Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Western Corn Belt Conference for Organic Farmers, Dec 6-7

The South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service will host the Western Corn Belt Conference for Organic Farmers on Dec. 6-7.

The conference, for organic producers and traditional agriculture producers considering a transition to organic farming, begins on Dec. 6 at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel, 3200 W. Maple St., Sioux Falls. Registration is $30 for those who sign up on or before Nov. 15; the registration fee is $40 after Nov. 15. One-day registration options after the early sign-up period ends are set at $30 for the first day only and $15 for the second day.

To register for the conference, send payment and contact information to event organizer Peter Sexton, Box 2207A, Plant Science Department, SDSU, Brookings, SD 57007. For additional information call Sexton at 605-688-6179.

Fred Kirschenmann of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University will present the keynote address on Dec. 6. Speakers during the morning session Dec. 6 will discuss transitioning to organic crop production systems, and the afternoon session will focus on organic weed control and a presentation on biology and management of soybean aphids. The second day will include sessions on rules governing organic production, government programs for transitioning to organic production and organic livestock production.

Conference speakers include extension specialists, educators and researchers from South Dakota, Minnesota and Illinois. Organic producers and other experts will also share their experience and expertise throughout the conference.

Peter Sexton, SDSU plant science professor and a conference organizer, said the conference should be a great opportunity for agricultural producers, people who work in agricultural service businesses and the public.

“We’re including a top-notch lineup of speakers and guests, we encourage organic producers and anyone who is transitioning to organic production or considering a transition, to register for the conference,” Sexton said. “The conference will include research-based information on weed control and beef production, as well as opportunities for people to hear first-hand from organic farmers regarding their own experience with transitioning, weed control and beef production.”

Sexton said organic production in the United States has expanded greatly over the last 10 years and that this trend is projected to continue.

A complete conference agenda is available online at www.sdstate.edu/ps/news/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&pageid=887385. Partners in the event include the South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service, the USDA’s Integrated Pest Management and SARE programs and the South Dakota State University IPM Program.

A block of rooms has been reserved for conference attendees at the host hotel. While rooms are available, participants can receive the group rate at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel by making reservations before Nov. 6. Ask for the “SDSU Organic Agriculture Conference” rate. Call the hotel directly at 605-336-0650.

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