Richard D. Siegel is an agricultural lawyer with more than 30 years experience in key posts in the Federal Government and private law practice in Washington, D.C.
Since 1998 he has specialized in advising and representing food product and ingredient companies, seed and fertilizer companies, organic retailers and organic certifiers on matters related to the National Organic Program (NOP) in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Active in the Organic Trade Association (OTA) since 1998, he has served on its Government Affairs Committee and advised the OTA on legislative and regulatory matters. When Congress developed the 2007-8 Farm Bill, containing major organic provisions, the OTA retained him as part of its lobbying team to provide legislative drafting, analysis, and counsel. He has been a frequent speaker on organic labeling at the Federal Food Regulatory Conference in Washington, D.C., at OTA meetings throughout the United States and on food industry webinars.
Other Organic Law Practice Highlights
- 2002 – Represented sponsors of the first plant in North America to manufacture organic high fructose corn syrup, Colorado Sweet Gold in Jamestown, CO, facility, enabling it to gain organic certification.
- 2005-2010 – Represented Agrano, the German yeast manufacturer, and its U.S. importer, as they introduced first commercially available yeast as a food ingredient in organic form. Succeeded in having NOP regulations modified to enable more use of organic yeast in organic processed foods.
- 2008 – Served on the legal team preparing an appeal for one of the largest NOP-accredited certifiers
- 2010-2017 – Advised major infant formula manufacturer on NOP regulations and policies, including work with the legal team on a class action in Federal court.
- 2011 – Represented Organic Vintners and a coalition of other wine companies in an attempt to change NOP regulations to allow wine with added sulfites to be labeled “organic” instead of “made with organic grapes”
- 2012 – When a Fortune 50 corporation, one of world’s largest consumer packaged goods businesses, was acquiring an organic company for the first time, advised corporation’s legal team on the NOP enforcement process.
- 2015 – Advised and represented DSM Nutritional Products, one of the world’s largest vitamin manufacturers, to have National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) vote to retain non-organic fish oil as an allowed ingredient in organic foods.
Prior Government Service and Early Career
He served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and Environment from 1981 to 1987. In that position, he supervised policymaking for the U.S. Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, two principal agencies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Prior to serving in the Department of Agriculture, he was a Special Assistant to a Member of Congress, Legislative Counsel to a U.S. Senator and a staff counsel for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. He received his A. B. degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his law degree, J.D., from Harvard Law School.
At the start of his career, he was a prize-winning journalist for the Philadelphia Inquirer. His op-ed articles on agriculture, timber, and other legislative topics have appeared in the Washington Times, National Law Journal, Journal of Commerce and Sacramento Bee.