OREGON, Ohio — Farmers, producers and those interested in learning about organic grain production can attend a two-day conference from Jan. 4–5, 2024, offered by The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) that is designed to support the growth and expansion of producing organic grains statewide and to provide the economic outlook for the organic grain market next year.
The annual Ohio State Organic Grains Conference will be held at the Maumee Bay Lodge and Conference Center, 1750 State Park Road #2, Oregon, Ohio, 11 miles east of Toledo, Ohio. Now in its second year, the conference offers programming for experienced organic growers, growers transitioning to or considering organic, and consultants or educators who support these growers, said Eric Richer, assistant professor and an Ohio State University Extension field specialist in farm management.
OSU Extension is the outreach arm of CFAES.
The conference comes as interest is growing among more farmers and producers statewide, according to the most recent U.S. Census data, said Richer, a conference organizer and speaker.
“Ohio ranks in the top five in the nation for total number of organic farms, organic corn farmers, and organic soybean farmers, and currently has the sixth most acres of farmland nationwide that are being transitioned from conventional to organic,” he said. “One of the goals of the conference is to better prepare farmers for the production and management risks associated with organic grain production in Ohio and to evaluate the possibility of growing value-added, organic grain in our region.”
In all, the conference will have 16 workshops on topics including the following:
- Alternative Weed Management Strategies
- High Tech for Organic Grain
- Preparing for an Organic Inspection
- Economic Performance of Organic Farms in the Midwest
- Rotations for Nutrient Cycling
- Sidedressing Manure to Provide Organic Nutrient Needs
- Innovative Weed Control Strategies
- Parallel Production During Transition
- Organic Oats for Grain and Forage
- Return On Investment of Biological Products
- Organic Grain Market Outlook
- Organic No-till Soybeans
Conference speakers will include CFAES researchers, specialists, and educators whose work aligns with or includes organic production practices, Richer said.
Conference speakers will also include Klaas Martens, a farmer with New York-based Lakeview Organic Grain; Léa Vereecke, an organic crop consultant at the Rodale Institute, a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit organics research organization; soil fertility specialist Steve Culman, of Washington State University; and Eugene Law, a researcher with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, and an incoming CFAES assistant professor in weed ecology.
The event will also include a preconference dinner and brainstorming session on Jan. 3 as well as farmer-led roundtables where growers can share their experience and questions around selected topics.
That’s just one of the features Steve Turnow, an Ottawa County, Ohio, organic grain farmer, said he that is looking forward to at the event.
“The conference is a great way for organic farmers to enhance their operations and to network with others interested in organic production,” Turnow said. “Last year’s speakers were informative and helped me in my farming operation.”
The conference is presented by OSU Extension and Ohio State’s Organic Food and Farming Education and Research (OFFER) program. Preregistration is $100 per person through Dec. 1, and is $130 from Dec. 2–22. Participating Certified Crop Advisors will also be eligible for continuing education credits.
For more information or to register, visit go.osu.edu/organicgrains.
— Ohio State University CFAES