The Iowa Organic Conference

In late November the Iowa Organic Association participated in the Iowa Organic Conference. The Iowa Organic Conference is an annual gathering hosted by Iowa State University’s Organic Program, led by Iowa Organic Association co-founder, Dr. Kathleen Delate, Professor of Horticulture and extension organic specialist at Iowa State University. The event kicked off on Sunday November 19, 2017 with a social hour and continued throughout the following day, November 20 with a full day of workshops and networking.

Hundreds of folks gathered on Monday morning for breakfast and a keynote speech by Jeff Moyer, the executive director of the Rodale Institute. Jeff is “a world-renowned authority on organic agriculture. His expertise includes organic crop production systems with a focus on weed management, cover crops, crop rotations, equipment modification and use, and facilities design. Jeff is perhaps most well-known for conceptualizing and popularizing the No Till Roller Crimper for use in organic agriculture. In 2011, he wrote Organic No-Till Farming, a publication that has become a resource for farmers throughout the world.” Jeff’s talk, “Seventy Years of Inspiring Organic Producers and Consumers,” walked through some of Rodale’s new projects, including the proposed certified regenerative organic agriculture label and their new initiative sponsoring the Organic Farmers Association. The Iowa Organic Association is a proud member of the Organic Farmers Association, a new national voice for organic farmers.

The conference featured fourteen workshops and a packed lineup of presenters who focused on topics from organic transition to local food systems marketing. IOA staff and board members attended an early presentation called “Water Quality in Iowa: Where Do We Go from Here?” Bill Stowe, Cynthia Cambardella, and Tom Frantzen all spoke about their roles in protecting Iowa’s waterways. This presentation was widely attended and prompted a lot of discussion afterwards about the role organic farming can play in improving water quality. The discussion, which included researchers and farmers, was an inclusive, holistic, interdisciplinary dialogue. Other topics included “Organic Chickens from A to Z” with Eldon Miller and Doug Darrow, “Small Grains: New Varieties and New Uses” by Erin Silva, John Wepking, and Tom Frantzen, and “Getting the Most out of Your High Tunnel” with Ajay Nair of Iowa State University.

Between sessions, attendees took time to visit with service providers in the event hall. Around forty different vendors were set up at the event. From organic seed companies, organic certification agency, organic feed suppliers, to extension agents serving organic farmers, the hall was filled with knowledgeable organic professionals providing a great opportunity for organic farmers and conventional farmers considering transition to find the resources needed to succeed in the organic market. The Iowa Organic Association used our time at the booth to talk with farmers about our upcoming education and outreach events—events that will help farmers to consider an organic transition and organic farmers to perfect their farm practices to become more successful in their work.

We’ll see you next year at the Iowa Organic Conference!

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IOA Submits Comments on NOP Livestock and Poultry Standards

The Iowa Organic Association has submitted comments to the NOP Livestock and Poultry Standards.  Read them here

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Proposed new Livestock and Poultry Organic Standards

The USDA National Organic Program recently announced a new proposed Rule on Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices. The proposed rule would clarify existing USDA organic regulations related to livestock and poultry production requirements, thereby ensuring consistency among organic producers and protecting the integrity of the USDA organic seal. 

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Action Alert-DRIFT


February 15, 2016

Last week Iowa State Senator Dick Dearden introduced a bill (SSB 3125) that will improve pesticide spray drift testing for farmers across Iowa. It's time to contact your Senator and tell them you want a more efficient pesticide spray drift testing protocol.


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Iowa Organic Conference--Transition to Organic Mentoring

AMES, Iowa—The 15th annual Iowa Organic Conference will give farmers who are interested in transitioning to an organic operation the opportunity to meet individually with experts in the field. The conference will be held Nov. 22-23 at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, as a joint effort between Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the UI Office of Sustainability.

Farmers will have the chance to participate in farmer-to-mentor round tables with organic producers and those experienced with organic certification. In addition, event speakers will provide advice on organic grain crops, vegetable production, fruit cultivation and certification how-to tips.

“The U.S. market for organic products reached $39.1 billion in 2014 and the demand for organic grains and produce continues to exceed supply,” said Kathleen Delate, ISU Extension and Outreach organic agriculture specialist and professor in horticulture and agronomy. “Growers everywhere are encouraged to consider the potential for organic production.”

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2015 Organic Cost Share-IOWA

Submit Organic Cost-Share Materials by November 6, 2015!   

Reimbursable certification costs must have been paid by September 30, 2015!

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Organic Greenhouse Webinar

Organic Greenhouse Certification Webinar, August 6, 3-5pm CTgreenhouse.jpg

Iowa Organic Farmers invited to join CCOF's webinar on organic certification for greenhouses.

As urban farms continue to blossom, specialty greenhouses sprout up around the country, and mixed fruit and vegetable operations continue to produce their own transplants, CCOF has received more inquiries about the intricacies of organic certification for greenhouses. This webinar will cover what is necessary to certify your greenhouse.  The information shared is applicable for certification with any organic certification agency. 

Greenhouse production offers many advantages for organic growers. In addition to being used in specialty crop and custom transplant production, greenhouses offer opportunities for urban farmers or producers who wish to get a speedy start into organic production. They also serve as an integral part of many vegetable operations who produce their own transplants. 


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Organic Local Strawberries

  Strawberry Season is Here!   And... it's short!   strawberrypickingbasket.jpg

  Find local Iowa organic strawberries in the next few weeks and take full advantage of this delicious early summer treat!


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Organic Poultry Producers-- Keeping Avian Influenza out of Iowa Organic Flocks

Most of the outbreaks for Avian Flu in Iowa have occurred in areas far away from the majority of Iowa's organic poultry production. However, producers should be aware of basic biosecurity measures to employ on their farms to make sure they maintain healthy flocks this year as the risk is higher with so many large Iowa poultry facilities struck by H5N2.   IOA has put together a list of resources for organic poultry producers as well as this fun video, which reminds both the organic and backyard poultry producer what signs to look for in birds experiencing avian influenza.

usdachickenflu.jpg USDA Video on Signs of Healthy & Sick Chickens



Biosecurity Guide for Poultry and Bird Owners (USDA APHIS)

Biosecurity for Birds: Avian Influenza (one-page poster in both English and Spanish)

Avian Influenza Findings Emphasize the Need for Good Biosecurity (USDA APHIS 2-pager)

NOP Policy Memorandum on Confinement of Poultry Flocks Due to Avian Influenza, or Other Infectious Diseases (2011)

IDALS Avian Influenza Updates (2015)

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IOA members featured in NRCS Soil Health Videos!

NRCS Profiles in Soil Health

In these short video profiles you can hear directly from some of the nation’s leading farmers to find out how they’re using soil health management systems to make their farms more profitable, productive and sustainable.

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