2023 Annual Meeting

Thank you to all that attended the 2023 IOA Annual Meeting in Boone, IA on December 5, 2023. The meeting featured 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.

2023 Presentations

Climate Benefits of Regenerative Organic production — Presented by Philip Hinson, Ph.D., The Rodale Institute

Hemp regulations & organic production opportunities — Presented by Bridget Chambers of Bluestem Prairie Farm and Charles Levine of Hemp Acres (MN)
IOA Update — Presented by Roz Lehman, IOA Executive Director, and Margaret Smith, Ph.D., IOA President
Organic Mentorship: Tools and Support for Success — Presented by Kim Andersen of Blueberry Bottom, Rob Faux, Ph.D., of Genuine Faux Farm, and Gary Welsh of Welsh Family Organic Farms



IOA Board

Front row, left to right: Erika Otto, Kristi Kasper, Kim Andersen, Cindy McCollough, Roz Lehman, Jack Knight, Denise O’Brien, Ai Wen.

Back row, left to right: Pavla DeFrancisco, Mark Schuett, Scott Ausborn, Eric Madsen, Paul Mugge, Margaret Smith and Noah Wendt.

Philip O. Hinson, Ph.D. presentationPhilip O. Hinson, Ph.D. presentation

Kristi with SponsorsBridget Chambers presentation

Charlie Levine presentationGary Welsh, Rob Faux, and Kim Andersen

Full room of attendees and sponsorsMargaret Smith, Ph.D, with Scott Ausborn

About the Presenters


Philip Hinson, Ph.D.

Philip O. Hinson, Ph.D.

Dr. Philip O. Hinson is a postdoctoral research associate at the Rodale Institute. He joined Rodale Institute in May 2022, and he assists with the management of the Farming Systems Trial and the Watershed Impact Trial. Dr. Hinson graduated from Texas A&M University (December 2021) with a PhD in Agronomy. His PhD research focused on developing and testing management practices for organic dual-purpose wheat systems in the US Southern Great Plains. At Rodale Institute, Dr. Hinson’s work focuses on assessing agricultural impact on water quality, soil health, and grain nutrient density.

Climate change is the world’s greatest environmental challenge. Organic agriculture can help tackle climate change through its ability to store huge amounts of carbon. The purpose of this presentation is to provide insights into soil organic carbon accumulation potential of organic agriculture by leveraging research findings from Rodale Institute’s Farming Systems Trial—the longest-running side-by-side comparison of organic and conventional cropping systems in North America.

Bridget Chambers

Bridget Chambers

Bridget Chambers is one of the few certified organic hemp growers in Iowa. When she's not assisting the Iowa Attorney General, her crew of family and friends grow organic non-GMO hemp on the small farm that has been in their family since 1876. They cultivate, harvest, and dry the hemp (by hand) to produce the highest quality CBD-rich hemp possible. Bridget is committed to conservation practices and incorporates restored native prairie grasses, wildflowers, and waterways that enriches the farmland in harmony with the bees, butterflies, birds and abundant wildlife found on the farm. Bluestem offers an array of organic CBD products produced from the farm include gummies, oils, balms and gel capsules.



Charles Levine

Charles Levine

Charlie Levine is the owner of Hemp Acres, a Minnesota-based hemp processor and grower. Charlie’s background is in electrical engineering and agriculture. In 2016, Levine became one of the first licensed hemp processors in the state of Minnesota. Levine started at the Waconia farm where his grandparents raised Angus beef. He grows certified organic hemp, apples, and hay at the farm. To meet increased demand, in 2021 Hemp Acres expanded to include a new 37,000 square foot SQF-certified food manufacturing facility. Hemp Acres has three processing facilities for fiber, grain, and botanical extracts. 



Kim AndersenKim Andersen 

Kim is an organic farmer at Zihlman Family Farms and Blueberry Bottom located in Southeast Iowa, near Brighton, Iowa. Kim is a long-time educator currently teaching for Southern New Hampshire University. Kim and her husband, Steve, grow organic corn, soybeans, oats, hay, blueberries, chestnuts, hazelnuts, paw paw and persimmon.




Rob Faux

Rob Faux, Ph.D.

Rob Faux has owned and operated the Genuine Faux Farm near Tripoli, Iowa, with his partner, Tammy, since 2004, growing produce and raising poultry for local sales. They are committed to sustainable growing practices and were first Certified Organic in 2007.  In additional to farming, Rob has served as Pesticide Action Network's Communications Manager, joining the organization in 2020. In a former life, Rob worked as a software engineer and a post-secondary educator in Computer Science.



Welsh Family Organic Farm

Gary Welsh

Welsh Family Organic Farm (Gary, Clinton and Clayton Welsh) is a third generation family farm dedicated to the preservation of the land and raising healthy livestock without the use of growth hormones or antibiotics. This operation is dedicated to preserving the soil and protecting our ground water supply by raising all crops and livestock organically. There is no use of chemicals, insecticides, antibiotics or growth hormones. We have been farming organically since the early 1980's. The farm has been certified organic since 1988. We raise approximately 150 beef cattle, finish out 800 feeder pigs, custom raise pullets, 10,000 laying hens and farm approximately 1,000 acres of crops (4 year crop rotation) in Northeast Iowa. This farm is certified every year by the State of Iowa. In 2020, Welsh Family Organic Farm became a Century Farm.

Welsh Family Organic Farm has received award(s) for raising quality poultry (chickens and turkeys) from Organic Valley/Organic Prairie and quality award(s) for beef. Gary is currently on the Organic Valley/Organic Prairie MEC (Meat Executive Committee). Gary started a monthly Organic Farmer Meeting at the local bank to have an open forum of discussion on what works for different organic farmers in the area. This is attended by as many as 36 farmers from Lansing to Charles City and has been very beneficial. There have also been tours of the farm from other farmers with interest in organic farming that have been set up through organic certifiers or Organic Valley.

A Locally Crafted Organic Dinner

The dinner featured conscientiously-raised pork chops from Becker Lane Organic that are plated with seasonal organic vegetables from Prudent Produce. The menu included:

Pork chop dinner

  • Pork chops seared and brushed with an herb garlic brown butter and drizzled with an orange balsamic demi-glace 
  • Harvest salad of spring mix lettuce, dried cranberries, candied walnuts and goat cheese, and served with a strawberry vinaigrette.
  • Roasted vegetable medley of sweet potatoes, onions and carrots, roasted in sea salt, black pepper and olive oil
  • Apple pie bites served with apple butter, bourbon caramel drizzle and strudel topping.


Thank you to these exhibitors that joined us for the 2023 Annual Meeting:

Albert Lea Seed logo


Blue Stem Certified Organic Feed logo Bluestem Prairie logo Hemp Acres logo


Optimum Service Group logo Peak Ag Solutions logo
Practical Farmers logo

Prairie Hybrids

Riverside Feeds logo Rodale Institute logo Sunrise Foods