Minnesota's annual Organic Conference will be held January 18-19 in St. Cloud.
Keynote speakers include Robert Marqusee, Director of Rural Economic Development for Woodbury County, Iowa, who has identified locally-grown, organic food as a key rural economic development tool, and Tom Frantzen, an organic crop, beef, and hog producer from Iowa who is also a national pioneer in on-farm research.
The conference will feature two other nationally recognized experts - David Jacke, a permaculture expert and author, and Hubert Karreman, DVM, a nationally known veterinarian with expertise in organic livestock systems and member of the USDA's National Organic Standards Board.
The 2008 conference will feature 36 breakout workshops and roundtable discussions on topics including production and marketing of organic crops, dairy and livestock, fruits and vegetables. A special mini-workshop will be offered for attendees who are considering transitioning to organic and want to learn the basics. A concurrent trade show will feature more than 60 companies and organizations from input suppliers, buyers and farm organizations.
The cost for single day registration is $85. The full two-day conference cost is $125 and includes admission to all conference events, breaks and lunches.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is offering early bird discount rates until December 20. Information and registration forms are available at www.mda.state.mn.us/food/organic or call 651-201-6012 to request information by mail.
The conference is coordinated by the MDA with support from the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, Organic Valley/Organic Prairie, USDA Risk Management Agency, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Horizon Organic Dairy, Organic Crop Improvement Association Minnesota #1, Northland Organic Foods Corporation, Minnesota Crop Improvement Association, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service, International Certification Services, Inc., SunOpta Grains and Foods Group, Minnesota North Central Region USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture and other contributors.