Montana farmer honored with Organic Trade Association’s Rising Star Award

Nate Powell-Palm gives full credit for being a farmer to organic. Under age 30, with already more than 15 years’ experience with organic production, the young Montana organic farmer and livestock producer will receive the Organic Trade Association’s Rising Star Award next month at a celebration dinner in Baltimore, MD, during Natural Products Expo East.

Powell-Palm started farming at the tender age of just 12 as part of a 4-H project, and used grants and other opportunities to develop and expand his cattle operation in Bozeman, MT. Raising livestock according to organic standards, he applied for certification while still in high school. During college, he completed training through the International Organic Inspectors Association, and started working as an organic inspector. Since graduation, he has expanded his farm into crop production while also growing his cattle enterprise.

He has already proven to be a leader in organic agriculture, not just in Montana but on a broader national stage.

Powell-Palm and his hard work drew praise from fellow organic farmer and Montana Senator Jon Tester, who stressed the importance of young farmers to the future of agriculture.

“Nate’s passion for organic farming and ranching is already making waves here in Montana,” said Tester. “As an organic farmer myself, it’s great to see young producers like Nate taking the reins and leading our state into the future of production agriculture.”

A Farmstead member of the Organic Trade Association through Montana Organic Association (MOA), Powell-Palm has been a regular participant in the trade association’s Policy Days, and is an effective spokesperson for organic agriculture in D.C. This past April, he provided testimony regarding the economic opportunities for farmers through sustainable agricultural practices before the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food & Drug Administration, and related agencies.

"I couldn’t be more honored to receive this award, and to be an organic farmer. I probably wouldn’t be farming if I had not gone the organic way,” said Powell-Palm.

“Throughout the country, the challenges of farming are resulting in farmers being forced to give up their agricultural heritage and profession,” he said. “But we do have a solution that gives us the opportunity to use sustainable agricultural practices, earn premium prices for our crops and stay in farming – and flourish – as a result. It’s certified organic farming.”

The Organic Trade Association’s Annual Organic Leadership Award was established in 1997. Awardees are nominated by their peers and chosen unanimously by the association’s Board of Directors. A complete list of past honorees is featured on our website.

Also honored this year will be California organic grower Israel Morales Sr., JV Farms Organic, with the Organic Farmer of the Year Award, and Oregonian organic standards expert and consultant Lynne Coody, Organic Agsystems Consulting, with the Growing the Organic Community Award.

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