Welcome to the Iowa Organic Association!  

The Iowa Organic Association (IOA) is a statewide, 501(c)3  non-profit organization committed to organic education, advocacy and cooperation. Our membership is a diverse community of Iowa’s organic farmers, gardeners, food and farm businesses, advocates and consumers who are devoted to building a more sustainable Iowa.


Recent News

 

2019 USDA Organic Survey Results:  Iowa farming gets greener as demand for organic...grows

The numbers are in!  Every five years U.S. certified organic operations must complete an USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) organic survey to measure growth of the industry. 

The top ten organic producing states have pretty much stayed solid, with Iowa shifting from fifth to sixth in number of organic operations (779) and Ohio moving up to the fifth spot (785) - only by farms, not acres. Indiana squeezes in at ten, pushing out Maine. Iowa is still the number one producer of organic grains and hogs in the U.S. 

IOA staff and board members discussed the Iowa and U.S. growing organic economy last week with Des Moines Register's Donnelle Eller.  Click MORE to read The Register article and find links for 2019 Iowa and U.S. survey results.   

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Webinar: Organic Certification Cost Share Program

The Iowa Organic Association delivered a webinar about the UDSA National Organic Program (NOP) Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP) on Wednesday, October 14th.

Amanda Weigel, Agriculture Program Specialist with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) will be discussing OCCSP, eligibility for reimbursement, how to apply and any questions you may have about the program and process. The FSA is the fiscal agent charged with administering the OCCSP. There is an October 31 deadline for applying for cost share reimbursement.

The OCCSP provides cost-share assistance to producers and handlers of agricultural products for the costs of obtaining or maintaining organic certification under the USDA National Organic Program. Eligible producers include any organic producers or handlers who have paid organic certification fees to a USDA-accredited certifying agent.

  • In 2018, only 373 of 900+ Iowa organic operations applied for cost-share assistance for a total of $270,000.

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Take Action >> Help inform the National Organic Program!

As organic advocates, we are charged with the responsibility of National Organic Program (NOP) oversight and strengthening the integrity of the organic label. 

The USDA National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) needs to hear from you – farmers, businesses, consumers – about what works well and what processes and standards could be better?

Please consider writing a letter or providing a public comment about NOP strengths or weaknesses. Anyone can participate in this process.  Comments are due by Oct 1.

Twice each year, the NOSB meets in various locations around the United States for stakeholders and citizens to provide public input about the NOP.  The meeting this fall will be held virtually due to COVID-19. During this public forum, the NOSB will discuss public comments and agenda items, and then vote on recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture.

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Welcome, Olga Reding! IOA's New Organic Field Coordinator 

IOA is excited to introduce you to the newest addition of our team, Olga Reding. Olga will be leading our education and outreach activities – please reach out and introduce yourself. In just three short weeks Olga has hit the ground running.  Olga has strong professional skills and an organic background that will help grow awareness and support for IOA mission and programs. Olga has a certified organic business and understands the certification process, she has hands on experience interacting with public about organic principles and standards, she demonstrates impressive talents managing website and social media platforms, and most importantly, she is passionate about organic!  

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Derecho Resources

Thank you to Kathleen Delate, Ph.D. at ISU for leading efforts within the organic community to collect data about storm damage and loss, and for providing many resources for those affected by the August 10 derecho.  If you are stuck, unable to find the support you need – please let us know and we will help you.  Iowa has now received a federal disaster declaration so more funding for assistance should be available.


Share your damage estimates with Dr. Delate.


ACTION ALERT: Restore funding levels for the Organic Certification Cost Share Program

Yesterday we were blindsided by FSA changes to the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP) announced in the Farm Service Agency notice published in the Federal Register - “USDA Accepting Applications to Help Cover Costs for Organic Certification.”  

The USDA is cutting the funding formula for OCCSP, alleging that there is not enough funding available to reimburse organic operations at the levels specified by Congress in the 2018 Farm Bill (75 percent of certification costs up to maximum of $750 per certification scope).  The revised reimbursement amount is now 50 percent of the certified organic operation’s eligible expenses, up to a maximum of $500 per scope.

This action by USDA is unwarranted and completely unacceptable. The 2018 Farm Bill provided new funding for the program and also directed USDA to use the program’s carryover balances from previous years to fund the program for fiscal years 2019 through 2023. Given these sources of funding, there should be plenty of funds available for the program’s operation in fiscal year 2020. 

ACTION ALERT:  We are asking you to contact Senators Grassley and Ernst and Representative Axne, as members of the U.S. Agriculture Committee, and tell them why this funding cut is bad for organic farmers and handlers. 

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Show Your Support with IOA Merch!

We are excited to share two new IOA items with you!

We now have 100% organic cotton t-shirts with an awesome Iowa graphic representing the diversity of our agriculture landscape – they come in green or blue.  

Also, another fan favorite, something to keep you cool or hot, depending on the weather or your mood -- IOA-branded Klean Kanteen 20 oz insulated water bottles with sports cap. 

A portion of each purchase will support the work and mission of IOA.  Visit our Merchandise page for more information and to purchase. Thank you!!

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Protect Your Crops From Pesticide Drift and Damage

IOA worked with partners at the Iowa Department of Land Stewardship (IDALS) to develop a postcard to raise awareness about FieldWatch™ registration.  FieldWatch™ is a non-profit that provides online registry tools to promote communication between producers of pesticide-sensitive (i.e. specialty) crops, beekeepers and pesticide applicators.  

The online FieldWatch™ registry supports ongoing stewardship activities to reduce incidences of off-target pesticide exposure. The registries provide state of the art mapping features that provide applicators the locations of registered specialty sites. The boundaries on map entries are user-submitted specialty/sensitive site designations. 

Registration is free and the service is easy to use.  For more information or with questions, contact IDALS at 515-242-6236 or sign-up at https://iowaagriculture.gov/SensitiveCropRegistry.

If you do experience exposure from pesticide drift, contact IDALS Pesticide Bureau at 515-281-8591 or pesticides@IowaAgriculture.gov as soon as possible to file a report and initiate sample testing.