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Green living expert, author, and TV personality, Sara Snow, explains the USDA organic seal and why "natural" is not organic.

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  • Three new studies confirm that exposures to common insecticides during pregnancy can cut a child’s IQ 4% to 7%  by age 9.
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Science Advisory Board

Catherine Badgley

University of Michigan

Catherine Badgley is a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Residential College at the University of Michigan.  Her research focuses on the history of global biodiversity and includes extensive studies of ecosystem changes over geologic time, biogeography of modern mammals, and sustainable agriculture.  She lives on an organic farm near Chelsea, Michigan.    

Charles Benbrook

Washington State University

Dr. Benbrook is a Research Professor at Washington State University, and serves as the leader of the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources (CSANR) program Measure to Manage: Farm and Food Diagnostics for Sustainability and Health (M2M). With M2M, Chuck works to develop and post on the internet a series of calculators that ultimately will support a range of food quality and safety assessments, at several levels of aggregation.  The M2M team is also working on tools to quantify an agricultural system’s environmental footprint. Linking these three major areas — nutritional quality, food safety, and agriculture’s environmental footprint — is the program’s long-term goal.

Jeffrey Blumberg

Tufts University

Dr. Blumberg is a Professor in the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and also serves as the Director of the Antioxidants Research Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.  His research has focused on the biochemical basis for the role of antioxidant nutrients and their dietary requirements in promoting health and preventing disease during the aging process via changes in status of oxidative stress and inflammation.  He has published more than 300 scientific articles and serves on the editorial boards of several scientific journals.  Dr. Blumberg also participates in activities relevant to the incorporation of sound nutrition science into public health policy and has served as a member of the Workshop on Health Promotion and Aging in the office of the U.S. Surgeon General, Sports Medicine Committee of the U.S. Olympic Committee, Consultation on Preparation and Use of Food-Based Dietary Guidelines for the WHO/FAO, Food Advisory Committee of the FDA, and other committees.

Asa Bradman

University of California, Berkeley

Dr. Asa Bradman is an environmental health scientist and expert in exposure assessment and epidemiology focusing on occupational and environmental exposures to pregnant women and children. He co-founded the UC Berkeley Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health (CERCH) and helps direct exposure and health studies as part of the CHAMACOS partnership in the Salinas Valley, California.  His research focuses on  pesticides, flame retardants, metals, emerging pollutants, VOCs,  and other contaminants. Dr. Bradman also leads an initiative to improve environmental health in California childcare facilities and was a recipient of the IPM Innovators award from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.  He participates in extensive community outreach and education and interfaces with other scientists, state and federal agencies, policy makers, and industry. He participates on several advisory bodies and was appointed by Governor Schwarzennegger, and reappointed by Governor Brown, to serve on the  California Biomonitoring Scientific Guidance Panel.

Andre Brito

University of New Hampshire

Dr. Brito is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of New Hampshire. His research focuses on Organic Dairy Management, with an emphasis on enhancing nitrogen utilization in lactating dairy cows through dietary manipulation to reduce the environmental impact of organic dairy systems. His work also examines how to enhance forage quality and digestibility by increasing the concentration of nonstructural carbohydrates through daytime cutting management (e.g., sundown- vs. sunup-cutting) and timing of pasture allocation (e.g., sundown vs. sunup strip grazing). Dr. Brito works to develop supplementation strategies to enhance pasture nutrient utilization while reducing the output of nitrogen and methane to the environment in pasture-based organic dairy systems, and improve milk composition (e.g., milk omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acids) and animal health by feeding flaxseed to organic dairy cows.

Patrick Carr

North Dakota State University

Dr. Patrick Carr is at North Dakota State University where he directs an organic research program that focused on cropping systems and conservation tillage practices suited to horticultural and field crop production. His teaching responsibilities include classes in areas related to crop production and pest management. He is located at an off-campus research extension center in southwestern North Dakota. 

Cynthia Daley

California State University, Chico

Dr. Daley is a Professor within the College of Agriculture, California State University, Chico, involved in a number of research activities to enhance and support the Organic Dairy Industry, including sustainable feeding strategies, nutrient management and value-added marketing. She supervises and manages the Organic Dairy Program located on the University Farm, for student experiential learning and for applied research.

Kathleen Delate

Iowa State University

Kathleen’s current position as Professor at Iowa State University is a joint position between the departments of Horticulture and Agronomy, where she is responsible for research, extension and teaching in organic agriculture. She was awarded the first faculty position in Organic Agriculture at a Land Grant University in the United States in 1997. She has a B.S. in Agronomy and an M.S. in Horticulture from the University of Florida, and a Ph.D. in Agricultural Ecology from the University of California-Berkeley. She has farmed organically in Iowa, California, Florida and Hawaii. 

Jane Dever

Texas A&M

Jane Dever is Professor and Cotton Breeder at Texas A&M and Project Leader for the Cotton Improvement Program since September 2008. Her research focuses on the development of public cultivars, and screening exotic collections for relevant native traits to be used in breeding cotton. Her current research included development of cultivars and IPM systems for organic cotton production.  Jane is the Plains and Western chair of the National Cotton Variety Testing Committee, secretary of the CottonGEN database steering committee, and was appointed a scientific member of the National Genetic Resources Advisory Council in 2011.  Jane received a B.S. in Textile Engineering (1983), M.S. in Crop Science (1986) and Ph.D. in Agronomy (1989) all from Texas Tech University.  She lives on a cotton, grain sorghum, soybean, and wheat farm northeast of Lubbock, TX where she grew up.

Carolyn Dimitri

New York University

Carolyn Dimitri is an applied economist with expertise in food systems and food policy. She is currently on the faculty of the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health of New York University. Dr. Dimitri is widely recognized as a leading expert on the procurement and marketing of organic food, and has published extensively on the distribution, processing, retailing, and consumption of organic food.  Prior to joining the NYU faculty in 2010, Dr. Dimitri worked as a research economist at the Economic Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture for more than a decade. She earned a PhD in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a BA in Economics from the University at Buffalo.

Eric Gallandt

University of Maine

Dr. Gallandt is an Associate Professor of Weed Ecology and Management at the Univeristy of Maine, where he has worked since 2000. He teaches in the Sustainable Agriculture undergraduate program, advises the student farm and a new on-campus initiative to grow fresh greens for campus dining service salad bars. The broad theme of his research program is ecologically-based weed management in organic farming systems, with a particular focus on strategies to manage weed seedbanks, including pre-emption of seed rain, seed predation and decay, and manipulation of seedling recruitment. From a practical perspective, these theoretical aims are studied in the context of soil-improving management.

Andy Hammermeister

Dalhousie University, Canada

Dr. Andy Hammermeister is the Director of the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada (OACC) and Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Agriculture at Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada. He has worked with the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada since 2002, conducting or collaborating in research on grain and vegetable cropping rotations/systems, soil amendments, pesticide risk reduction in soybean, variety trials of soybean, low-till organic production, wheat, lupin and flax, oilseed pumpkin production, wireworm control, dairy production systems, landscape biodiversity, and most recently black currants management.

Bradley Heins

University of Minnesota

Dr. Bradley J. Heins is an Assistant Professor of Organic Dairy Management at the West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris, Minnesota.  Dr. Heins conducts his research at the University of Minnesota’s West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC). The Center has a 110-head herd in a certified organic system, and a 140-head herd in a conventional grazing system. Besides Holsteins, WCROC has been crossbreeding cattle with Jersey, Swedish Red, Norwegian Red, Montbéliarde, Normande, and New Zealand Friesian. His research and extension program focuses on crossbreeding, best management practices for reduced input and organic production, management intensive rotational grazing, and group rearing of calves in an organic production system and how they affect the profitability of dairying.  He also serves on the Minnesota Organic Advisory Task Force.

Nguyen Hue

University of Hawaii

Dr. Nguyen Hue is a professor of Environmental Soil Chemistry at the University of Hawaii. His areas of expertise include soil chemistry with particular interest in organic matter management (e.g., composting, agricultural use of animal manure and biosolids), organicv farming, and in monitoring of environmental pollution, especially arsenic chemistry. He also studies soil acidity, Aluminum and Manganese chemistries, organic soil amendments and plant nutrition with focus on nutritional requirements of vegetables and tree crops.

Molly Jahn

University of Wisconsin

Dr. Molly Jahn is a plant breeder and plant geneticist who has contributed many widely used vegetable varieties to organic agriculture through her work breeding in and for organic systems. In the 1990s and 2000s, she served as founding director of the Organic Seed Partnership and the Public Seed Initiative at Cornell University before she moved to the University of Wisconsin Madison where she served as Dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences from 2006-2011. In 2011, she was appointed Special Advisor to the Chancellor and Provost for Sustainability Sciences at UW Madison. She currently holds faculty appointments in the Department of Agronomy and the Laboratory of Genetics as well as an appointment at the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory where she leads a component of a Lab-wide initiative focused on environmental intelligence for global sustainability. Her current work on knowledge systems for sustainability focuses on the role of agriculture and our choices within agricultural and food systems in humanity’s long term sustainable provisioning. She serves on many boards and advisory committees globally including the US National Academies Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources, Rothamsted Research (UK), the Qatar National Research Foundation Science Board, she chairs the US DOE Oak Ridge National Lab’s Scientific Advisory Committee for the Energy and Environmental Sciences Directorates, and advises philanthropic interests, venture capital, business, celebrity chefs, global organic agriculture organizations, and governments on sustainable agriculture and the science of long term safer space for agriculture and our food systems.

Carlo Leifert

Newcastle University

Dr. Carlo Leifert is the Dean for Business Development at Newcastle University. He is also the Research Development Professor of Ecological Agriculture at Newcastle since 2000 and Director of the Stockbridge Technology Centre Ltd (STC) since 2001. He leads Nafferton Ecological Farming Group (NEFG) and currently manages R&D projects focused on applied agronomic R&D to improve quality and safety and reduce costs in organic food production systems, interactions between food production methods and food quality (especially nutritional and sensory quality) and safety characteristics and the selection/breeding of crop and livestock varieties suitable for “low input” and organic production systems.

Chensheng (Alex) Lu

Harvard University

Alex Lu is an Associate Professor of Environmental Exposure Biology in the Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH).  His research focuses on understanding how ecological and human health are being affected by the pervasive presence of pesticides in the environment. His research follows the gene-environment interaction paradigm in which he characterizes exposures using biomarker approach first and then seek for mechanistic interpretations for the adverse health effects. His public health service involves in implementing practical methodologies, such as integrate pest management (IPM), at the community level in order to mitigate exposures to toxic chemicals, specifically pesticides. His ongoing collaboration with public housing authority and residents living in urban low-income public housing is making a great impact on adapting IPM practice so less pesticide is being used in residents’ dwellings. Alex also actively engages in public speaking events, as well as interviews by various media outlets, in translating research findings on the subject of pesticides and human health to general publics.  He currently serves as an Associate Editor for Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), one of the leading peer-review journals of environmental health, since 2006, and as an ad hoc reviewer for more than 30 scientific journals. He also serves as an ad hoc member on the scientific advisory panel to US Environmental Protection Agency under the authority of the Federal Insecticides, Fungicides, and Rodenticides Act (FIFRA) since 2004.    

Bruce Maxwell

Montana State University

Dr. Bruce Maxwell is Professor of Applied Plant Ecology in the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Science at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. Maxwell was instrumental in the formation of the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Science and has received national awards for outstanding teaching, best peer reviewed papers and outstanding graduate student from the Weed Science Society of America.  Maxwell’s research can be generally characterized as an application of ecological principles to resource management in natural and agro-ecosystems and synthesizing large amounts of field information from modern sensors to better understand the agroecosystem. 

Charles Mohler

Cornell University

Dr. Charles (Chuck) Mohler is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at Cornell University. His research focuses on the ecology of weeds, mechanical and ecologically based weed management and the biology of organic cropping systems. He was founder and former Project Director of the Cornell Organic Cropping systems Project, a large multi-experiment, interdisciplinary investigation into the ecology of organic farming. He published several books, including “Ecological Management of Agricultural Weeds”, “Crop Rotation on Organic Farms: a Planning Manual”, and “Guide to the Plant Communities of the Central Finger Lakes Region”. He is an active member of the Weed Science Society of America and several other professional organizations and has taken a leadership role in collaborative multi-state weed research projects since 1985. For more information on Charles Mohler, see the Cornell University Weed Ecology Research Laboratory HomePage.

Joji Muramoto

University of California, Santa Cruz

Dr. Joji Muramoto, soil scientist and agroecologist, is an associate researcher of the Department of Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz. His research focuses on agroecology, soil quality, and sustainable nutrient and soil-borne disease management in agroecosystems with special emphasis on fertility and soil-borne disease management in organic strawberries and vegetables in California Central Coast, sustainable agriculture in Japan, and Asian agroecology.

Warren Porter

University of Wisconsin

Dr. Porter is a professor in the department of Zoology has been studying low-level contaminant/pesticide mixtures at environmentally relevant concentrations that affect/alter developmental processes, neurological function (learning abilities and aggression levels), immune function, and endocrine function for more than 25 years. He is also interested in the process of infection and the biochemical responses to bacterial and viral infections. He is a co-founder of Isomark, LLC, that uses naturally occurring stable isotopes in breath for early detection of infection.

Alex Racelis

University of Texas Pan-American

Dr. Alex Racelis is Assistant Professor of Environmental Science in the Department of Biology at the University of Texas Pan-American in Edinburg TX.   His research interests include invasive species ecology and management, tropical and subtropical ecology, and the study of linked-social ecological systems such as urban and agroecosystems. Dr. Racelis has recently initiated a teaching and research emphasis in Agroecology at UTPA, and is the director of two programs: The CENA Program is an education program that emphasizes Curriculum, Experiential Learning, and Networking in Agroecology; the SOAR Partnership (Subtropical Organic Agriculture Research Partnership) is a participatory action research program partnering with local organic and sustainable growers to examine applied ecological aspects and challenges that limit the competitiveness of organic agriculturalists in South Texas. 

Chris Reberg-Horton

North Carolina State University

Dr. Chris Reberg-Horton is Associate Professor of Organic Cropping Systems at North Carolina State University.  As an agronomist with both research and extension responsibilities, he develops recommendations for organic production of corn, soybeans and wheat.  His most recent work has been on the development of reduced tillage methods for organic crops, plant breeding for increased weed competiveness, and greenhouse gas emissions from organic and conventional farming systems.  He also serves as the Assistant Director of Research at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems and is head of the Farming Systems Research Unit, a long-term experiment studying how alternative farming systems impact soil processes.

Jim Riddle

The Ceres Trust

Jim Riddle is a well-known speaker, author, and policy expert. He founded the Winona Farmers Market and the International Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA), and co-author of the IFOAM/IOIA International Organic Inspection Manual. Riddle served on the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Organic Advisory Task Force, and the boards of the International Organic Accreditation Service, Beyond Pesticides, and the Organic Processing Institute. Jim Riddle currently serves on the Leadership Team for eOrganic, the national Extension Community of Practice for organic agriculture; on the Citizens Board for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency; and on the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Advisory Committee. He is the elected Chair of the Winona County Soil and Water Conservation District Board and owns and operates Blue Fruit Farm. Jim Riddle is also former chair of the USDA National Organic Standards Board.

Gilles-Eric Séralini

Université de Caen, France

Dr. Séralini is a Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of Caen, France, in the Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Professor Séralini was one of the very first to demand a European commercial moratorium on agricultural GMOs for further research. He has been an appointed member of two governmental commissions on GMOs (the Biomolecular Engineering Commission (CGB) in charge of risk assessment, and the Biovigilance Committee assessing GMOs after they have been commercialized) since 1998, and president of the CRII-GEN Scientific Board (Committee of Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering) since 1999. He has written over 100 scientific articles and conference papers for international specialist symposiums, and given a number of lectures with a nation-wide impact.  He assumes several roles in the Commissions of the University of Caen, where he leads a research team associated with CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research) and INRA. Professor Séralini is also a renowned book author with more than ten books edited and translated into several languages.

Erin Silva

University of Wisconsin

Dr. Silva is an Organic Production Scientist with the University of Wisconsin Department of Agronomy. Her research includes projects involving organic no-till production, organic cover crop systems, participatory breeding and trialing in organic systems, and cost-of-production tools for diversified organic vegetable producers. Erin currently serves as co-facilitator of the Wisconsin Organic Advisory Council and an Associate Director of the University of Wisconsin Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems.

Riki Sorge

University of Minnesota

Dr. Riki Sorge is an Assistant Professor for Dairy Production Medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Minnesota. She is interested in cattle health and welfare. Her research program focuses on low-stress handling techniques and the evaluation of management strategies for the control and prevention of diseases on dairy farms.

Philip Stansly

University of Florida

Philip A. Stansly, PhD (Texas A&M University), Professor of Entomology, University of Florida Department of Entomology & Nematology and Southwest Florida Research & Education Center (SWFREC), Immokalee, Florida.  Dr. Stansly had his first experience with agricultural entomology using lady beetles to combat armored scale in date groves of Northern Niger, (1973-1976).  He then received his master’s degree in zoology from the University of Oklahoma (1978) using the lady beetle work as a thesis.  He earned a Ph.D. in Entomology (1984) working on the ecology of the boll weevil on native host plants in Tabasco (SE) Mexico.   As a post-doctoral associate for the State University of New York at Stony Brook (1985-1986), he studied the ecology of mound-building, nasute termites in the llanos of Venezuela.  In 1986, Dr. Stansly joined the IFAS faculty as head of a project to implement IPM with row-crop farmers of Coastal Ecuador financed by USAID (1986-1989).  He came the SWFREC in 1989 where he manages a program of research and extension on IPM of pests affecting the major crops grown in southwest Florida with emphasis on citrus and vegetables, focusing on Diaphorina citri and Bemisia tabaci respectively.  Dr. Stansly teaches and mentors graduate students and is author or co-author of over 550 entomological publications including 1 book, 7 book chapters, 129 refereed and 85 non refereed papers, 142 trade journal  and extension publications and 196 Arthropod Management Test reports.  Awards include the Florida Entomological Society Achievement Award for Extension (1995, 1999) and the University of Florida Davidson Productivity Award (2002).

Danielle Treadwell

University of Florida

Dr. Danielle Treadwell received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Horticultural Sciences from North Carolina State University where she conducted her graduate research in organic vegetable systems. She is a state Extension specialist with research and Extension responsibilities for organic and sustainable vegetable production at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Her research is focused on the integration of summer and winter cover crops into farming systems to reduce off-farm inputs and enhance agro-ecological benefits. She provides programmatic leadership for Extension faculty, farmers, and other agriculture professionals in the following areas: Florida’s food system including Farm to School, organic farmers, and small, diversified farmers.

Mark Williams

University of Kentucky

Dr. Mark Williams is an Associate Professor in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Kentucky. He is the Director of the Sustainable Agriculture undergraduate degree program as well as the 30 acre UK Organic Farming Unit. His research is focused on sustainable organic horticulture production. Research projects include developing, evaluating and optimizing diverse direct-marketed vegetable systems, and solving pest management issues in specific systems such as cucurbits, peppers and apples. Additionally Dr. Williams focuses on elucidating plant microbe interactions and how they are affected by farming practices.

R. Thomas Zoeller

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Dr. R. Thomas Zoeller, Ph.D., is Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His current research focuses on the role of thyroid hormone in brain development with an emphasis on the fetal brain.  Dr. Zoeller’s lab is also works on the mechanisms by which environmental endocrine disruptors can interfere with thyroid hormone action in the developing brain.  Dr. Zoeller’s laboratory has published over 120 peer reviewed papers on these topics.  He was a member of the U.S. EPA’s EDSTAC working group on Screening and Testing in the 1990’s as well as several other EPA review panels including for perchlorate, PFOA, and the tier 1 of the EDSP.  In recognition of his work, Dr. Zoeller received the “Scientist of the Year – 2002” from the Learning Disabilities Association and was a Samuel F. Conte Research Fellow at the University of Massachusetts, and was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal for his work.  He has served on numerous advisory committees including the EPA’s chartered Science Advisory Board, the Exposure and Human Health Committee (of the SAB), and the Integrative and Clinical Endocrinology and Reproduction Study Section of the NIH.  He is currently an associate editor of the journal Endocrine Disruption, and is on the editorial board of Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology.