CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — On February 16, farmers and organic industry experts will gather at the Hilton Garden Inn in Champaign, IL, at the Beyond Production: Growing the Organic Grains Industry event to explore the emerging regional organic grains industry in central Illinois. All farmers, both organic and conventional, are invited to attend this workshop and join with each other to grow and strengthen the economic health of the corn and soybean farmers of the Illinois region.
Organic corn currently earns 647% higher net profit per acre over conventional, bringing in $388 profit/acre to conventional rates at $60 profit/acre, according to an analysis conducted by Richard Ritter, Senior Vice President of Agricultural Lending at Flanagan State Bank, using data from the Farm Financial Management Database (FINBIN). His analysis concluded that low corn prices have conventional producers running at a net loss for the past two years. With low prices pinching the pockets of producers, Mr. Ritter predicts we will see a tide shift to organic corn and soybean production in the Midwest.
The Beyond Production: Growing the Organic Grains Industry program will be focused on helping farmers uncover the economic benefit of organic grains as an alternative to commodity cropping, while working with other farmers and industry experts on how to grow this market in central Illinois. The program will feature a keynote address delivered by Jeff Moyer, a world renowned authority on organic farming and Executive Director of the Rodale Institute. Moyer is best known for conceptualizing and popularizing the organic no-till roller crimper. His address will update Illinois farmers on organic research conducted at Rodale Institute’s research farm, organic no-till production, and how collaboration among farmers will benefit and grow the organic grains economy.
Moyer will be joined by a full roster of local experts in organic systems and economics. Richard Ritter will present results of his financial analysis of organic farming, Bill Davison of the University of Illinois Extension will discuss the need to brand local grain farms, Adam Davis of USDA will enumerate the benefits of farmer-led research networks, Jonathan Manuel of NRCS will highlight federal programs that can financially assist farmers in transitioning to organic production, Gary McDonald will present on organics from a farm manager’s and landlord’s perspective, and Michelle Wander, soil scientist at the University of Illinois, will explore how organic farmers can measure and leverage the regeneration of their soils.
The day will conclude with a panel discussion on strength through collaboration, where several of the day’s experts will be joined by local Illinois organic farmers, exploring their experiences and affording attendees the opportunity to interact with the experts and farmers. The panel will be moderated by long-time organic farmer Jack Erisman of Goldmine Farms, and includes Will Glazik an organic farmer and crop consultant with BCS and Angie Coxworth of Opa’s Organics, joined by presenters Bill Davison, Gary McDonald, and Jeff Moyer.
This workshop is made possible by a grant from the North Central Risk Management Association and generous sponsorship from Nature Safe Organic Fertilizers.
Registration costs $25 and includes lunch and all materials. For more information and to register: http://thelandconnection.org/farmers/riskmanagement4. Exhibitors are welcome and encouraged to contact Mallory Krieger at 217-840-2128 for more information.
Times, dates, and locations:
- February 16, 9:00am-4:00pm, Hilton Garden Inn, Champaign, IL
About The Land Connection:
The Land Connection is a nonprofit that trains farmers in resilient, restorative farming techniques; informs the public about the sources of our food and why that matters; and works to protect and enhance farmland so that we, and generations to come, will have clean air and water, fertile soil, and healthy, delicious food.
— The Land Connection
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