Organic producer suggestions, certification workshop during annual Cheyenne conference

John Gordon of Carpenter checks a box of resources and tools passed among attendees during UW Extension educator Caitlin Youngquist’s presentation “Measuring Soil Health and Fertility in the Lab and Field” at last year’s conference.

Organic grain, vegetable and livestock producers will share information about their operations during the High Plains Organic Farming Conference in Cheyenne this February.

The fifth-annual meeting is Tuesday-Wednesday, Feb. 27-28, at Laramie County Community College, said Jay Norton, University of Wyoming Extension soils specialist and conference organizer.

“This year’s conference is shaping up to be the best yet, with concurrent symposia focused on dryland grain systems, intensive vegetable production, and livestock systems plus a keynote address on the changing policy environment in Washington, D.C.,” said Norton.

The detailed agenda is at www.highplainsorganic.org.

A half-day organic certification workshop Tuesday afternoon features step-by-step procedures for getting and staying certified, said Norton, an associate professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management at UW.

The day includes a session on record keeping and a panel discussion including producers who have participated in technical and financial assistance programs for organic transition and certification.

Producers will share information for dryland systems, intensive vegetable production and livestock systems Wednesday morning, followed by concurrent technical sessions featuring scientists and educators from Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming during a total of 16 sessions that day.

Poster presentations on current research, plus many information and vendor booths, will be on display both days, said Norton.

The producer sessions are always popular, he said.

“Those talks generate enthusiastic discussions about the many ways to accomplish production, marketing, weed management, personnel management and certification in the many types of farming operations,” said Norton. “Those discussions set the tone and carry through the whole day.”

Michael Stein, policy associate with the Organic Farming Research Foundation in Washington, D.C., is the keynote speaker in the afternoon. He will discuss policy issues for organic agriculture and the 2018 Farm Bill.

For more information, contact Norton at 307-766-5082 or at jnorton4@uwyo.edu.