The Organic Trade Association is founding a farmers advisory council.

In a news release from the Brattleboro, Vt.-based OTA, Perry Clutts said the advisory council will “give organic farmers a vehicle to influence OTA’s policy and advocacy work.” Clutts, a dairy farmer in Circleville, Ohio, is co-chairman of the new council.

Matt McLean, president of OTA’s board of directors, said in the release the formation of the farmers advisory council shows the association’s commitment to farmers in addition to the rest of the organic “value chain.” McLean is chief executive officer for Uncle Matt’s Organic, Clermont, Fla.

Barbara Haumann, spokeswoman for OTA, said June 21 is the target date for the first meeting of the council. She described it as a “strategic alliance of organizations.”

Haumann said every organization that joins the council will have at least one council seat. If an organization has more than 500 organic producer members, they will get an additional council seat for every 500 members.

Haumann said the participating organic organizations will select a producer to represent them on the OTA’s farmers advisory council. The news release said the council will be made up only of “active farmers of small and medium-size operations.”

According to the OTA’s news release, the purpose of the farmers advisory council is “to provide input from small- to medium-sized organic farmers, ranchers and growers to the trade association on matters geared to advancing organic agriculture.”