Organic crop and livestock production has grown nationally at a rate of nearly 20% per year for the last seven years. Industry experts continue to forecast a slowing but steady growth for organic production. However, weather patterns and the volatility of organic markets and prices the past few years have affected both profitability and stability for organic growers.
Five organic outlook meetings planned for mid-December are an excellent opportunity to learn more about market demand and managing risk in organic operations, says Margaret Smith, a specialist with Iowa State University Extension's Value Added Agriculture Program. The meetings are sponsored by ISU Extension and the Iowa Organic Association.
The meetings will include a presentation by Catherine Greene of the USDA Economic Research Service. She will offer a historic look at national organic markets and an outlook of organic markets for 2011 and beyond. The buyers' perspective will be shared by grain merchandising companies and organic cooperatives. Joe Ward, president of the Iowa Organic Association and a livestock nutritionist, will give an overview of the recent changes to the National Organic Program's pasture rule and how it affects organic producers.
How to manage risk and marketing strategies for organics
Each meeting will have a producer panel discussing how to manage risk with the use of enterprise mix, crop rotation, crop insurance and government programs. Panel members also will share their marketing strategies for organics.
Meeting dates and locations are:
Dec. 10, Tripoli: Bremer County Extension office, 720 7th Ave SW, Tripoli, Iowa 50676
Dec. 13, Fairfield: Argiro Student Center Festival Hall, Hwy # 1 & Keith Wallace Drive, Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa 52556
Dec. 14, Nevada: Story County Extension office, 4-H Hall, 220 H Ave., Nevada, Iowa
Dec. 16, Atlantic: Cass County Extension office, 805 West 10th St., Atlantic, Iowa
Dec. 17, Storm Lake: Buena Vista Extension office, 824 Flindt Dr., Storm Lake, Iowa
All meetings are scheduled for 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. There is no charge for the meetings and pre-registration isn't required. For more information, contact Joe Ward at JWard722@aol.com, 319-447-1188 or 319-361-3047 or Margaret Smith at email@example.com or 515-290-4456.