Benefits of ‘going organic’ and how to do it topic of field day

Tuesday, July 9, near Churdan

The Iowa Organic Association (IOA) is delivering a free field day for farmers and others interested in learning from organic experts about the benefits of going organic and policies needed to transition to a family farm organic system. IOA members George and Patti Naylor will host this Field Day at their farm near Churdan  Tuesday, July 9, from 4 to 7 pm.

The Naylors began their transition to organic production in 2014. Initially, when George moved back to the family farm in 1976 his intent was to farm organically, which at the time proved to be too difficult. It was the inspiration of his two sons that convinced George that the time was right to transition to organic.

Field day attendees will tour this diverse, organic farm that goes beyond the corn-soybean rotation to see an orchard that will soon produce apples for hard cider; pollinator habitat planted through a Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to buffer between organic and non-organic crops, and to provide habitat for pollinators and other wildlife; a small field that is planted in oats and pasture mix; a field of transition soybeans planted into rye that was rolled into a mulch to suppress weeds, to control soil erosion and for water filtration; and a field that was too wet to plant with a crop this spring.

Both farmers will share insight about their decision to transition and their experiences along the way. George Naylor will discuss policies at the state, federal and international levels that would lead to a just transition for all our farms to be organic family farms. “Everybody needs to understand why agriculture is in a crisis, the benefits of going organic and the policies needed to transition to a family farm organic system,” George said.

Transitioning to organic is not an easy task. George will reflect on what they have learned through mistakes and successes.

Patti will give an overview about the farm, a personal reflection of organic farming and touch on recent research about the positive impacts of organic farming.

Public health is an important aspect of organic production, Kamyar Enshayan, director of UNI’s Center for Energy & Environmental Education, will speak briefly about the connections between agriculture and public health.

Although the Naylor farm does not currently have livestock, George and Patti recognize the multiple benefits of having livestock fully integrated as part of the farm, as well as the challenges to making that a reality. They have invited two speakers to address these issues.

Meghan Filbert, livestock program manager with Practical Farmers of Iowa will present information about livestock integration into cropping systems, share on-farm research results and discuss grazing management.

And, Mark Rasmussen, director of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at ISU, will discuss cattle and other ruminants and how they relate to methane emissions, climate change, and perennials and hay on farms.

This field day provides an opportunity to hear first-hand from experts and peers about the experiences, opportunities and challenges for organic transition and expansion.

Attendees are asked to RSVP to Kelli Hanson at kellih [at] iowaorganic [dot] org. A light organic meal will be served after the discussions and walking farm tour.

DIRECTIONS: 288 M Avenue, Churdan, Iowa, the Naylor farm is about 5 miles northeast of Churdan, big white house on west side of road.
– From Jefferson, go north of HWY 30 on HWY 4 for 8 miles. When HWY 4 curves west, continue north on Cty Rd P29. Go for 2 miles to 120th St (gravel) and turn west. Go 1 mile and turn north on M Ave for 1/4 mile.
– Coming from north, turn off HWY 175 just east of Farnhamville and go south on P29. Go 6 miles on P29 to 120th St. Turn west and go 1 mile. Turn north on M Ave and go 1/4 mile.

IOA’s 2019 Summer Field Day series is made possible with support from the USDA’s Risk Management Agency. View the full schedule for IOA’s Summer Field Day series at www.iowaorganic.org. For more information about the program or the Summer Field Day series, contact Roz Lehman at roz [at] iowaorganic [dot] org or 515-608-8622.

The Iowa Organic Association (IOA) is a statewide, 501(c)3 non-profit organization committed to organic education, advocacy and cooperation. Our membership is a diverse community of Iowa’s organic farmers, gardeners, food and farm businesses, advocates and consumers who are devoted to building a more sustainable Iowa. More information at IowaOrganic.org.

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