AMES, Iowa – The 17th annual Iowa Organic Conference, a joint effort between Iowa State University and the University of Iowa Office of Sustainability, will be held 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,” said Kathleen Delate, professor and extension organic specialist in horticulture and agronomy at Iowa State. “Growers everywhere are encouraged to consider the potential for organic production to reap premium prices and environmental benefits.”
The conference begins on Sunday, Nov. 19 at 6 p.m. with a reception featuring local, organic food and drinks. The conference lunch on Monday afternoon highlights local and organic produce, meats and dairy products assembled into a gourmet meal by UI award-winning executive chef Barry Greenberg.
Monday’s keynote speaker is Jeff Moyer, executive director of the Rodale Institute, the first U.S. organic institute. Moyer is a world-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.
Monday’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 present on 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.
“The Iowa Organic Conference is the largest university-sponsored organic conference in the country,” said Delate. “Last year’s conference brought over 50 exhibitors, ranging from organic seed sales, to local food system non-profits, 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 http://bit.ly/organicconference
Hotel rooms are available at the Iowa House Hotel for Sunday, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-294-5116.
[PHOTO] Jeff Moyer, Rodale Institute executive director
[PHOTO] Nate Palm, organic farmer from Montana