Registration is still available for the upcoming 16th annual Iowa Organic Conference. A joint effort between Iowa State University and the University of Iowa Office of Sustainability, the 2016 conference will be held Nov. 13-14 on the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City. This year’s theme is ‘Perennial Passion: Building Resilience into Organic Systems’, highlighting how organic practices have been critical for preserving pollinator habitat and reducing soil erosion.
Farmer-mentor roundtables will offer farmers who are interested in transitioning to organic or have specific organic questions an opportunity to meet individually with organic farmers and organic certification experts.
Market demand for organic grains continues to exceed supply
“The market for organic products in the United States reached $43 billion in 2015 and the demand for organic grains and produce continue to exceed supply,” says Kathleen Delate, professor and Extension organic specialist at ISU. “Growers everywhere are encouraged to consider the potential for organic production.”
The conference’s keynote speaker is Fred Iutzi, president of The Land Institute. Iutzi will speak on the benefits of perennial plants for both farms and landscapes.
Experienced farmers answer your questions on organic production
The conference begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday, November 13, with a roundtable featuring organic farmers who will be able to answer questions about organic production. A keynote talk by Dr. Caroline Halde, assistant professor in sustainable agriculture at the Université Laval in Québec, Canada, will follow at 4 p.m. Halde will present a slide show on local food producers who use successful organic practices to meet market demand.
A reception, featuring local and organic food and drinks, will follow at 6 p.m. in the UI Memorial Union, followed by the movie “What’s on Your Plate,” which explores the benefits of local and organic food production in our food system. The conference lunch on Monday afternoon highlights local and organic produce, meats and dairy products assembled into a gourmet meal by award-winning UI executive chef Barry Greenberg and his team.
Weed management, organic livestock health, organic no-till
Monday’s break-out sessions include transitioning into organic farming, weed management, organic livestock health, organic no-till for grain and vegetable crops, and growing small grains. The conference also includes information on soil and water quality research, crop insurance for organic producers, economic and financial assistance for organic producers, and local food system initiatives such as food hubs and Grow Johnson County.
Conference registration is available online. Those needing hotel accommodations for the night of Sunday, Nov. 13 can contact the Iowa House Hotel. For additional conference information contact Shelly O’Neal at [email protected] or Kathleen Delate at [email protected] or 515-294-5116.