Sunday, November 15, 2015

Iowa Organic Conference to Feature One-on-One Mentoring
Focus on helping farmers interested in transitioning to organic
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.”

A local foods expo will kick off the conference on Sunday, Nov. 22, from 2 to 5 p.m. in the UI Memorial Union. On Monday, the keynote speakers are Klaas and Mary-Howell Martens, who grow and market over 10 varieties of organic grains and have received numerous commendations for their biodiverse organic farm ( in upstate New York.

The conference lunch on Monday afternoon highlights local and organic produce, meats, and dairy products assembled into a gourmet meal by UI award-winning executive chef, Barry Greenberg, and his team.

Organic producers and experts from across the country will share tips about organic production, weed management, livestock production and methods to enhance organic operations. Over 50 exhibitors, including organic seed sellers, local food system non-profits and government offices working with transitioning and certified organic farmers, will be on site to meet with producers. Growers are encouraged to bring their grain samples to the grain buyer exhibitors.

Conference information and directions to the event are available online at To register, access For additional information, contact Delate at

Additional conference partners are the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, New Pioneer Food Co-op, Organic Valley and Practical Farmers of Iowa.
Related links:

Sustainable Vegetable Production Lab 

Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

Practical Farmers of Iowa

Related publications:
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach