IOWA CITY — Registration is open for the 12th Annual Iowa Organic Conference, to be held on the University of Iowa campus on Nov. 18 and 19.

Farmers, Extension staff, industry representatives and students are invited to learn about science-based research in organic agriculture and practical applications for Iowa farms.

The conference will open with a reception on the evening of Nov. 18 at the UI Memorial Union and continue with a full day program of speakers, workshops and exhibits on Nov. 19.

“Iowa State University is very excited to be partnering with the University of Iowa Office of Sustainability and New Pioneer Food Cooperative in Iowa City to bring a new perspective to the conference,” said Kathleen Delate, ISU conference organizer. The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture is also one of the co-sponsors.

The morning keynote speaker will be Will Allen, who will address the conference theme of “Organic Farming: What You Do Makes a Difference.” The recipient of a McArthur Genius Grant, Allen founded Growing Power LLC, a nonprofit center for urban agriculture training and community food systems.

“I like nothing better than to get my hands into good, rich soil and sow the seeds of hope,” said Allen, who is involved in organic farming projects and outreach programs throughout the world.

The afternoon keynote speaker will be Fred Kirschenmann, Leopold Center Distinguished Fellow and an organic farmer.

Kirschenmann will speak about how organic principles can address a future with rising fuel prices and limits on fertilizer supplies.

Both Allen and Kirschenmann received the Leadership Award in 2011 from the James Beard Foundation, which honors pioneers who have inspired positive action to improve our country’s food systems.

Other speakers at the conference will address strategies for dealing with drought, local food systems, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), certification cost-share programs, alternative grain crops, cover crops, organic food research and more.

Farmers will offer tips for best practices during the transition to organic farming, and Delate will discuss data from the 15-year-old Long Term Agroecological Research project, a comparison of organic and conventional crop rotations.

Register online at http://iowaorganicconference.eventbrite.com or contact Delate at 515-294-7069 or kdelate @iastate.edu.

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