The Iowa Organic Association strives to provide the organic community with the information, tools and resources needed to succeed and support the organic movement.  We are glad you have found your way to our Webinars archive and hope you find they are a useful resource.  Please let us know if you have questions or suggestions about future topics or people we should explore ([email protected]). 

Webinars are listed below with the most recent webinar produced at the top. 

Thank you for your interest in learning more about organic and in the resources provided by IOA.  If you are interested in supporting this work, please consider a membership or donation to the organization.  We truly could not produce these and other resources without a community of support. To explore membership options, click here, or sponsorship options, click here.


"Spotlight on Organics" Webinar: Capital and Collaboration - Putting Farmers First in the Transition to Organic Agriculture, Tues, May 25 @12PM

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.

Registration for this webinar is $20; IOA members can participate for free. Proceeds will be used to support the work and mission of IOA. For IOA members and sponsors (or if you are not sure), please e-mail Olga and she will provide you with the webinar information.


"Spotlight on Organics" Webinar: Protect your Crops from Pesticide Damage with DRIFTWATCH - Tues, May 11 @12PM

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.

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"Spotlight on Organics" Webinar: Improving Water Quality through Organic Production with Dr. 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.

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"Spotlight on Organics" Webinar: 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.

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"Spotlight on Organics" Webinar: Organic farming and the 2020 western IA drought

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.

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"Spotlight on Organics" Webinar: Seedling starts, tips and tricks from an organic vegetable farmer

On March 9, 2021 IOA conducted 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.

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Webinar: 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.

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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).

 


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.

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Webinar: Bryce Irlbeck, Organic Production

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.

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Webinar: 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.

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Webinar: 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Webinar: Crop Insurance and Whole Farm Revenue Protection for Organic Producers

On March 11, 2020, IOA delivered a webinar wit Anna Johnson, Policy Manager at the Center for Rural Affairs, gave a presentation on crop insurance options for organic producers. This presentation reviewed some basics on crop insurance and how to find out what organic crop insurance is offered for your county. We also covered the crop insurance product Whole Farm Revenue Protection, which is available in every county and can be used to protect organic crops and livestock. We also talked about how to decide if purchasing crop insurance is right for your operation. 

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Webinar: 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.

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Webinar: 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.

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