KUTZTOWN, Pa. — The Organic Farmers Association, a national membership organization for certified organic farmers that is sponsored by Rodale Institute, has announced its first governing council.

The elected council is made up of 12 voting certified organic farmer members and six advisory organizational members, each serving a two-year term.

Committee members are regionally diverse and reflect the national diversity of organic farms.

“It’s exciting to have our first fully elected leadership body,” said Kate Mendenhall, director of the Organic Farmers Association.

“We have an ambitious schedule for 2018,” Mendenhall said. “Three of our priority areas include strengthening the integrity of the organic seal, protecting organic certification cost share and funding organic research.”

The new governing council will assume leadership from the current steering committee at an April annual meeting and lobby day in Washington, D.C.

The council members from the Northeast are David Colson of New Leaf Farm in Durham, Maine, Maryrose Livingston of Northland Sheep Dairy in New York and Maddie Monty Kempner, membership and advocacy coordinator for the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont.