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



Webinar: NRCS CSP Works for Organic Producers on Tuesday, October 4 @ 12 p.m.

The Iowa Organic Association has invited Rubyana Neely, Iowa NRCS CSP Program Manager, to lead a webinar on Tuesday, October 4 from 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. to discuss how the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) can be beneficial to organic producers. Sign up deadline for FY2023 is October 7, 2022. 

CSP provides many benefits including increased crop yields, decreased inputs, wildlife habitat improvements, and increased resilience to weather extremes. CSP is intended for working lands including cropland, pastureland, nonindustrial private forest land and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of a tribe.  

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Organic Workshop & Farm Tour -- Tools for Organic Transition and Production in Cherokee on August 31, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

The Iowa Organic Association, Dakota’s Best Seed and Northbourne Organic Crop Insurance are partnering to deliver Growing Organic Expertise, a full day workshop for farmers, ag consultants and others interested in learning about organic production, tools and resources to broaden participation and success in the organic industry.

This full-day workshop will include presentations from organic specialists in the morning, a farm-to-table organic lunch, and an organic farmer panel and field visit at Travis Otto's farm in the afternoon. Travis has been certified organic since 2016 and farms 250 acres in a 5-year rotation of corn/beans/corn/barley with alfalfa interceded, and one year of alfalfa after the seeding year. Workshop topics will cover USDA organic standards, crop options and rotations for organic transition and production and organic markets. 


Organic Transition and Diverse Production Systems at Three Sisters Farm in Williams on August 24, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Ortrude Dial, owner and operator of Three Sisters Farm in Williams will host a field day to share about her journey into organic production and showcase her diverse organic farm.

The field day will be led by Ortrude and Matt Miller, another organic farmer from north central Iowa, who has helped her manage weed issues on her farm. We’ll start at the little historic church located on the farm and then tour the organic field crops under a four-year rotation of corn, soybeans, oats, legumes and cover crops, and also visit the acres used for rotational grazing for over 400 ewes.

 


Webinar: Valent Biosciences on August 9, 12 p.m. - 1 p.m.

Join IOA and Valent Biosciences for a webinar that will cover a range of topics on how to effectively use Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) biopesticides in your operation. We'll cover topics like how Bt and DiPel work, how to decide which Bt strain best suits your needs, and best practices for mixing and applying.

For generations DiPel® Biological Insecticide has been used in conventional and organic production alike to sustainably control caterpillar pests. First registered in 1971, DiPel is celebrating 50 years of crop protection, all that time being made in Iowa.

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Organic Prairie Farm Management & Seed Production in Williamsburg on August 8, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Christine Taliga-Burton, her husband John and daughter Anna Burton, are hosts for the Organic Prairie Farm Management & Seed Production field day at Burtal Farm near Williamsburg. For the past 23 years, Christine and her family have been committed to using organic farming practices to restore tallgrass prairie on their farm and fulfill their vision of farming in harmony with nature, resulting in improved soil health, clean water and thriving diverse farm habitats. The implementation of prairie restoration practices has helped conserve and enhance farm resources while offering a sustainable family enterprise.

This field day will include a farm tour with Christine, John, and Anna as they showcase their prairie areas and share about weed management efforts, conservation challenges and their new journey into selling certified organic prairie pollinator seed and plant products for the home gardener (@Etsy, BurtalFarmSeed).  Andrew Olson from UNI Tallgrass Prairie Center will join us during the field day to answer questions and offer resources about prairie restoration opportunities in Iowa.


FLOLO Farms Showcasing Organic Practices, Research and Resources in West Union on July 22, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

The FLOLO Farms Organic Field Day hosted by Loran and Brenda Steinlage is part of their week-long Field Week to offer education and support about innovative alternatives to traditional corn and soybean production and the value and benefits of regenerative and diverse farming systems.  This field day includes a full day of networking, farm tours and presentations from Loran, OGRAIN, Rodale, the Iowa Organic Association and a farmer panel to offer a broad range of organic expertise and resources for those wanting more information.


To Till or Not to Till? Building Soil Organically - a workshop for ag advisors by OATS in Keota on July 18, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Iowa Organic Association in collaboration with the Organic Agronomy Training Services (OATS) hosted a full day workshop and field day at The Wooden Wheel Winery and Levi Lyle's farm in Keota, Iowa focused on organic production and how tillage is used to protect and enhance the soil on organic field crop farms. Presenters and a farmer panel shared information about how tillage is used (and not used) to protect and enhance the soil on organic field crop farms.

After lunch we gathered at Levi's farm to learn about his organic production plan in his organic soybean fields and how he uses cover crops, a roller crimper and weed zapper to manage weeds in the field. Kathleen Delate shared about the research she and Levi have been conducting since 2020 in organic no-till corn and soybean production. We ended the day on a high note with Levi and his daughter sharing their musical talents - what a special treat!  

Thank you to OATS for coordinating and cooperating with IOA to deliver this full day workshop and farm tour! Thanks to Levi for his time and generosity in preparing and hosting us at his farm. And thank you to the many organic experts who provided valuable insight and information to the program: Mallory Kreiger, Dr. Joel Gruver, Doug Alert, Eric Madsen, Matt Leavitt and Dr. Kathleen Delate. 

Cafe Doldici from Washington, Iowa prepared an outstanding local, organic meal for our guests which included organic ingredients from Blueberry Bottom, Levi Lyle, Jonai Miller, Lorraine's Garden and Golden Delight Bakery. 

PICTURES


Growing Organic Expertise with DMACC at Aaron Lehman's Farm in Polk City on July 14, 9 a.m. - 11 a.m.

Aaron Lehman hosted DMACC students and others interested in learning more about the U.S. organic movement, the National Organic Program, Midwest organic production options and a range of resources that support organic transition and certification.

Aaron is President of the Iowa Farmers Union and a fifth-generation farmer where he and his family grow corn, soybeans, oats, and hay in both organic and conventional rotations. In the mid-2000s, he and his dad decided to try something different from the traditional two-crop system and began to explore certified organic production to diversify the land and improve sustainability, while increasing net revenue.


Growing Organic Expertise with NIACC at Ash Grove Farm in Hampton – June 27

Margaret and Doug provided participants an up-close look at their current crop rotations of hairy vetch, rye, corn and soybeans, a detailed explanation of the many machines used to manage planting, cultivating, weeds and pests, as well as insight into their motivations and experiences of operating a diverse organic farm.

For a lot of these students this is the first time they are hearing and learning about organic standards or organic production methods and the wide-ranging benefits of organic practices including high market premiums, improved farm assets and surrounding natural resources, and meeting consumer demand for local and organic products.

Thanks to Doug and Margaret for taking time to host this Growing Organic Expertise Field Day to highlight the opportunities, benefits, and value of implementing organic practices on the farm.

PICTURES


IOA Field Day: Organic Vegetable Production for Healthy Foods and Healthy Communities with Organic Greens – June 24

Last Friday’s breezy, cloud covered morning provided an ideal setting for IOA’s first field day of the season! James Nisly and Organic Greens staff were wonderful hosts and mentors, offering technical advice, first-hand experience, and in-field demonstrations and tours of the microgreen facility and farm. Organic Greens is a great example of a diverse organic operation focused not only on profits, but also enhancing the farm’s natural assets while meeting the needs of the local market and community (i.e. food, jobs, ecosystem). 

Participants first toured the microgreen facility where they saw operation flow from production to packaging and then toured plots on the 13-acre farm and discussed plans and management of his crops, which includes cabbage, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash. James currently sells his greens and field crops to about 40 wholesale customers in eastern and central Iowa, including K12 schools, colleges and universities, natural food stores (Wheatsfield Coop, New Pi, Gateway Market), and traditional retailers such as Hy-Vee stores.

Thank you to our hosts, and to Maria, James’ mother-in-law, for procuring and preparing a delicious farm-to-table lunch, and to those who provided local and organic ingredients for the meal: Blueberry Bottom, Boyd’s Bologna, Organic Greens, and Radiance Dairy.

PICTURES


Webinar: FSA Farmer Loan Programs – Tues, May 24 @ 12 p.m.

The Iowa Organic Association is hosting Brian Gossling and Luke Hawkins from the Iowa Farm Service Agency (FSA) for a webinar about a few farmer loan programs offered by FSA. During this webinar you will learn further about the following programs: Farm Storage Facility Loans, Marketing Assistance Loans and Farm Operating Loans.

FSA offers beneficial repayment terms and interest rates, including rates as low as 1.5%. Iowa has the largest FSA loan portfolio in the nation with over $2.3 billion in loans and loan guarantees.

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An Intro to Organics Field Day on Aaron Lehman’s Farm, Polk City – Tues, Mar 8; 3:30-5:30 p.m.

The Iowa Organic Association and Aaron Lehman, IFU President and Polk City organic farmer, are hosting an Organic Field Day for Drake University Environmental Regulation in Agriculture law students on Tuesday, March 8 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.  This field day is open to public.

This Organic Field Day will provide college students, farmers and anyone interested, an opportunity to learn from industry experts about the U.S. organic movement, the National Organic Program, Iowa and Midwest organic production options and a range of resources and support for organic transition and certification. Aaron is a fifth-generation family farmer where he and his family grow corn, soybeans, oats, and hay in both organic and conventional rotations. 


Rodale Institute Farming Systems Trials Research Overview with Dr. Yichao Rui

Dr. Rui is a Soil Scientist at Rodale Institute. He also serves as the Research Director of the 40 years’ old FST, the oldest field experiment comparing organic and conventional grain production systems in North America. In this webinar, Dr. Rui will provide an overview of 40 years’ research findings of the FST, with a focus on the impact of organic management on soil health, grain nutrient quality, and profitability of grain cropping systems.

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Tending to the Microbial Life of your Soil with Chris Trump

Chris Trump is a world-renown Korean Natural Farming (KNF) educator, a practice using indigenous microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, nematodes and protozoa) to produce fertile soils that yield high output without the use of herbicides or pesticides resulting in improved soil health, loaminess, tilth and structure. Chris is a life-long farmer who brings science and research to farmers, giving them effective and efficient tools for decreasing disease and increasing income using indigenous micro-organisms.

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Organic Grass Milk Dairy Farming with Joe Langmeier

Joe, Mike, Keith and Jim Langmeier own and operate Langmeier Dairy, Inc in Prairie Du Chen, Wisconsin.  The Langmeier organic dairy and produce farm has been certified organic for 20 years. Joe will share about their family’s farming journey into organic and their success using dry cow and calf-raising with high-quality forages.

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Annual Meeting Member Update - 2021 Progress & 2022 Goals

Roz Lehman, IOA executive director, presented accomplishments from 2021 and what’s on the horizon for 2022 during the 2021 Annual Meeting on December 9, 2021.  She has reproduced this presentation to share an overview with our members and supporters about the programs IOA delivered over the past year (Growing Organic Expertise in Iowa, Field Days, Webinars, outreach, advocacy) and goals for the next year.

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Economics of Soil Health Systems with Dr. Elizabeth Rieke

Dr. Elizabeth Rieke is a Soil Microbiome Scientist at the Soil Health Institute focusing on how soil health management practices affect soil microbial structure and function. Dr. Rieke will share methods to measure soil health, how to interpret that data and the economic benefits of adopting soil health management practices. 

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Weed Management in an Organic Operation with Matt Miller

Matt Miller is an organic farmer from Bristow, Iowa. Matt has been farming organically for over 20 years and grows corn, soybeans, and oats. The knowledge and experience to manage weeds in an organic system is an essential skill for an organic farmer.  Matt will share his tools of the trade for controlling early season weeds with an overview of the Treffler harrow.  Organic farming becomes much more enjoyable when weeds are managed in a timely, non-toxic and efficient manner. 

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Food as Medicine, A Systems Perspective with Dr. Andy Nish

Dr. Andy Nish is currently the Medical Director of John Stoddard Cancer Center and has dedicated his medical career to learning and teaching about how lifestyle changes can improve our health. Dr. Nish covered a wide range of topics about the impact of food production and consumption on human health, but also the impact of current agricultural practices on our food system and the environment. Dr Nish shared ideas for looking toward the future – to help improve the health of all living species on the planet.

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IOA Annual Meeting - Dec 9, 2021

Thank you to everyone that attended our 2021 Annual Meeting. We are delighted you were able to be part of our evening. 

Roz Lehman, executive director, presented IOA accomplishments from 2021 and what’s on the horizon for 2022.  Dr. Joel Gruver discussed his organic research and 2021 Field Report, and an IOA Member-organic farmer panel shared the “Impact of organic on the farm and in the community. 

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No Spray Field Signs for Sale

Make sure your neighbors and commercial applicators know your farm or land is a NO SPRAY ZONE!

The Iowa Organic Association will have these Organic Farm Do Not Spray signs available to pick up during this year’s winter conferences (Iowa Organic Conference-Nov, IOA Annual Meeting-Dec, Practical Farmers of Iowa-Jan, MOSES-Feb), or we can mail them to you if you can't make it to one of these events. 

Plastic 10x14 = $15

Aluminum 10x14 = $25

ORDER


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 [email protected] as soon as possible to file a report and initiate sample testing.


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