Iowa Organic Conference Nov. 17-18

AMES, Iowa — The 13th Annual Iowa Organic Conference, scheduled for Nov. 17-18, will once again bring national experts, the latest in organic agriculture production research, and the voices of local experience together for an educational event. The conference will be held in Iowa City at the Iowa Memorial Union with a reception and movie showing on Sunday evening and the full conference beginning at 8 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 18.

Conference organizers are Iowa State University Extension and Outreach organic agriculture, the Office of Sustainability at University of Iowa, and New Pioneer Food Cooperative in Iowa City. “This is the second year this partnership has organized the conference,” said Kathleen Delate, extension organic agriculture specialist with Iowa State University. “There is a great concentration of producer and consumer interest in organic production in eastern Iowa, with Iowa City being the central location for the some of the largest organic producer and consumer communities in Iowa.”

Organic producers, consumers, conventional farmers, and others interested in science-based research in organic agriculture and practical applications for farming systems will find a wide variety of topics and speakers at the 2013 conference. Keynote speaker is Bob Quinn, a Montana organic farmer with 4,000 certified acres producing organic grains, alfalfa hay, vegetables and fruits. He will speak about on-farm biodiversity and the benefits of multiple crops in terms of spreading risk and providing ecological services.

Other conference speakers include Miles McEvoy, USDA National Organic Program, speaking about efforts to increase the understanding of organic; Bill Stowe, Des Moines Waterworks, on curtailing nitrate pollution in Iowa’s waters; experts on many aspects of local food systems; area organic farmers offering tips for best practices during transition to organic farming; and Iowa State researchers – Delate and Cynthia Cambardella – sharing findings from a 16-year comparison of organic and conventional rotations and recent research quantifying carbon sequestration benefits.

A Sunday evening pre-conference reception at 6 p.m. and showing of the moving “GMO-OMG” at 7 p.m. will be held in the Memorial Union Ballroom on Nov. 17. Conference registration begins at 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 18 with a welcome at 8 a.m. and concluding at 5 p.m. An all-organic lunch featuring regional foods will be served on Monday.

Registration options are available on the conference website at https://www.signmeup.com/95221. Additional details about the conference are available at http://extension.agron.iastate.edu/organicag/organicconference2013.html or by contacting Delate at 515-294-7069 or kdelate@iastate.edu.

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