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Organic agronomy training scheduled

NDSU Extension's Organic Agronomy Training Series program, known as OATS, is scheduled for March 26-27 at the Ramada Hotel and Conference Center in Bismarck, North Dakota. Farmers thinking about transitioning to organic farming or already farming organically are welcome to attend.

"The organic industry is rapidly growing in North America and around the world," said Clair Keene, NDSU Extension cropping systems specialist at the Williston Research Extension Center. "If you are not already working with organic producers or conventional producers with organic neighbors, you probably will be soon.

The program is set to begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 26. Experienced producers and crop advisers will discuss:

• Key concepts of organic certification

• The inspection process

• Buffers

• Prohibited substances

• Crop management

• Product integrity

The day's events also include a panel of organic agronomists and producers from North Dakota, Minnesota and South Dakota and small-group break-out sessions on developing transition plans, organic crop consulting and record keeping, and the certification and inspection process.

"The agenda includes introductions to key principles of organic transition, certification, marketing and agronomy," Keene said. "The program will emphasize crop rotation planning as key to successful soil fertility and pest management in organic systems in the northern Great Plains. Experienced organic farmers and ranchers representing a diversity of cropping systems will share their perspectives."

Scheduled speakers include:

• Chris Wiegert, chief supply chain officer for Healthy Food Ingredients

• Brad Brummond, an NDSU Extension agent in Walsh County 

• Tim Boortz, an organic grain marketing specialist with NFOrganics who operated a large organic crop and beef farm in Wisconsin

• Katherine Stanley, organic Extension specialist with the University of Manitoba

• Kendra Rhodes and Steve Rosenzweig of General Mills

The cost of attending OATS is $95. Attendance is limited to 100 participants. Certified crop adviser credits will be available. Register online.

For information, contact Keene at 701-774-4315 or clair.keene@ndsu.edu.

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