By Kathleen Delate—Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
The nineteenth annual Iowa Organic Conference will be held November 24th-25th at the University of Iowa 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 conference is a joint effort between Iowa State University and the University of Iowa.
Alex Heilman, director of sales at Mercaris, will deliver the keynote called “Profitability of Organic Ag: Now and Into the Future.” Mercaris is a leading source of organic marketing information in the United States.
The conference begins at 3:00 pm November 24th with a special movie at the University of Iowa Memorial Union, featuring “Dreaming of a Vetter World,” with David Vetter.
A reception will follow, featuring local and organic food and drinks. The conference lunch on November 25th will highlight local and organic produce, meats, and dairy products assembled into a gourmet meal by Barry Greenberg, executive chef at the University of Iowa, with help from his team.
Monday’s breakout sessions start at 8:00 am and include information on transitioning into organic farming, weed management, organic livestock production, and alternative crops such as hops and hemp.
University scientists and farmers will present sessions on improving soil quality, pest management, and a special Bill Stowe memorial session on enhancing water quality. Stowe is a former CEO and general manager of Des Moines Water Works, who died in April.
“The Iowa Organic Conference is the largest university-sponsored organic conference in the country,” said Kathleen Delate. “Despite the challenges of wet weather at planting, organic farmers are anticipating successful organic yields with organic soybean prices currently averaging $18.95 per bushel and organic corn at $8.20 per bushel.”
Conference registration is available online and is $100 until November 17th, and $120 thereafter. Hotel rooms are available at the Iowa House Hotel for November 24th. Guests can access room reservations online by entering group #1280 or calling the hotel at (319)-335-3513 and mention the Iowa Organic Conference. For additional conference information and directions, visit the 2019 Iowa Organic Conference webpage or contact Delate at [email protected] or 515-294-5116.