HARRISBURG, Pa. — Organic farmers from throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast will have the opportunity to learn from internationally renowned organic and sustainable agriculture experts next month when the fourth annual Growing Pennsylvania’s Organic Farms Conference is held at the Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey. The conference runs Dec. 12–13.
“Organic farm sales in Pennsylvania have skyrocketed, nearly doubling the prior year’s sales in 2016 to make us second in the nation,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “We are pleased to offer new, established and transitioning organic farmers the insights of internationally known experts and peers who are contributing to this industry growth.”
The event will feature presentations by successful organic farmers, industry representatives dedicated to organic production, and speakers from universities and institutions with accomplished organic research programs. Topic will include animal welfare rules, integrity of international imports, hydroponics, heritage grains, pest and weed control and more.
The annual conference supports Northeast and Mid-Atlantic organic farms with information and discussion on the best organic farming practices available. The conference is a collaboration of public and private organizations, organic farmers and advocacy groups, including the Pennsylvania. Department of Agriculture, Rodale Institute, Pennsylvania Certified Organic, GMO-Free Pennsylvania, Organic Valley Dairy, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service and Pennsylvania Farm Link.
For more information on speakers, topics and registration, visit www.gpofconference.org. Students receive a $50 registration discount with a student ID. Register online by November 20 to receive discounted hotel reservation. Discounted conference registration closes Dec. 4. Walk-in registration will be available during the conference.
Pennsylvania Certified Organic will hold its annual meeting in conjunction with the conference on Dec. 12 from 4:30 to 8 p.m. PCO invites the public to join members and staff for an educational evening that will include remarks by Cheryl Cook, PA Department of Agriculture deputy secretary for market development and recipient of the National Farmers Union 2017 Meritorious Service to Agriculture Award. Founding Farmer Awards will be presented during an organic farm-to-table dinner. Additional registration is required for the PCO annual meeting.
— Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture