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.

Field Day, July 9:  The benefits of going organic and policies needed to transition a family farm to organic

Churdan, Iowa. The Iowa Organic Association (IOA) is delivering a free field day for farmers and others interested in learning from organic experts about the benefits of going organic and policies needed to transition a family farm to an organic system.  IOA members, George and Patti Naylor, will host this Field Day at their farm near Churdan, Iowa on Tuesday, July 9th from 4 to 7 p.m.

The Naylors began their transition to organic production in 2014.  Initially, when George moved back to the family farm in 1976 his intent was to farm organically, which at the time proved to be too difficult. It was the inspiration of his two sons that convinced George that the time was right to transition to organic. Press Release

IOA’s 2019 Summer Field Day series is made possible with support from the USDA’s Risk Management Agency.

The following field days were developed to reach Iowa producers interested in organic transition or expansion with resources for making sound on-farm management decisions that reduce risk and increase success in organic record-keeping, diversification, and transition.

More information about IOA field days can be found here: https://www.iowaorganic.org/field_days 

RSVP to Kelli at KelliH@iowaorganic.org

  • Tuesday, July 9, 4 to 7 pm, Churdan, Iowa:  Benefits of Going Organic and Policies Needed To Transition to a Family Farm Organic System
  • Wednesday, July 17, 1 to 3 pm, Sutherland, Iowa:  Organic Row Crop Production and Mechanical Weed Control (PFI event/IOA sponsor)
  • Thursday July 25, 4 to 7 pm, River Root Farm:  Marketing and Distribution Opportunities for Organic Vegetables
  • Wednesday, August 7, 1 to 3 pm, Cherokee, Iowa:  Tour the American Natural Processors Facility
  • Wednesday, August 14, 4 to 7 pm, Waukon, Iowa:  Organic Dairy Production at Prairie Star Farm
  • Friday, August 16, 1 to 4:30 pm, Harlan, Iowa:  Cultivating Farm Resilience for a Changing Climate (PFI event/IOA sponsor)
  • Tuesday, August 20, 4-7 pm, Greenfield, Iowa:  Neely-Kinyon Farm Field Day (IOA Sponsor)

You can always join Iowa Organic Association anytime online.  

Your membership helps grow and support organic in Iowa!  IOA members represent a collective voice for organic in Iowa and are important in driving IOA programs and influencing organic policies for Iowa. 

We need members like you to help grow a stronger organic network in Iowa!


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    Grassway Farms Field Day

    Grassway Farms Field Day

    By Anna Lavender, Outreach & Communications Intern, IOA

    In mid-July the Wedemeier family hosted a Field Day at their home, Grassway Farm, for the Iowa Organic Association and Practical Farmers of Iowa. Although the morning started out a little humid and rainy, the Field Day was a huge success. Almost 80 people braved the weather to attend this half-day event! The day kicked off with an introduction from Scott Wedemeier, a third-generation farmer. Scott and his father, Gary, own and operate the 1,100 acre family farm in Maynard, Iowa. The Wedemeiers recently transitioned their herd and their land to organic and are now part of the Organic Valley Cooperative. They also have a small number of sheep and pigs, maintain a natural wetland, and raise steers.

    Scott kicked off the Field Day by introducing his farm and how they transitioned from a conventional system to an organic one. For example, one consequence of the transition to organic is that the Wedemeiers now keep their calves in communal enclosures rather than in lone hutches. This fosters a sense of belonging among the cows. I grew up in a community in Wisconsin that was surrounded by conventional farms. This field day made me feel hopeful for the future of farming and the quality of living for farm animals.

    After hearing the story of the farm we left the barn and began to tour the pastures where Scott and Gary graze their herd. Scott moves the cows in a rotational system so that the grass paddocks have a chance to recover between rotations. Scott also talked through his best practices for building fences and maintaining pasture health.

    We then learned about an on-farm trial that the Wedemeiers are working on with Practical Farmers of Iowa. Meghan Filbert, PFI’s Livestock Coordinator, explained that the Wedemeier farm is participating in a study to see what effect apple cider vinegar rations have on milk quality. The findings were fascinating: after being fed apple cider vinegar, the cows’ milk had a significant increase in milk fat content.

    Then, the NRCS came out to the farm to walk us through their rainwater simulation machine. They took soil samples from around the Wedemeier farm (and one sample from a conventionally tilled corn and bean field down the road) and simulated a substantial rainfall event. Attendees were able to see water absorption rates and runoff differences among the soil samples.

    We enjoyed an organic lunch provided by the Oneota Co-op before diving back into the tour with an introduction to the marketing streams that the Wedemeiers use.

    After standing in the rain, watching a the rainfall simulator, it was time for lunch! There was a delicious spread of goodies from the Oneota Food Co-Op and Organic Valley. The thick cloud of flies didn’t stop anyone from enjoying the food and getting to know others that were attending the event. I even got to know an organic goat farmer and several other farmers just starting out in Iowa that came to learn about rotational grazing systems. It was a great time of connection and education during the meal.

    Finally, we toured the milking parlours. The Wedemeiers talked about their transition to organic. Scott said that, although he was approached by naysayers, he was also surrounded with a network of support, particularly by organizations such as Iowa Organic Association and Practical Farmers of Iowa. I found this very inspirational. It is reassuring to know that although some folks may have doubts about transitioning to organic, the Wedemeiers were still able to seek assistance and successfully transition their farm.

    At the end of the field day, I began to reflect on everything I had learned and experienced that day. It was fascinating to hear about the effects apple cider vinegar had on milk fat content, but it was even more enlightening to see how the Wedemeier managed the transition to organic.  It is no easy feat but Grassway Farm is excelling and they are helping others to maneuver the process.

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