Iowa State University (ISU) and the University of Iowa (UI) invite you to attend the Thirteenth Annual Iowa Organic Conference, at the Iowa Memorial Union on the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City, Iowa, with a movie and reception on Sunday night, November 17, and a full day’s program on Monday, November 18, 2013. This conference is directed towards organic and conventional farmers, Extension staff, industry representatives, and students who want to learn more about science-based research in organic agriculture and practical applications for your farming system. “This is the second year Iowa State University is partnering with the University of Iowa Office of Sustainability and New Pioneer Food Cooperative in Iowa City,” said Kathleen Delate, ISU conference organizer. “We have had such an excellent response from eastern Iowa producers and consumers, as Iowa City is a central location for the some of the largest organic producer and consumer communities in Iowa.”
This year’s morning keynote speaker is organic farmer Bob Quinn, who has certified 4,000 acres of his family farm in Big Sandy, Montana, producing organic grains, alfalfa hay, vegetables and fruits. Encouraging on-farm biodiversity, Quinn will describe the benefits of multiple crops in terms of spreading risk and providing ecological services such as soil fertility through longer crop rotations and legume cover crops that fix atmospheric nitrogen. “The future increasingly must be organic,” Quinn states, “in this era of limited oil stocks and the inevitable rise in price for petroleum-based agri-inputs.” Organic agriculture relies on no synthetic products and is capable of producing yields that are similar to conventional agriculture. Among the farm’s other innovations, Quinn is working towards powering much of his equipment, including a modified Caterpillar™ tractor, using straight vegetable oil, grown and refined at the farm.
In addition to the 15 workshop sessions, there will be over 40 educational and industry exhibits on display at the conference. The vendor set-up and reception for conference go-ers begins Sunday, November 17, from 5 to 7 PM, with the full conference starting at 7:30 AM with registration and the program running from 8:00 AM to 5 PM on Monday, November 18, in the UI Memorial Union Main Lounge. An organic-focused film, “GMO-OMG” will be shown at 7 PM Sunday night with a reception starting at 6 PM. Discounted early registration ends November 1. Please register on the website site http://extension.agron.iastate.edu/organicag/organicconference2013.html