The 2011 South Dakota State University Organic Agriculture Conference will be held at the Ramkota Hotel in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Dec. 5 and 6.
"We're including a strong lineup of speakers and guests for the conference. Along with organic producers we encourage anyone who is interested in organic agriculture to consider attending the conference," said Peter Sexton, SDSU plant science professor and one of the conference organizers. "We always put an emphasis on research-based information blended with farmer experience. In this year's conference we are trying to focus more on adding value to crops by considering specialty varieties, on-farm processing, dairy production and vegetable production. Of course weed control is always an issue, so we have included presentations on some of the latest technologies being developed for organic agriculture. Organic production in the U.S. has expanded greatly over the last 10 years and we expect this trend to continue, so all these issues are relevant."
The conference includes presentations on weed control; on-farm processing of oilseeds for feed and fuel; vegetable production and marketing. There will be two tracks at the conference, one focused more on agronomy and livestock, and the other focused more on horticulture.
On Dec. 5, Bob Quinn, a Montana farmer who has built a large enterprise producing a specialty wheat variety, will present the keynote address. This will be followed by Chris Blanchard, an Iowa farmer, who will address values and opportunities in the local foods marketplace. Themes of Dec. 5 include adding value to crops and food safety regulations in direct marketing.
One way to add value to organic crops is through feeding them to organic dairy cattle. The conference will include a presentation on the potential for expansion of organic dairies in South Dakota.
On Dec. 6, the agronomy session will include presentations on flaming for weed control, strategies for weed control and parasite lifecycles in cattle. The horticulture session will include presentations on marketing vegetables and on major insect pests of vegetables.
Speakers include organic farmers, extension specialists, educators and researchers from South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin. In addition, there will be opportunities for farmers to share ideas and discuss issues during panel discussions at the end of each session.
To view a complete conference agenda visit
Registration at-the-door registration is $55 and one-day registration options include $40 for Dec. 5 only or $25 for Dec. 6.
To register for conference, send payment and contact information to Peter Sexton, Box 2207A, Plant Science Department, SDSU, Brookings, SD 57007. For more information contact Sexton at 605-688-6179.
Organizers have reserved a block of rooms for conference attendees at the host hotel. While rooms are available, participants can receive the group rate at the Best Western-Ramkota Hotel by making reservations before Nov. 14. Ask for the "SDSU Organic Agriculture Conference," rate. Call the hotel directly at 605-336-0650.
Conference sponsors are SDSU Extension and the USDA's Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education programs.