Organic Agriculture in Iowa on the Rise

An update last week from Iowa State University Extension indicated that, “Organic agriculture continues to grow in Iowa, with the state boasting the sixth-largest number of organic farms nationally and ranking 10th in total organic sales. The state’s 800 organic farms produce $103 million toward the farm economy.

“Farmers looking to transition to organic production need specialized training that can be provided through an Iowa State University course titled Transitioning to Organic Agriculture. The 16-week course was taught during the Spring 2017 semester by Kathleen Delate, professor and extension organic specialist in horticulture and agronomy at Iowa State, and was available both to students on and off campus through a classroom setting and online. Forty-four people took the class, which was offered not only to Iowa State undergraduate and graduate students, but to interested farmers who sought to increase their knowledge about organic agriculture.”

The Iowa State University update also noted that, “Jane Richards, along with her sister Beth, are working to transition their family farm to organic production. Jane enrolled in the class to learn more about land stewardship and how they can transition a farm that previously had been a conventional crop operation.

“‘Taking this class helped me learn about organic grain farming and whether that might be a feasible option for us,’ Richards said. ‘Organic grain farming no longer seems like an impossible undertaking. Any conventional farmer interested in organics should participate in this class. I think they might be surprised how useful and thought-provoking the information is. They will gain a new perspective from which to evaluate their current operation, which given the current farm economy is particularly valuable.'”

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