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Group Dynamics

Joining a trade association could set your business's agenda in motion.

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This story appears in the December 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

As the first national U.S. standards for organic foods went into effect in October, Dave Alexander was thanking his lucky stars-and his trade association. The Organic Trade Association (OTA), which Alexander has belonged to for five years, spent more than a decade lobbying for the rules. The change is expected to lead to big opportunities for small enterprises like Arlington, Massachusetts-based Global Organics Ltd., the seven-person organic foods importer Alexander founded in 1992.

"A lot of big companies have been eyeballing the organic industry but have been sitting on the sidelines because they didn't feel comfortable with the fact that there wasn't any federal legislation," explains Alexander, 38. "Largely due to the efforts of the Organic Trade Association, there now is."

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