MONDAY, NOVEMBER 23 IOWA CITY
The IOA Annual Meeting was held immediately after the ISU Iowa Organic Conference on Monday, Nov. 23, 5-6pm in Ohio State Room #343 in the Memorial Union at University of Iowa.
The IOA Annual Meeting was open to all; however, only voting members could vote.
1. 2015 annual report
Through 2015 IOA has focused many of its resources on surveying the broad Iowa Organic Community to evaluate what they feel is most important for IOA to focus on in the next 3-5 years to help grow the organic industry in Iowa. We conducted an online survey with 200 respondents as well as 12 one-on-one interviews with Iowa organic leaders. The data from these two surveys were compiled into a report for a November board meeting, which helped direct the IOA Strategic Plan.
In addition to the strategic planning process, we also gained organizational capacity through importing all our organizational data into a user-friendly online database and upgrading our website to integrate with that new database, enabling online membership and donation payments. This will help us to better track Iowans who wish to become more active in helping to grow a healthy Iowa organic community.
Iowa State Fair
IOA staffed a booth in the second floor of the Ag building at the Iowa State Fair August 13 to August 23, 2015. Over 300 people signed up for more information about organics in Iowa. A big thank you to all our volunteers including PFI and OCIA who helped staff the table.
Outreach & Training
With NCAT, IOA co-sponsored an organic field day at Genuine Faux Farm in June 2015. This field day included an introduction to the new Whole-Farm Revenue Protection Program (WFRP) as well as a farm tour of Genuine Faux Farm's diversified farm. In addition to the field day, IOA also co-sponsored an Organic Inspectors training in Des Moines with Independent Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA) in November 2015.
Organic Research: Constraints to Profitability of Small Grains in Iowa and the Upper Midwest
IOA in collaboration with Iowa State University researchers made good progress during the 2nd year of the three-year grant from the Ceres Trust
to work on yield-limiting factors in organic small grains. Twenty-four organic small grains growers collaborated on the project this year, working to identify factors that may impact yields and quality, and then will implement on-farm trials on certified organic farms to test possible solutions.
We continued our quarterly newsletter in an online format to our members, as a member benefit. We also instituted a new monthly e-news to better communicate regular Iowa organic news to the full Iowa organic community, including farmers, gardeners, businesses, and consumers.
2. IOA Strategic Plan
On November 2, 2015, the IOA board met to review results from the 2 strategic planning surveys conducted earlier in the year and to create a 3-5 year plan for the future of the organization. The results of this meeting are compiled into a 1-page strategic plan guide available here.
3. New board member elections
2015 Board Candidates: Dr. Ai Wen and Paul Mugge (new) and Tyler Franzenburg (2nd term) were all elected into office for a 3-year term.
Dr. Ai Wen
Dr. Ai Wen is a biology professor at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). She holds a PhD from Rutgers University in Ecology and Evolution. Her research focuses on wildlife and human interactions in the agricultural ecosystem, ecosystem services provided by pollinators and birds to humans, and the wildlife habitat value of farms and how sustainable agricultural practices can benefit wildlife. Dr. Wen believes in diverse agriculture systems that can both grow enough food for local communities as well as preserve wildlife habitat and reduce the negative impact from farming to our environment. She lives in Cedar Falls with her husband.
Paul Mugge grew up on the farm where he now lives and works in Sutherland, Iowa (O'Brien County). He attended Iowa State University (ISU) and worked as an engineer with Boeing before returning to the family farm in 1976. Paul has been married to Karen for 40 years and has 3 children and 5 grandchildren. He is a life-long environmentalist and his farm management has been a progression from conventional, through sustainable, to completely organic since 2001. Paul teaches part-time at the local high school and he is active in his local church and many organic, sustainable ag, and environmental organizations.
RE-ELECTION: Tyler Franzenburg was re-elected to serve a second 3-year term on the board.
Tyler Franzenberg, Farmer Representative
Tyler grew up on a small farm near Keystone with his father, Greg, and raises raise organic corn, soybeans, small grains, hay and conventional beef cattle. Their crops have been organic since 1999. Tyler works as an American Society of Agronomy Certified Crop Adviser as well as doing consulting on soil fertility and manure management for area farmers. He has been a dealer for Blue River Organic Seed for seven years, since returning to the farm after completing an agronomy degree from Iowa State University. In addition he also own and operate FFC Enterprises, LLC, which is a custom manure hauling and trucking business.