There are five seats up for grabs on the National Organic Standards Board.

The board is responsible for making recommendations to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Organic Program, and is highly influential in the decisions that are made and standards that are implemented, according to a news release.

Five of the board's 15 spots are open, two for producers, one for a retailer, one for a handler and one for an environmentalist, according to a news release.

The terms are five years long, beginning Jan. 24, 2010.

Applications are due by July 17.

John Foster, senior manager of organic integrity for Earthbound Farm, marketed by Natural Selection Foods LLC, San Juan Bautista, Calif., intends to apply for the organic handler seat, according to the release. Trudy Bialic, director of public affairs for PCC Natural Markets, Seattle, is going after the organic retailer seat, and Nicholas Maravell, Nick's Organic Farm, Potomac, Maryland, is applying for an organic producer slot.

All three are members of the Organic Trade Association, Greenfield, Mass.

Written nominations, including cover letters and resumes, must be postmarked on or before July 17 and sent to Katherine E. Benham, NOP, USDA-AMS-TM-NOP, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Room 4004-So., Ag Stop 0268, Washington, D.C., 20250. Benham is also available by emailing