Consumer demand for organic food and other products is growing at a good clip," Frederickson said. "We need task force members who will share their ideas and opinions on ways we can help the organic industry meet that demand."

Members from the following categories or sectors are needed: one farmer using organic agriculture methods; one organic processor; one organic retailer; one representative affiliated with an organic certifying agency; one representative from University of Minnesota Extension, one representative from the United States Department of Agriculture; and one member representing the public.

All members must be residents of Minnesota. Appointees will be asked to serve two year terms. Half-day meetings are held three or four times per year, and members receive reimbursement for travel.

Task force vacancies are filled through the state's Open Appointments process. The application form is available online at (click the Open Commissions/ Appointments icon) or by calling the Minnesota Secretary of State's office at 1-877-551-6767. Applicants should specify the seat(s) for which they are applying and submit a cover letter along with their application forms.

The application deadline is Tuesday, May 24, 2011. Members will be appointed by Commissioner Frederickson in consultation with the University of Minnesota, the director of the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, the dean and director of University of Minnesota Extension, and the dean of the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences.