The 17th annual Iowa Organic Conference, a joint effort between Iowa State University and the University of Iowa Office of Sustainability, will be Nov. 19-20 on the UI campus in Iowa City. Producers and experts from across the country will share tips for transitioning into organic production and methods to enhance organic operations.
“The market for organic products in the United States reached $47 billion in 2016, and even with 21,781 certified organic operations in the U.S., the demand for organic grains and produce continues to exceed supply,” says Kathleen Delate, professor and ISU Extension organic specialist in horticulture and agronomy. “Growers everywhere are encouraged to consider the potential for organic production to reap premium prices and environmental benefits.”
Opportunities to add value
The conference begins Nov. 19 at 6 p.m. with a reception featuring local, organic food and drinks. The conference lunch on the afternoon of Nov. 20 highlights local and organic produce, meats and dairy products assembled into a gourmet meal by UI award-winning executive chef Barry Greenberg.
The keynote speaker is Jeff Moyer, executive director of the Rodale Institute, the first U.S. organic institute.
Moyer is a renowned authority in organic agriculture. His expertise includes organic crop production systems with a focus on weed management, cover crops, crop rotations, farm equipment design and modification, and crop-livestock integration. He helped pioneer organic no-till farming and has written a book on the subject.
The day’s break-out sessions include transitioning into organic farming, weed management, organic livestock production, organic no-till for grain and vegetable crops, and new small-grain crops. Nate Palm, an organic farmer from Montana, will discuss his transition to organic farming and the road to diversity and economic success on his diverse crop and livestock farm. The conference also includes information on soil and water quality research, economic and financial assistance for organic producers, and local food system initiatives.
Largest university-sponsored organic conference
“The Iowa Organic Conference is the largest university-sponsored organic conference in the country,” says Delate. “Last year’s conference brought over 50 exhibitors, ranging from organic seed sales to local food system nonprofits to government offices working with transitioning and certified organic farmers. Despite the challenges of wet weather at planting and drought in July in many parts of the state, organic farmers are anticipating successful yields with organic soybean prices currently averaging $19 per bushel and organic corn at $8.70 per bushel.”
Online conference registration is available at bit.ly/organicconference. Hotel rooms are available at the Iowa House Hotel for Nov. 19. Guests may access room reservations by visiting the hotel’s website and entering group number 1280, or by calling the hotel at 319-335-3513 and mentioning the Iowa Organic Conference.
For additional conference information and directions to the conference, contact Delate at [email protected] or 515-294-5116.
Source: Iowa State University