The Iowa Organic Association strives to provide the organic community with the information, tools and resources needed to succeed and support the organic movement. Our full library of webinars is available for free on our YouTube channel.



2024 Winter Webinar Series

The Sustainable Iowa Land Trust with Breanna Horsey

Wed, March 27, 2024 @ 12 p.m.

Breanna Horsey

Breanna Horsey will be joining us from the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust (SILT) to discuss land access resources for Iowa farmers. Breanna will share the history and purpose of SILT, and their model for addressing land access including conservation easements, land acquisitions, and long-term leases.

The Sustainable Iowa Land Trust was founded in 2015 to help protect Iowa's ability to grow healthy food forever. SILT was founded by 25 leaders in sustainable agriculture who wanted to permanently protect the land available to grow food sustainably for generations to come. They focus on goals such as increasing land access for underrepresented farmers, supporting the future of family farms and healthy rural communities, and improving food security across Iowa.



Learn about Regenerative Organic Agriculture with Steve McLaskey of MIU

Mon, March 25, 2024 @ 12 p.m.

Steve Mclaskey

Steve McLaskey will be presenting about Maharishi International University’s Regenerative Organic Agriculture program! In this webinar, you'll get to learn about the history of MIU, their degree programs, and current research on their commercial farm in Fairfield, IA. Their Regenerative Organic Agriculture (ROA) program offers on-campus or online BA degrees and an online MS degree option. The goal of the ROA program is to create social entrepreneurs with the skills to take on the growing opportunities in regenerative organic agriculture. In-person students gain hands-on experience by working on MIU’s two-acre farm, which is currently managed by program alumni and sells produce to local farmers’ markets.



Options for Enhancing On-Farm Native Habitat in Organic Production Systems

Wed, March 20, 2024 @ 12 p.m.

Sarah Nizzi

Sarah Nizzi from the Xerces Society will be joining IOA for a webinar where you can learn how you can support pollinators and beneficial insects on organic farms. Sarah will discuss the importance and process of installing and taking care of habitat, organic site preparation options, case study examples, and provide resources for technical and financial assistance.




Seasonal Farm Labor through H-2A Migrant Worker Program

Mon, March 4, 2024 @ 12 p.m.

Field labor

IOA will host a webinar about the H-2A program with members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and USAID including Gerardo Perez, Luis Soto, and Dr. Rodrigo J. Seda. During their presentations, they will discuss the history and impact of the Salvadorian H-2A program and provide resources for organic producers interested in hiring seasonal employees. Register below to learn more about how H-2A provides an opportunity for workforce collaboration and international partnerships between El Salvador and the Iowa Organic community!



Organic Corn Breeding Partnership with Dr. Paul Scott

Wed, February 21, 2024 @ 12 p.m.

Dr. Paul Scott

Dr. Paul Scott and Travis Otto joined us to present on the Organic Corn Breeding Partnership. Dr. Scott discussed how his research team is creating new corn hybrids and varieties for organic producers to increase yields, withstand weed pressure, and resist transgenic pollination through their work in the midwest and Puerto Rico. Travis Scott also shared his experiences from his first trip to Puerto Rico in February 2024, and how he plans to continue collaborating with the partnership on his own organic farm in Iowa.





The "Real Organic Project" with Dave Chapman and Francis Thicke

Wed, January 31, 2024 @ 12 p.m.

Real Organic Project logo

IOA hosted a webinar about the Real Organic Project (ROP) with two distinguished voices – Dave Chapman, a visionary founder of the ROP, and Francis Thicke, certified ROP Iowa organic farmer and member of the ROP Board of Directors. Through rigorous standards and advocacy efforts, ROP certification champions transparency, soil health, and ethical practices, ensuring that the organic label retains its original intent as interest in the organic industry continues to evolve and expand.




Tools for Organic Recordkeeping with Ambrook

Wed, January 24, 2024

Ambrook Financial Software

IOA and Landon Frye present a webinar about Ambrook's cutting-edge financial software tailored specifically for farmers. Discover how Ambrook streamlines financial management, increases productivity, and empowers organic farming businesses through enterprise accounting and simplified recordkeeping.




TOPP Program Objectives and Resources

Wed, January 17, 2024


This virtual meeting serves as an overview of of the TOPP program objectives and various resources available for organic producers or those transitioning to organic. Webinar was co-hosted by Allison Walent (Program Director at MOSA), Roz Lehman (Executive Director at IOA) and Susana Cabrera-Mariz (our new Organic Farm Advisor at IOA).







If you find these webinars and videos useful, we invite you to become a member of Iowa Organic Association or consider donating. This work would not be possible without the support and knowledge-sharing of the IOA organic community, as well as the contributions from our sponsors, donors, and volunteers.



2023 Webinar Series


Iowa NRCS Organic Management Practice Standard

May 31, 2023

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). 


USDA NRCS Support for Organic Transition

May 22, 2023

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.


Farming for Good Health with Nick Wallace & 99 Counties

Feb 14, 2023

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.


Crop Insurance for Organic Producers

Feb 7, 2023

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.


Chemical Trespass Claim Process with Larry Steinbronn

Jan 31, 2023

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.



Dicamba and Glyphosate Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessments

Jan 17, 2023

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.


Regenerative Organic Certification

Jan 10, 2023

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.




2022 Winter Webinar Series

Tending to the Microbial Life of your Soil with Chris Trump

Tue, Feb 8th, 2022

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.


Rodale Institute Farm Systems Trials with Dr. Yichao Rui

Tue, Feb 15, 2022

Dr. Yichao Rui is a Soil Scientist at the Rodale Institute in Kutztown, Pennsylvania and serves as the Research Director of the distinguished 40-year Farm System Trial, the oldest field experiment comparing organic and conventional grain production systems in North America. During this webinar Dr. Rui will provide an overview of the FST research with a focus on the impact of organic management on soil health, grain nutrient quality, and profitability of grain cropping systems.



Organic Grass Milk Dairy Farming with Joe Langmeier

Tue, Feb 1, 2022

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.



Economics of Soil Health Systems with Dr. Elizabeth Rieke

Tue, Jan 25, 2022

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. 



Weed Management in an Organic Operation with Matt Miller

Tue, Jan 18, 2022

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. 


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

Tue, Jan 11, 2022

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.



2021 Webinar Series

Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP)

Iowa Organic Association and Amanda Weigel with the Iowa Farm Service Agency (FSA) delivered a webinar about the Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) offered by FSA. This webinar is one of a series of webinars or field days that will highlight several of the USDA FSA’s programs and services available to help organic producers. To learn how NAP can help provide an extra layer of protection for your farm or operation.

NAP provides financial assistance to producers for non-insurable crops to protect against natural disasters that result in lower yields, crop losses or prevents crop planting. A natural disaster includes: Damaging weather, such as drought, freeze, hail, excessive moisture, excessive wind (i.e. derecho) or hurricanes; - Adverse natural occurrences, such as earthquake or flood; and - Conditions related to damaging weather or adverse natural occurrences, such as excessive heat, plant disease, volcanic smog (VOG) or insect infestation.

NAP provides basic coverage equivalent to the catastrophic level risk protection plan of insurance coverage, which is based on the amount of loss that exceeds 50% of expected production at 55% of the average market price for the crop. For all coverage levels, the NAP service fee is the lesser of $325 per crop or $825 per producer per administrative county, not to exceed a total of $1,950 for a producer with farming interests in multiple counties. **Beginning, limited resource, socially disadvantaged and qualifying veterans farmers or ranchers are eligible for a waiver of the service fee and a 50% premium reduction when they file form CCC-860. Most organic producers would qualify for this reduction in service fees. Producers interested in applying for NAP should contact the county FSA office that administers the ground the crop is planted on.


Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP2)

The Iowa Organic Association (IOA) and Katie Kramer with the USDA Iowa Farm Service Agency (FSA) delivered a webinar on Wednesday, September 29th, about the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2) application process and the new and extended opportunities provided by the program. Contact your FSA county office to file a CFAP 2 application.

Applications are due on October 12, 2021. USDA has amended the CFAP 2 payment calculation for sales-based commodities, which are primarily comprised of by specialty crops, to allow producers to substitute 2018 sales for 2019 sales.

Previously, payments for producers of sales-based commodities were based only on 2019 sales, with 2019 used as an approximation of the amount the producer would have expected to market in 2020. Giving producers the option to substitute 2018 sales for this approximation, including 2018 crop insurance indemnities and 2018 crop year Noninsured Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) and Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) payments, provides additional flexibility to producers of sales-based commodities who had reduced sales in 2019. A complete list of all eligible sales-based commodities can be found at farmers.gov/cfap2/commodities. Producers of sales-based commodities can modify existing applications.


Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP)

The Iowa Organic Association (IOA) and Amanda Wiegel with the USDA Iowa Farm Service Agency (FSA) delivered a webinar on September 22nd, about the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP) application process.

Organic producers and handlers can apply for federal funds to assist with the cost of receiving and maintaining organic certification through the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP). Producers may apply for cost share assistance for organic certification expenses paid between Oct. 1, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2021. Contact your FSA county office to file an application for organic certification cost-share reimbursement. Applications are due November 1, 2021.

Certified producers and handlers are eligible to receive reimbursement for up to 50% of the certified organic operation’s eligible expenses, up to a maximum of $500 per scope. This is a reduction from 2018 Farm Bill commitments of 75% of eligible expenses, up to $750 per scope. Additional funds may be available at a later date – you must have an application on file by Nov. 1, 2021 to be eligible to any additional funding support.


Ave Organics Introduces New Organic Fertilizer

In 2018, after seeing first-hand how organic growers struggle to source plant nutrients, the Wilbur-Ellis research and development team went looking for a solution. Two years later, they discovered a new product and brought manure-derived organic fertilizer products to growers across the U.S. — VydaPreme™ and VydaTilth™.

After seeing grower acceptance for these products, Wilbur-Ellis recognized the demand and continued to develop technology and products for organic growers. Subsequently, Avé Organics was founded in 2020to handle the sale and distribution of VydaPreme and VydaTilth, two novel organic products derived from raw animal manure.

With more work to be done, Avé Organics continues to seek other new technologies that offer safe and environmental methods to properly utilize animal manure.

During this webinar, you will hear from Loran Kaiser (General Manager of Avé Organics) as well as Stan Buman (Business Development Manager at Avé Organics). You will learn about their newest fertilizer, VydaTilth Auctus, derived from poultry manure, which supplies sustainable, consistent, and available plant nutrition for certified organic crops.

The physical makeup of VydaTilth™ allows for easy, uniform spreading with commonly available farm equipment, such as a dry spinner fertilizer applicator, strip-till unit or manure spreader. Plus: growers appreciate the reduced smell of VydaTilth, thanks to lower ammonia levels. VydaTilth Auctus is OMRI listed, so growers can be assured their crops’ organic status remains intact.


Developing a Meat Co-op with Steve Deibele

Steve Deibele was raised in rural Wisconsin. He had a life long fascination with math, science, the outdoors and animals. After several careers in manufacturing and engineering, for the past 18 years, Steve finally pursued his interests in the outdoors, animals and the environment with his wife Marie.

Their Golden Bear Farm, was established in 2001, and is a small diversified pasture-based organic livestock farm in eastern Wisconsin, producing Berkshire pigs, 100% grass-fed beef cattle, meat chickens, a few horses and lots of cats. Marketing foods (meats, fruits and vegetables) through a producer cooperative involves numerous considerations. Whether at startup phase or in a firmly established phase, the intention of a co-op is to add synergy and value to all stakeholders.

The trials, tribulations and successes of a startup producer co-op heavily involved in multiple food categories, including the effects of COVID19, were discussed. These experiences can be meaningfully compared and extrapolated for well-established meat cooperatives that operate in the dynamically changing economic environments like those found nowadays. Comments on synergies with meats, fruits and vegetables within a single cooperative were also offered.


The Past, Present and the Future of Agriculture with Dr. Paul Dettloff

We are pleased to share our webinar with Dr. Paul Dettloff. During this webinar Dr. Paul discussed the history of agriculture in United States, and lessons/takeaways we can learn from. Dr. Dettloff covered the past, present and future of agriculture; including the transition of bio-diverse plant and animal systems to the mono-culture system we've adopted.

Dr. Paul received a Bachelor’s of Science and DVM in 1967 from the University of Minnesota. He practiced veterinary medicine at Arcadia Wisconsin for 35 years. As more and more of his clients became organic certified, he changed his conventional practice into organic/sustainable and expanded into the soils world.

In 1998, the first tincture was made my Dr. Dettloff, which was the beginning of Dr. Paul’s Lab. He has spent years studying different herbs and has come up with a complete line of tinctures and botanicals to treat various ailments organically/naturally. Dr. Paul is an Industry Consultant on sustainable agriculture, is a staff veterinarian for Organic Valley Coop in Wisconsin and Owner of Dr. Paul’s Lab LLC.


Planning Carcass Use as Part of Direct Marketing with Jude Becker, Becker Lane Organic

Jude Becker is an organic pork producer on his 6th generation family farm Becker Lane Organic near Dyersville that has been in organic production of crops and hogs since 1999. Jude is currently focusing on growing the number of practitioners using pasture-based system. He is also developing value-added organic pork products that offer further opportunities to retain product value and boost farm income by going even further up the retail supply stream.

During this webinar Jude discussed his step-by-step decision making aimed to familiarize farmers planning their own direct marketing of pork with the techniques and skills needed to ensure success. Jude reviewed the economics and market factors associated with carcass utilization needed to ensure a sustainable future for the farm and the customer alike. This discussion showed the inner workings of carcass utilization at Becker Lane Organic Farm.


Capital and Collaboration - Putting Farmers First in the Transition to Organic Agriculture with Robyn O'Brien

Robyn O'Brien has spent her entire career in food and ag. Named after a farmer, her work is deeply personal to her.  Her background in finance and work in the food industry over the last twenty years have afforded her unique insight into the changing landscape of our food system, how it is impacting farmers, and what we can do to ensure not only a healthy food system, but also financial resiliency for our growers. 

As a mother of four, she also recognizes how incredibly important farming is for the next generation. Robyn will discuss farmer debt levels, the financial extraction that occurs under the agrochemical model, and the opportunities that regenerative, organic agriculture play in restoring not only soil healthy but also profitability on farms. 

If you haven't already seen Robyn's infamous Austin TED Talk, that has over 1.2 million views on YouTube, where she shares her story of why the conventional food industry is failing us, definitely check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rixyrCNVVGA&t=12s. Robyn brings insight, compassion and detailed analysis to her research into the impact that the global food system is having on our health, as well as the health of our children.


Protect your Crops from Pesticide Damage with DRIFTWATCH

Paul Ovrom at the Iowa Department of Land Stewardship (IDALS) presented information about driftwatch, a free, voluntary farm mapping service and how to sign up and add your fields to the database.  

Driftwatch is facilitated through FieldWatch™, a non-profit that provides online registry tools to promote communication between producers of pesticide-sensitive (i.e. organic and 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.

There is no cost to participate, however, we do ask that you please RSVP.


Improving Water Quality with Organic Production with Dr. Kathleen Delate

On April 21, the Iowa Learning Farms hosted Dr. Kathleen Delate where she presented about her research at Iowa State University about how soil health and water quality is improved through organic production systems by using longer crop rotations than conventional corn-soybean rotations. Small grains and perennial legume species, like alfalfa, are integral to supporting greater soil microbial populations and aggregate stability. Slower-release forms of nitrogen, required in certified organic production, are associated with less nitrate loading and greater water quality.

Dr. Delate is a Professor of Organic Agriculture in the Departments of Agronomy and Horticulture at Iowa State University where she is responsible for research, extension and teaching in organic agriculture.


Organic as a Climate Solution with Paul Mugge, Organic Farmer

On April 13, IOA delivered a webinar presentation and conversation with IOA Board Member, Paul Mugge, winner of the Leopold Center’s Spencer Award for Sustainable Agriculture, and the Master Researcher and Sustainable Agriculture Achievement awards from Practical Farmers of Iowa. Paul presented his on-farm research with additional resources to demonstrate how organic agriculture can mitigate some of the significant environmental issues we face today.

Paul Mugge is an organic farmer from Sutherland, Iowa. He grew up on the farm where he now lives and works. Paul attended Iowa State University and worked as an engineer before returning to the family farm in 1976. He is a life-long environmentalist and his farm management has been a progression from conventional, to sustainable, to completely organic since 2001. In addition to farming, Paul substitute teaches at a local high school and is active in his local church and many organic, sustainable agriculture and environmental organizations.


Organic farming and the 2020 western Iowa drought with Ron Rosmann, Organic Farmer

On March 16, 2021, IOA delivered a webinar as part of the Spotlight on Organics series with Ron Rosmann on the 2020 Western Iowa Drought, Lessons Learned for Addressing Climate Change through Organic Farming.

Ron Rosmann, a founding board member and past president of IOA, and seasoned organic leader and Iowa producer will discuss how the farm and family weathered the challenges of the 2020 drought, derecho and pandemic, and how organic production helped offset some of those stresses. Ron and Maria, along with two of their sons, David and Daniel, and their families, own and operate Rosmann Family Farms near Harlan in western Iowa. The Rosmann's stopped the use of pesticides on their 700-acre farm in 1983 and became certified organic in 1994.

They have a diversified organic crop and livestock farm raising over 15 crops annually.  They have a cow-calf operation, a farrow to finish hog operation and egg layer operation.  Maria has a store on the farm and Daniel and his wife, Ellen, own and operate a local foods restaurant and a farm to table procurement and delivery business in Harlan.


Seedling starts, tips and tricks with Denise O'Brien, Organic Farmer

On March 9, 2021 IOA presented a webinar for gardeners. IOA board member, Denise O'Brien, shared her tips on how to raise your vegetables from seed and how to be successful in your gardening endeavors. She will answered your questions at the end of the webinar, so stay tuned through the end.

Denise is an organic farmer at Rolling Acres Farm, an organic greenhouse in Atlantic, Iowa. Denise and her husband, Larry Harris, have been involved with organic production and cultivating local food for over 36 years. Denise is also founder of Women’s Food and Agriculture Network, was a candidate for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture in 2006, and former agriculture adviser in Afghanistan, and founder of the Women, Food and Agriculture Network.


Crop insurance options for organic operations

On March 4, 2021, IOA delivered a webinar on Crop Insurance for Organic Operations.

The presenters for this webinar were, Kate Hansen, with the Center for Rural Affairs, and Joe Toillion, with Toillion Consulting Services Inc.. They discussed CFRA’s new publication, "Conversations from the Field: Crop Insurance for Organic Operations" and answered questions related to your specific needs.  

Kate is the policy assistant with the Center for Rural Affairs in Nevada, IA. She works on federal agriculture policy, including crop insurance and working lands conservation programs. Joe is a licensed agent & owner of Toillion Consulting Services. Serving Iowa & Missouri, specializing in organic crop insurance and livestock insurance.


Growing Organic Expertise - January and Feb 2021 Workshops

Since October 2019 the Iowa Organic Association has delivered a series of in-person and virtual “Growing Organic Expertise in Iowa” workshops to provide information, tools and resources about the National Organic Program, organic certification and transition, organic standards and production practices and insight into current organic market trends and demands needed for agriculture service providers and consultants to support farmers interested in organic transition, diversification and expansion.

The target audience for these workshops included: NRCS, Extension, IDALS, FSA, SWCD, RC&D, County Conservation, crop insurance agents, farm lenders, farming organizations, farmers, agriculture educators and students, and others interested in learning more about organic opportunities.

If you are interested in learning more about transitioning to organic or are seeking organic resources, please reach out to IOA at [email protected] and we can help you in your organic pursuit.

Below are links to each of the recent three-hour “Growing Organic Expertise in Iowa” virtual workshops that took place in early 2021, each workshop had slightly different content and/or presenters.  Each webinar is broken down by presetner/topic from the agenda...so you do not have to watch the whole 3-hour program.

Sioux City  Seymour  Hazelton  Kalona

IOA’s “Growing Organic Expertise in Iowa” workshop training series is made possible with grant support from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program (SARE).

2020 Webinars

IOA 2020 Annual Meeting

Thank you to everyone who joined the IOA Annual Meeting on Dec 1, 2020 (and for those that were interested and couldn't make it, you can still check it out)! 

We had our largest gathering ever with over 90 people attending. We are so excited to see Iowa’s organic community continuing to grow and come together. The information provided during the presentations and discussions revealed many common experiences, like why farmers choose organic, how farmers want to grow food for their community, but have trouble connecting with local and regional markets, that it is typical for farmers to work away from the farm just so they can farm, or how organic farms were resilient and productive despite extreme challenges faced this growing season.  The continued growth of the organic movement reinforces the desire for safe, quality food and strong local food systems.


The Economic of Organic Production with Bryce Irlbeck, Organic Farmer

On November 10, 2020, IOA delivered a webinar with Bryce Irlbeck where we discussed the economics of running a profitable organic row crop farming operation.

Bryce Irlbeck, Owner of B&B Irlbeck Farms and Founder of AgriSecure, presented on the challenges and rewards of organic row crop farming. Bryce shared his family’s long history of farming in Iowa. He discussed the reasons he transitioned from conventional agriculture to organic production and described the challenges and the rewards of owning and operating an organic farm.

Bryce now runs a 4,000 acre organic operation with his dad where they grow alfalfa, corn, soybeans, peas, barley, canola, and rye. Recognizing that his organic farm was succeeding while many others struggled, Bryce founded AgriSecure in 2018 to help farmers in his community and beyond learn how to profit from organic farming too.


Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2

On October 26, 2020, IOA delivered a webinar regarding the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP2).

Katie Kramer, the Agriculture Program Specialist with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Iowa, discussed CFAP2, eligibility for reimbursement, how to apply, as well as answered questions about the program and process.

Are you a farmer whose operation has been directly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic? USDA is implementing CFAP2 for agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19.

CFAP2 payments are available to farmers to partially compensate for losses incurred between April 1, 2020 – August 31, 2020 (or from April 16th for livestock) where prices, markets, and supply chains have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This new round of funding expands the time frame of losses covered (CFAP1 was only for mid-January through mid-April).

Additional commodities are eligible in CFAP2 that weren’t earmarked in the first CFAP distribution. If your agricultural operation has been impacted by the pandemic since April 2020, we encourage you to apply for CFAP2 and participate in this webinar to learn more about the program. A complete list of eligible commodities, payment rates and calculations can be found on farmers.gov/cfap.

The deadline to apply for this program was December 11, 2020, or until funds run out.


Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP)

On October 14, 2020, IOA delivered a webinar about the UDSA National Organic Program’s (NOP) Organic Certification Cost Share Program. Amanda Weigel, the Agriculture Program Specialist with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) discussed the OCCSP, eligibility for reimbursement, how to apply and answered questions regarding the program and process. The FSA is the fiscal agent charged with administering the OCCSP. There is an October 31 deadline for applying for cost share reimbursement

The OCCSP provides cost-share assistance to producers and handlers of agricultural products for the costs of obtaining or maintaining organic certification under the USDA National Organic Program. Eligible producers include any organic producers or handlers who have paid organic certification fees to a USDA-accredited certifying agent.

In 2018, only 373 of 900+ Iowa organic operations applied for cost-share assistance for a total of $270.000.


Virtual Field Day: Live Roller-Crimper and Weed Zapper Demonstration (Part 2)

IOA was a sponsor of Practical Farmers of Iowa's "Live Roller-Crimper and Weed Zapper Demonstration" virtual field day (2-part series).

Levi Lyle shared results from Part 1 "Live Roller-Crimper Demonstration" to show termination of the cereal rye cover crop and how the mulch is performing as weed control.  Levi also demoed an electric Weed Zapper. 

Levi is a partner on a project investigating reduced tillage in organic crop production systems. The project is headed by Dr. Kathleen Delate of Iowa State University.

Levi Lyle operates Levi’s Indigenous Fruit Enterprises near Keota, Iowa, through which he seeks to contribute to the profitability and sustainability of small farms. Levi and his wife Jill also distribute fresh aronia berries and aronia honey to local markets. Levi works as an organic inspector for the Iowa Department of Agriculture.


Virtual Field Day: Approaching Oats as a Cash Crop

IOA partnered with Practical Farmers of Iowa to deliver "Approaching Oats as a Cash Crop" farminar.

Oats are becoming a hot commodity as more grocery shoppers reach for oat-based products – but in the field, we’re still treating them like a second-class crop. This virtual field day showcased the steps Scott has taken to step up oat production on his organic crop and livestock farm, including his participation in a cooperator trial for better oat variety selection.

The field day also explored how the Wedemeiers use inter-seeding cover crops and relay cropping with small grains to manage nutrients, erosion and weeds on their farm from under-seeding clover with oats to relay cropping spring wheat and soybeans.

Scott and Catherine Wedemeier own and operate a 911-acre family farm Grassway Farm near Maynard, Iowa. Scott is the third generation to farm this land. The Wedemeiers raise organic corn, soybeans, oats and hay and have dairy cow, goat, pig and beef livestock enterprises. In 2019, Scott began growing oats for Seven Sundays as part of a supply chain pilot with PFI.


Virtual Field Day: Flame Weeding and Crop Rotation for Weed Control

IOA was a sponsor of Practical Farmers of Iowa's "Flame Weeding and Crop Rotation for Weed Control" virtual field day.

Learn how Noah Wendt and Caleb Akin use a flame-weeder as one of many tools for weed management on their organic farm. We checked out a field that was previously flame-weeded and Noah and Caleb also showed a video from a few weeks prior of the flameweeder in action. They also discussed the importance of including a small-grain crop in the rotation for their weed management strategy.

Caleb Akin started A & W Farms with Noah Wendt near Cambridge, Iowa, in 2006. A & W Farms feeds cattle, produces conventional corn and soybeans and grows a variety of organic grain.

Acknowledgements: This material is based upon the work supported by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under number NR193A750008G004. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Virtual Field Day: Early Season Organic Weed Control

IOA partnered with Practical Farmers of Iowa to deliver an Early Season Organic Weed Control virtual field day.

In this virtual field day, Matt showed a video of various passes of tine harrows and rotary hoes he made through the field earlier in June, and then we took a live look at the field. He also went over why and when he uses particular pieces of equipment, as well as the adjustments he makes. We learned about a European tine harrow Matt says is uncommon in Iowa but is starting to gain more attention.

Matt Miller farms near Bristow, Iowa, and has been certified organic since 2000. His current operation is around 1,000 acres, which are split between organic and conventional crops. His organic crop rotation consists of corn, oats and clover, corn and soybeans.


Virtual Field Day: Live Roller-Crimper and Weed Zapper Demonstration (Part 1)

IOA was a sponsor of Practical Farmers of Iowa's "Live Roller-Crimper and Weed Zapper Demonstration" virtual field day (2-part series).

Levi Lyle roll-crimped a cereal rye cover crop with a dual-purpose goal in mind: 1) terminate the cover crop without herbicide or tillage and 2) lay down the cover crop as a mulch for weed control. Levi is a partner on a project investigating reduced tillage in organic crop production systems. The project is headed by Dr. Kathleen Delate of Iowa State University.

On July 2 we took another look at the field with Levi where he also demoed an electric Weed Zapper. 

Levi Lyle operates Levi’s Indigenous Fruit Enterprises near Keota, Iowa, through which he seeks to contribute to the profitability and sustainability of small farms. Levi and his wife Jill also distribute fresh aronia berries and aronia honey to local markets. Levi works as an organic inspector for the Iowa Department of Agriculture.


Crop Insurance and Whole Farm Revenue Protection for Organic Producers

On March 11, 2020, IOA delivered a webinar with Anna Johnson, Policy Manager at the Center for Rural Affairs, about crop insurance options for organic producers. This presentation reviewed crop insurance basics, how to find organic crop insurance in your county and Whole Farm Revenue Protection.  WFRP is available in every county and can be used to protect organic crops and livestock.  


2019 Webinars

Perennial Fund - New Resources for Organic Transition Loans

The Perennial Fund is a newly established non-profit with a mission to provide operating loans, business planning, technical support, and market access to help farmers expand certified-organic acreage using regenerative practices.

The Fund serves current organic farmers who want to expand in 2020, as well as those interested or in the midst of transitioning to organic. Loans can be used to cover operational costs, equipment, and infrastructure.

Farmers do not pay back the fund until they are making net profits, paying nothing during the 36-month transition period and having any amount owed after year 10 completely forgiven. The Perennial Fund is seeking an initial 10-15 farmers for the pilot program.


Organic Markets with Mercaris

On Jan, 22, 2020, IOA delivered a webinar with Alex Heilman from Mercaris and discussed the current organic market trends and future market projections.

As the market continues to grow, and demand for domestic, organic products continues to exceed supply, Iowa farmers and businesses are looking for information and resources that support questions and interest in organic transition and diversification - especially related to financial viability.  

Mercaris established a service to address the gap of organic market support through two types of services. First, to provide up-to-date, accurate information on market conditions for organic and non-GMO commodities. Second, a trading platform that allows buyers and sellers to meet on-line and trade physical commodities.