Training, resources, and practical advice to help you grow.
November 2019 Organic Link
Early registration starts Dec. 3
The 31st Annual MOSES Organic Farming Conference will be Feb. 27-29, 2020, in La Crosse, Wis. This event brings together farmers of all kinds to learn the latest organic production methods and build a supportive community with resilient organic and sustainable farms. Early registration opens Dec. 3 with full-conference tickets at $95 off the door price. We’ll mail conference guides to subscribers in early December. Event details also will be online at mosesorganic.org/conference.
Scholarships to MOSES Conference
We want all farmers to be able to access the knowledge-sharing, support, and farming inspiration that make the MOSES Conference a favorite year after year for so many. To that end, we offer scholarships for the full conference, one-day admission, and all-day Organic University classes. Priority goes to farmers who have not been able to attend the conference in the past. The scholarship application opens Nov. 25.
Along with our general scholarship fund, we also manage funds in memory of two local heroes of the organic movement: Dave Engel and Chris Blanchard. Dave was a founding “father” to MOSES, guiding the conference in its early years. He also founded and led MOSA and Nature’s International Certification Services. Chris (the Farmer to Farmer Podcast creator) worked with our team for years helping to organize the conference and deliver popular workshops for market farmers.
To send a farmer (or two) to the 2020 MOSES Conference, please donate today to one or more of these funds:
From set-up to take-down, the MOSES Conference volunteer crew lends a hand to help this large-scale event run smoothly. Volunteering is a great way to make friends at the conference, impact the event's success, and access the educational contact for just $50 (meals included). The volunteer application opens Nov. 25.
Call for Research Posters
The Organic Research Forum at the 2020 MOSES Organic Farming Conference includes a juried poster session documenting completed and ongoing research projects related to organic agriculture. Researchers, academic faculty and staff, graduate/undergraduate students, and farmers may submit a poster proposal for consideration by Dec. 13, 2019. Space is limited to 25 posters. All accepted poster presenters receive complimentary full conference admission. The first-place poster research may be published in the Organic Broadcaster newspaper.
In Her Boots Podcast
The MOSES "In Her Boots" podcast currently features interviews with Rachel Armstrong, the founder and director of Farm Commons, a nonprofit that makes farm law approachable and relevant to farmers. Rachel and host Lisa Kivirist explore the risky side of farming to share ways that farmers can create more resilient operations.
More than 40% of American farmland and ranchland—371 million acres—will change hands over the next 15 years. The Farmland Access Hub, an initiative that guides beginning farmers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa through farmland access, is working to keep farmland in the hands of farmers. The program is run by Renewing the Countryside in partnership with MOSES and Main Street Project.
If you are a beginning farmer looking for land to farm, or a retiring farmer looking to find a beginning farmer to steward your land, connect with a Farmland Access Navigator here.
Financial Impact of Organic Transition
The new OGRAIN Compass is a planning tool to help producers understand the financial implications, at both the crop and whole-farm level, of transitioning to organic grain production. OGRAIN Compass developers John Hendrickson of the University of Wisconsin Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems and Jim Munsch of Deer Run Farm will explain this valuable new tool at an eOrganic webinar at 1 p.m. CST Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019.
The OGRAIN Compass also will be covered as part of a day-long class on the financial impact of organic grain transition at MOSES Organic University, Feb. 27, 2020 in La Crosse, Wis.
US Hemp Production Program
Last week, the USDA posted the interim final rule to establish the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program, creating a consistent regulatory framework across the country, as required by the 2018 Farm Bill. The program will allow hemp to be grown under federally approved plans and make hemp producers eligible for a number of agricultural programs. The public comment period on the interim rule ends Dec. 30, 2019.
Origin of Livestock Rule
The National Organic Program (NOP) has reopened the public comment period for the Origin of Livestock proposed rule, originally published in 2015. The NOP is looking for new comments and updated information to the 1,580 comments received in 2015. The proposed rule would level the playing field for all organic dairy producers by limiting dairy animals to a one-time transition to organic and requiring any additions to a herd to be managed organically from the last third of gestation or sourced from dairy animals that already completed their transition into organic production. The current comment period ends Dec. 2, 2019. See the Organic Trade Association's "Take Action Toolkit" for key talking points.
National Organic Standards Board
The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) met late last month in Pittsburgh, hearing public comments and voting on seven proposals and over 50 sunset materials on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. The board also elected new officers: Steve Ela (chair), Scott Rice (vice chair), and Jessie Buie (secretary). Transcripts of the meeting will be available on the NOSB meeting page. The Organic Trade Association also has posted a chart of the materials reviewed and other meeting outcomes.
Public Comment on National List Additions
The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service is taking public comments on a proposal to amend the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances, as recommended by the National Organic Standards Board in fall 2018. This amendment would add blood meal made with sodium citrate to the National List as a soil fertilizer, add natamycin as a post-harvest treatment to control fungal diseases in organic crop production, and add tamarind seed gum as a non-organic agricultural substance for use in organic handling. The public comment period ends Dec. 17, 2019.
Improving Crop Insurance for Organic Farms
The National Center for Appropriate Technology has published results of its multi-year project to assess and improve crop insurance for organic farms. Multiple partners, including MOSES, contributed to the research. The 132-page report, Is Organic Farming Risky? Improving Crop Insurance for Organic Farms, describes the status of crop insurance for USDA-certified organic farms, identifies problems, and makes recommendations for solving those problems.
Iowa Organic Conference
The 19th Annual Iowa Organic Conference takes place Monday, Nov. 25, 2019, at the University of Iowa in Iowa City in partnership with Iowa State University. Keynote speaker is Alex Heilman of Mercaris, Inc. speaking on “Profitability of Organic Ag: Now and into the Future."