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.
IOA Annual Meeting — Tuesday, December 5 in Boone
Mark your calendars for the Iowa Organic Association's Annual Meeting on December 5, 2023 from 2:00—7:30 p.m. at Seven Oaks Recreation in Boone.
Each year IOA’s organic community gathers to celebrate the growing organic movement in Iowa with presentations that highlight new and emerging issues within the organic industry; enjoy a locally curated organic meal and visit with friends, presenters and exhibitors.
The 2023 IOA Annual Meeting will feature presentations about regenerative organic production as a tool to address climate challenges; hemp regulations and new organic production opportunities for Iowa producers; and the importance and value of mentorship to successfully navigate and implement organic production.
TOPP Organic Mentorship Program: Seeking Mentors and Mentees
NOW HIRING: Organic Farm Advisor
Join our team! We are seeking a full-time Organic Farm Advisor who is passionate about expanding organic resources and opportunities in Iowa. The Organic Farm Advisor will provide point-of-contact support for Iowa farmers looking for resources and guidance about organic transition and production. Additionally, the Organic Farm Advisor will lead the Organic Mentorship Program, assist transitioning farmers with Organic Systems Plans, and conduct education and outreach activities to increase farmer knowledge and confidence in organic production. This is a new, full-time position at IOA with room to develop programs and activities that meet the needs of Iowa's growing organic community. Application deadline is Monday, November 27, 2023.
New! NRCS Offers Conservation Contracts for Organic Transition and Certified Acres
Have you applied for the latest program from NRCS? OMS 823 offers technical and financial support for Certified Organic producers as well as those looking to transition to organic.
OMS 823 offers both technical and financial support for those who meet the required criteria; incentives start at $210/acre for simple row crop operations, and go up to $1500/acre for more complex systems that can include livestock.
This practice is used to accomplish one or more of the following purposes: improve soil health, reduce soil erosion, reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG), reduce transport of pesticides and nutrients transported to surface water, groundwater and air, improve moisture management, improve plant productivity and health, reduce plant pest pressure, enhance habitat for wildlife, pollinators, and other beneficial invertebrates, improve livestock feed and forage imbalance, and improve or maintain quantity and/or quality of forage for grazing, browsing and productivity.
Podcast: "Farming the Countryside" — Andrew McCrea interviews Noah Wendt
Is now the time to make the switch to organic production in Iowa?
In this episode of the Farming The Countryside podcast, Andrew McCrea explores this question during a visit with Noah Wendt, an organic farmer from Maxwell who has and continues to convert his acres to organic corn, beans and more. The podcast provides tips, tools and resources and for producers interested in organic transition and hear one producer's journey and partnership into organic production.
Field Day: Organic Seed Trials and Organic Seed Production — September 7
Join IOA and farm hosts Bob and Sara Pearson at Prairie Sky Farm for an Albert Lea Seed House sponsored field day on Thurs, September 7 at 9 a.m.
The Pearsons operate a diverse organic farming operation where they raise soybeans, corn, oats, buckwheat, rye, vetch, alfalfa, and grass hay on 240 acres that has been in Sara’s family since 1889; in addition to another 200 acres that is in the first year of organic transition. Bob and Sara also have a unique relationship with Albert Lea Seed House — where they conduct on-farm organic soybean and corn yield trials and produce organic grain for retail sales.
We will tour the farm to see first-hand how the seed purification and development process is managed and visit the 2-3-acre production plots used to grow the seeds sold to ALOS customers. Participants will learn more about some of their about organic and conservation land management practices used on the farm. The field day will conclude with a farm-to-table lunch, for those that are interested.
Field Day: Hamilton County Farm Crawl & Ag-Experience Bus Tour – Sunday, August 6; 1 - 7 p.m.
Join IOA for our 1st ever immersive Agri-Tourism Experience event. Guests will embark on a guided bus tour through Hamilton County’s vibrant local farming community. This unique experience will start at Backcountry Winery and Brewery in Stratford with stops at Bluestem Organic Mill, Knob Hill Organic Farm, and Bluestem Prairie Organic Hemp in Webster City, Lost Lake Farm near Jewell, and returning to Backcountry Winery for socializing and a farm-to-table dinner featured local products and produce. Come explore what Hamilton County agriculture has to offer.
Field Day: Iowa Cover Crop Diversification and Organic Transition - July 10
Join IOA and our field day hosts, James and Megan Holz and Joel Lange, in Jefferson as they showcase the benefits of cover crops and soil health and their journeys transitioning to organic certification, while exploring their diversified operations. Learn the story behind creating their business, Iowa Cover Crop, and visit their brand new facility! Stay for a nutrient-rich farm-to-table lunch with locally sourced organic ingredients, and engaging organic conversation.
Webinar: Iowa NRCS Organic Management Practice Standard – Wednesday, May 31
NRCS invests in organic transition and production in Iowa to improve soil health, reduce erosion, enhance plant productivity, minimize plant pressure, and MORE!
IOA and staff with the Iowa NRCS office delivered an informational webinar on Wednesday, May 31 to provide an overview and space for discussion about the new NRCS Organic Management Interim Conservation Practice Standard (823). The Standard will provide technical and financial support for producers in organic transition and production and offers a sizeable incentive for organic operations that meet this Standard ($200-600/acre depending on your OPS).
Field Day: Roller-Crimping Demo with Polk County Soil & Water Conservation – Saturday, May 27
Polk County Soil and Water Conservation partnered with the Iowa Farmers Union, Iowa Organic Association, and The Rodale Institute – Midwest Organic Center to demonstrate roller-crimping rye in an organic soybean field at Aaron Lehman’s farm near Alleman on Saturday, May 27.
**Please note there may be a slight adjustment to the event date as roller crimping must occur when the rye crop is in the “boot” or head stage – near the end of the plant growth cycle. We anticipate the date to be May 27 - please RSVP and we will reach out by email and text to let you know if this date and time will change.
Webinar: USDA NRCS Support for Organic Transition –
Monday, May 22; 1:00 p.m.
Join USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for a webinar discussing new opportunities for NRCS to support producers in the transition to organic. This webinar will discuss the USDA’s Organic Transition Initiative and NRCS’s role in supporting producers in transitioning to organic. The new Organic Management Interim Conservation Practice Standard (823) will be highlighted, including technical and financial assistance for producers transitioning to organic and wanting to improve soil health, reduce erosion, improve plant productivity and health, reduce plant pressure, and more.
Workshop: IDALS and FSA Organic Resources – Tuesday, Feb 28 in Des Moines from 12 - 3 p.m.
With more consumers demanding organic foods, and organic sales surpassing $63 billion in 2021, Iowa farmers have an outstanding opportunity to diversify their farming operations and convert some of their acreages to organic.
Join IOA, Jamey Meyer (IDALS) and Amanda Weigel (FSA) on Tuesday, February 28, from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. at the Forest Ave Library, 1326 Forest Ave in Des Moines, for an Introduction to Organics workshop including information about organic certification, an overview of National Organic Program (NOP) Regulations, and USDA programs and resources available to organic and transitioning producers.
Workshop: Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) & Produce Safety Rule – Feb 21
Keeping food safe to eat is paramount, no matter where it is produced, whether conventional or organic, whether the operation is small, medium, or large, whether it’s fresh or processed foods.
Andrew Salazar, ISU Extension Education Specialist, will lead a workshop at the Boone County Extension Office, 1327 SE Marshall St, to provide information and resources about the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and the Produce Safety Rule.
Food manufacturers have an important role to play in preventing foodborne illnesses. The 2011 FSMA outlines seven rules that translate into specific actions at each point in the global supply chain that were intended to reduce contamination and make it easier to implement the FSMA changes.
FSMA rules only apply to foods regulated by the FDA and associated with commercial farms, packing operations, and food processing facilities. If you have to register with the FDA, then you most likely need to comply with FSMA.
Webinar: Farming for Good Health with Nick Wallace & 99 Counties – Feb 14
The consumer demand for local, organic food and products continues to climb year after year. Zoom in on Tuesday, February 14th at 12 p.m., with Nick Wallace to learn about his farming background and the vision and motivation for 99 Counties -- a member meat cooperative founded in the fall of 2022 to elevate organic, regenerative agriculture practices and to provide products valued and desired by consumers.
Nick is an organic grain and grassfed livestock farmer and regional local foods distributor through Wallace Farms serving Iowa and Chicagoland since 2003. In September 2022, Nick co-launched 99 Counties, an Iowa-based meat marketing company focused on artisan local meat delivered within Iowa and the Chicagoland regions.
99 Counties was co-founded with a mission to change the relationship with farming and food by connecting local consumers with the highest-quality locally grown meat, and to be known as a regional food systems leader committed to farming practices that improve the health of humans, animals and the environment through regenerative agriculture.
Webinar: Crop Insurance for Organic Producers – Feb 7
Allen Smith of Optimum Service Group discussed a range of crop insurance options available to organic producers.
Allen shared about available policies, products and dates relevant to organic growers, provide guidance on how to best choose your coverage, and how to report your production (planted or prevented planted acres) and losses at the end of the year.
Since 2009, Allen has been writing organic and specialty crop insurance policies in six states across the Midwest and is committed to understanding and supporting the needs of organic producers.
Webinar: Chemical Trespass Claim Process with Larry Steinbronn – Jan 31
Occurrences of herbicide and pesticide drift continue to increase in Iowa and across the U.S., and many organic farmers are unsure about what to do if a field or crop has been exposed to chemical drift. Unfortunately, drift can have drastic ramifications on USDA Organic Certification, with a possible loss of a certified crop and/or acres for that operation. Currently, there is little to no recourse for organic farmers when incidents of drift result in financial or certification losses for those farms.
Larry Steinbronn, an organic farmer from Waverly, Iowa, shared his personal experience of how he handled glyphosate drift claims and the successful outcomes. He also addressed the role of IDALS in drift cases, lab testing options, and guidelines, methods, and new technologies for documenting damage and loss.
USDA RMA Road Show: Organic Crop Insurance Workshop in Davenport (& Virtual) – Jan 24
The Iowa Organic Association is partnering with the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) for a two-part workshop on Tuesday, January 24, 2023 at the Eastern Davenport Library located at 6000 Eastern Avenue. The workshop will focus on Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) program, Micro Farm program, the newly implemented Transitional and Organic Grower Assistance (TOGA) program, and other crop insurance options for organic producers. A morning workshop (9 a.m. - 12 p.m.) has been coordinated for agents, advisors and consultants and an afternoon workshop (1 p.m. - 4 p.m.) has been coordinated forproducers. An online viewing option of the workshop is also available, please view the event details in the calendar for more information and to RSVP.
Webinar: Dicamba and Glyphosate Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessments – Jan 17
Findings from the CDCs newly published, first national glyphosate study reveals that over four-fifths of the US population who are six years and older are regularly being exposed to the herbicide glyphosate. Exposure to Glyphosate Study Findings
Dr. Charles Benbrook, Executive Director of the Heartland Health Research Alliance (HHRA) and cooperator of The Heartland Study, presented a webinar summarizing these new CDC findings, as well as a broader discussion about HHRA’s research highlighting the health and ecological risk assessments of glyphosate and dicamba use and exposure and the value and importance of greater, comprehensive research to better understand the effects of herbicide exposure on human and environmental health.
Webinar: Regenerative Organic Certification – Jan 10
Elizabeth Whitlow, Executive Director of Regenerative Organic Alliance, presented a webinar on Tuesday, January 10 about ROA and Regenerative Organic Certification (ROC).
Regenerative Organic Certified® is a revolutionary new certification for food, fiber, and personal care ingredients that represents the highest standard for organic agriculture in the world, with stringent requirements for soil health, animal welfare, and social fairness. ROC® uses the USDA Certified Organic standard as a baseline. From there, it adds important criteria and benchmarks that incorporate the three major pillars of regenerative organic agriculture into one certification.
IOA 2022 Annual Meeting: Organic For Good Health – Dec 1
The theme for the Annual Meeting, Organic for Good Health, really focused on how our health is tied to the environment, agriculture, and food in so many, many ways. We know that no one is going to swoop in and solve the vast challenges within our environmental, health, and food systems -– so we must choose the food, the land practices, the local amenities and services that enrich our health, quality of life, and diverse communities.
For those that could not join us in person, we recorded each of the presentations from the evening. IOA is making great strides in building awareness and support for greater organic production and support in Iowa. Both Angela and Dr. Nish offered their wisdom and expertise validating the value and importance of organic food and principles for good health.
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.
IOA Annual Meeting - Dec 9, 2021
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.”
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
Show Your Support with IOA Merch!
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!!
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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