Organic Track at IL Specialty Growers, Agritourism, and Organic Conference Jan 10-11, 2013

Come join us at the IL Specialty Growers, Agritourism, and Organic Conference at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield on January 10-11, 2013. Below are descriptions of the sessions in the two organic tracks. Click for a full conference program including times, non-organic sessions, and January 9 pre-conference workshops. Submit this form by December 28, 2012 to pre-register. On-site registration costs an additional $15.

Become an IOGA member by December 31, 2012, and you will be entered into a drawing for a rebate of your conference registration (register for the conference first, and the rebate will be awarded at the annual business meeting on January 10).

Thursday, January 10

Organic keynote session: How can organic, non-GMO, and GMO crops coexist? Lynn Clarkson, President, Clarkson Grain, Cerro Gordo, IL. USDA AC21 Committee member Lynn Clarkson will discuss the AC21 committee’s work, review the arguments underlying the battles between GMO and non-GMO farmers over the presence of unintended material in seed, grain, or feed and food products (“adventitious presence”, and explore potential compromises to minimize adventitious presence in organic, non-GMO, and selected GMO crops.

Organic Growing 101 for New Growers and Those Interested in Learning More.

  • Welcome. Dave Bishop, PrairiErth Farm, Atlanta, IL
  • The Basics of Organic Agriculture: Principles and Practices. Wes Jarrell, Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery, Champaign, IL
  • The Basics of Organic Certification: How to Get Started. Maury Wills, Wills Family Orchard, Adel, IA and Bureau Chief, Organic Certification Program, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
  • The Basics of Organic Weed Control: Cramped Capital Cultivation. Marty Gray, Gray Farms Produce, Watseka, IL
  • An Organic Farmer’s Perspective. Hans Bishop, PrairiErth Farm, Atlanta, IL

IOGA business meeting. Please come and help shape our newly forming association. Tell us what you want to see IOGA do in 2013 and elect the 2013 Governing Board.

Friday, January 11

Organic Soil and Fertility

  • Precision Cover Cropping in Organic Systems. Joel Gruver, Western Illinois University.
  • This presentation will explore opportunities to increase benefits and minimize challenges experienced when cover cropping through greater precision in cover crop management. Specific practices that will be discussed include targeted placement of cover crops and subsequent cash crops using precision planting equipment, designing cover crop mixtures, fertilization of cover crops and no-till planting systems.

  • Weeds: Treat the Symptom or Cause? Gary McDonald, Springfield, IL. Learn simple steps that will increase a crop’s chance to out-compete and win over weeds by incorporating a system involving: tillage techniques, timely planting, row cultivation, crop rotation, cover cropping, crop selection and the dreaded “Go-No Go” decision.
  • Optimizing Cover Crop Benefits with Diverse Mixtures and Alternative Termination Methods. Sam Wortman, U of I. Cover crop mixtures are an appealing option for farmers, as increasing species diversity has been shown to increase resource-use efficiency, stability, resiliency, and productivity of plant communities. In this session, Professor Wortman will present results from a 3-year study on spring-seeded cover crop mixtures and mechanical termination methods in eastern Nebraska and preliminary results from a study on fall-seeded cover crop mixtures in east central Illinois.
  • On Farm Composting for Farm Compost Use. Leslie Cooperband, Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery, Champaign, IL. Covers the basics of on-farm composting, simple compost quality evaluation and recommendations for use in different cropping systems.

Organic Grain and Vegetables

  • GMO Testing 101. David Bane, Midwest Organic Farmers Cooperative, Sidney, IL. This presentation will briefly inform about GMO testing rationale and methods, and also offer an update on activities aimed at labeling foods containing GMO ingredients in Illinois.
  • Getting Steamed for Pest Control. Jeff Kindhart, U of I. Soil pasteurization, although certainly not a new technology, can be an extremely useful tool in the quest for disease and weed control in high tunnels. It provides effective control for both organic and conventional producers alike.
  • Avoiding and Managing Key Insect Pests in Organic Production of Vegetables. Rick Weinzierl, U of I. Understand insect life cycles and the practices that can be used to limit damage from major insect pests of vegetables.

Fruits and Berries

  • Direct Marketing of Non-Traditional Berries: Expanding the Production and Palette of Possibilities for Midwest
    Growers and Eaters.
    Erin Schneider, Hilltop Community Farm, La Valle, WI. Learn, glean, and share perspectives on how and where different fruits such as currants, honeyberry, elderberry, and saskatoon might fit into your farm’s product offerings and the role that learning with other farmers and eaters plays in growing and sustaining a farm. Resources, handouts on agroforestry, plant lists, and direct marketing of fruit crops will be provided.
  • Tips for Raspberries, Currants and Strawberries. Janet Gamble, Farm Manager/Educator, Turtle Creek Gardens, Delavan, WI. Introductory session on cultural aspects of raising these fruits on a small scale to supplement your CSA or market garden. We will be discussing establishment, propagation, pest and disease prevention and marketing.
  • Managing Insects in Organic Apple Orchards. Maury Wills, Wills Family Orchard, Adel, IA and Bureau Chief, Organic Certification Program, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship. Identify strategies to maximize management of primary apple pests while meeting organic requirements. Understand how using insect monitoring and establishing action-level thresholds are even more important to the organic apple grower. The strengths, benefits and limitations of organic management practices will be reviewed. Create your own organic management strategy that includes a plan for enhancing biodiversity on the farm and a plan for use of insect-specific products and tools.

Organic Livestock Systems

  • Raising Pastured Swine with Unique Finishing Options for Market/Consumer Appeal. Chad Wallace, Oak Tree Organics, Ashland, IL.
  • Includes information on how to finish pastured pork on fruit and nuts, and what advantages this approach provides when marketing your product.

  • Watering Without the Electric Bill: Solar, Wind, and Other Renewable Options. Jay Solomon, U of I Extension. Essential for livestock and crop growth, water access can be a limitation due to cost or unavailability of electricity. Creative approaches to providing water to meet these needs will be explored.
  • Pastured Poultry Production. Kyle Cecil, U of I Extension.
  • This discussion will provide information that will help identify characteristics of alternative poultry production, explain the opportunities and challenges associated with pasture based production systems as well as discuss the equipment and practices that facilitate getting birds off to a good start. Most examples will focus on broiler production.

General Organic

  • Drought Resources and What’s New with Organic Crop Insurance. Sharon Hestvik, USDA Risk Management Agency, Washington, DC. An update will be presented on the federal crop insurance program for organic producers as well as other tools that producers can use to manage risk on their organic farms.