Organic Farming Conference Committee
The Seventh Organic Farming Conference will be held at The Event Center in Mt. Hope, Ohio on November 10 & 11, 2022.
It has been over 50 years that then U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz said these unsympathetic words, “Before we go back to organic agriculture in this country somebody must decide which 50 million Americans we are going to let starve or go hungry.” Butz served as Secretary of Agriculture under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford from 1971-1976. Butz obviously wasn’t an admirer of small-scale or organic farming. His mantra was “get big or get out” and plant commodity crops (corn, soybeans, cotton) from “fencerow to fencerow.” To promote his agricultural economist mindset, Butz dismantled many New Deal-era agricultural programs that attempted to control production. Butz resigned in 1976 when he was overheard telling a vulgar racial joke. In 1981 he pleaded guilty to tax evasion charges and was sentenced to five years in prison. All but 30 days of the term were suspended. Butz’s thinking on organics may have been on par with his other failings. We need to remember a lot has transpired in the 50 years since he made his unflattering remarks on organics, which was at the time when organic farming was much more on the fringe and far from mainstream.
From the fringe, organic agricultural has grown to billions dollars in annual sales because it is possible to obtain very good yields using organic systems. While this is not uniform at the moment, with many organic growers not yet producing at the levels that are achievable, this conference’s goal is to help farmers attain that level of production using domestically produced inputs such as lime, gypsum, compost, cover crops, and manure.
Education on the best practices in organic agriculture is a cost-effective and simple method of ensuring high levels of economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable production where it is needed.
Organic agriculture can be a viable solution to dependence on foreign and right now, very costly fertilizers. Farm publications have been warning of skyrocketing fertilizer prices for months now. Since the beginning of 2020, nitrogen fertilizer prices have increased fourfold, while phosphate and potash prices over threefold. The war in Ukraine has added to those woes since Russia’s decision to stop exporting fertilizer for the remainder of 2022 is yet another chapter in the fertilizer frenzy ag retailers and farmers face. These high fertilizer prices hurt farmers’ pocketbooks, especially for fertilizer-intensive crops such as corn.
On the other hand, organic fertilizers can often be sourced locally and can be purchased in large quantities from farms, greenhouses, and other livestock or farm operations, reducing the environmental footprint even further because:
- It has low inputs.
- It is cost-effective and affordable.
- It does not require any expensive technical investment.
The conference will have many knowledgeable presenters: Ulf Kintzel on sheep, Jim Wedeberg on the history of organics, a grass dairy panel of two experienced grass dairymen and two more recent ones, produce panel (more in-depths profiles of the presenters will be published later), and a very proactive Organic Home section which will be sharing on topics ranging from backyard poultry to homemade holiday recipes.
When most people think of living organically, they think of food. However, you can live a more organic lifestyle in other ways too. Put simply, living organically means doing your best for your family while also doing your part to care for the community and the environment.
By doing things responsibly we create and maintain a beautiful and fulfilling place in which to live. This means living intelligently and naturally. And this often depends greatly on the keepers of the home—the farmwomen.
The conference emphasizes the role of these women involved in the farming life. Yes, most are a part of running the dairy, the sheep flock, raising produce, but their role in making the farm a success and a home goes far beyond that. The conference is aware of this and besides just practical topics there are also sessions catering to the creativity that comes naturally for most women.
Organic farming is dedicated to making more informed choices when confronted with decisions that influence your health and the environment. It promotes sustainable development and encourages the application of natural methods in work, life, and play wherever possible.
Mark your calendar for November 10 & 11, 2022 for the Organic Farming Conference at the Mt. Hope (Ohio) Event Center. Registration for the two day event is $25 per person per day or $35 per person for both days. They are still accepting vendors as well. Call 330.674.1892 for more info or visit and register online at: www.organicfarmingconf.com.