Yearning for a specific workshop to be presented at the next MOSES Organic Farming Conference? Let us know by voting in the annual workshop survey. If you don't see the exact topic you'd like covered at MOSES 2020, then write it in the box provided at the end of the survey.
Free Admission to MOSES 2020
Enter scenic shots of your farm, crops, livestock, or equipment in action to the annual MOSES Conference photo contest for your chance to win FREE admission to the full conference plus a T-shirt and mug! The winning photo will be featured on the cover of the MOSES 2020 Program. Every entrant gets a free mug at the conference. Deadline for entries is Aug. 30, 2019.
In Her Boots Podcast
The MOSES "In Her Boots" podcast currently features iinterviews with Hannah Breckbill of Humble Hands Harvest near Decorah, Iowa. Breckbill has a mix of livestock (grass-finished sheep and pastured hogs) plus organic vegetables, and fruit and nut trees. She and host, Lisa Kivirist, discuss how farmers think, cooperative designs for farms, and ways farmers can take care of themselves while farming. New episodes of the podcast post on Fridays on iTunes, Stitcher, and our In Her Boots webpage.
Save the Date
MOSES hosts the bi-annual Women in Sustainable Ag Conference this fall for women involved in farming, food system work, and ag policy. The event will take place Oct. 17-19 at the InterContinental St. Paul Riverfront. Registration will open Aug. 1, 2019.
Organic Certification Cost Share
Funding is available through the Organic Certification Cost Share Program to reimburse producers up to 75 percent of the cost of obtaining or maintaining organic certification under the USDA’s National Organic Program. Eligible expenses include fees for the application, inspection, equivalency agreement and arrangements, inspector travel expenses, user fees, sales assessments, and postage. Producers can apply for a maximum of $750 per certification scope. Apply for fiscal 2019 funding by Oct. 31 at USDA Farm Service Agency county offices.
The MOSES Organic Answer Line has been fielding calls from farmers concerned about prevented planting with the wet spring. Here are some resources to help farmers in this situation:
USDA has amended the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances to allow elemental sulfur to be used as a topical treatment to repel mites, fleas, and ticks from livestock and their living spaces. Access the National List here.
Origin of Livestock Rule
The U.S. House agricultural appropriations subcommittee included language in its FY20 bill last week instructing USDA to implement the 2015 Origin of Livestock Rule, which would level the field for all organic dairy producers. The next step is for the Senate appropriations subcommittee to write in similar language. The Organic Farmers Association has drafted a template letter on the issue that you can send to your Senator to encourage action on this important issue.
The 30th Annual Energy Fair takes place June 21-23, 2019, in Custer, Wis. Save $5 on your event ticket when you use the code moses5. The event focuses on sustainable living and clean energy and features more than 200 workshops and exhibits, farm and garden tours, an artisan market, live music, and food vendors. It is organized by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association.
U.S. Organic Sales
The U.S. organic market in 2018 broke through the $50 billion mark for the first time, with sales hitting a record $52.5 billion, up 6.3 percent from the previous year, according to the 2019 Organic Industry Survey by the Organic Trade Association. New records were made in both the organic food market and the organic non-food market. Organic food sales reached $47.9 billion, for an increase of 5.9 percent. Sales of organic non-food products jumped by 10.6 percent to $4.6 billion. The growth rate for organic continued to easily outpace the general market: in 2018, total food sales in the U.S. edged up just 2.3 percent while total non-food sales rose 3.7 percent.
Survey of Farmers
Have you ever wished researchers thought like farmers? Well, here’s your chance to get them to do just that. The University of Minnesota is conducting a survey to identify how to best share science-based information and volunteer opportunities with farmers. They are interested in getting responses from farmers in any state. With your input, researchers will better understand farmers’ stories, values, and interests, and in turn, be able to strengthen communication and outreach efforts. The survey takes 10-20 minutes to complete.
Agroforestry Fact Sheets
The Savanna Institute has published five fact sheets about common agroforestry practices: riparian buffers, forest farming, alley cropping, silvopasture, and windbreaks. These free, two-page sheets feature an illustration of the practice, a summary of its challenges and benefits, and a section of frequently asked questions about implementing the practice. You need to provide your email address to download the free fact sheets.
Organic Crop Container Systems
The USDA National Organic Program published a memo this week to clarify that organic certifiers are to assess land-use histories for container system sites just as they would for an in-ground soil-based system. If a prohibited substance was applied to the land at the farm or site within the three-year period before the first organic harvest, then the harvested crops shall not be sold, labeled, or represented as “organic” until the three-year period has passed. In addition, container growing systems must meet all other aspects of the organic regulations, including the strict prohibition of glyphosate and other prohibited substances, and natural resources and biodiversity requirements on an ongoing basis.
Farm Viability Conference
The National Farm Viability Conference takes place Oct. 22-24, 2019, in Red Wing, Minn. The event, hosted by Renewing the Countryside and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, is geared toward professionals in the fields of farm and food business planning, financial planning, agricultural financing, farmland conservation, agricultural market development, and food hub management. Organizers are seeking workshop proposals through June 12.