Saturday, December 24, 2016

New York Certified Organic Sets Dates for Winter Meetings

New York Certified Organic has set the dates for its Winter 2017 meetings, bringing grain and dairy farmers together with guest speakers on the organic crops and dairy production. 

The 2017 dates are Jan. 10, Feb. 14 and March 13. Each program begins at 10 a.m. in Jordan Hall, 630 W. North St. at the New York State Agricultural Experimental Station, Geneva.

There is no cost or need to register to attend the meetings; participants are asked to bring a dish to pass at the potluck lunch. 

Roundtable discussions after lunch provide farmers the opportunity to ask questions and hear from the combined experience of the group. These sessions help advance organic production in New York and have been helpful to new and transitioning farmers as well as long-time organic producers.

A brief description of how crop insurance can benefit organic farmers will be included at each of the meetings.

The Jan. 10 meeting will feature presentations by Bob Quinn of the Quinn Organic Research Center, Big Sandy, Montana; Mark Sorrells of the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future at Cornell University; organic producer Tim Christensen of Penn Yan; and Sandra Wayman with the Cornell Sustainable Cropping System Lab.

Quinn's organic research center includes a 2,800-acre farm in Big Sandy. The fourth generation farm transitioned to organic production in 1986. Work on organic grain varieties led to the redevelopment of Kamut, an ancient grain grown by the Egyptians. The farm also grows soft white wheat, durum wheat, buckwheat, lentils, peas, sweet clover, and flax.

Quinn, a sought-after speaker on marketing and development of organic grains, will present his vision of where organic markets are going and how New York’s producers can prepare for the future at the January 10 NYCO meeting.

As part of a research team there, Mark Sorrells worked on the ‘Accelerating Production of Organic Grains in Western NY’ project sponsored by the Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority and Wegmans, the family-owned supermarket chain. Sorrells will review the results of this study conducted at the Cornell University Musgrave Research Farm in Aurora.

Tim Christensen farms with his father, Guy in Penn Yan and has been experimenting with different cover crops in his corn and small grain rotation. His decisions are based on the multi-layered objectives of protecting soil health, adding green manures, and qualifying for annual Conservation Stewardship Program payments. Christensen will share some of the success and failures he has had on his farm.

Cornell Sustainable Cropping System Lab Research Technician Sandra Wayman will review work with the newly-developed perennial grain Kernza.

The Feb. 14 NYCO meeting will focus on how to diversity farm business with organic poultry. The March 13 session will feature speakers on nutrient balancing, crop production and alternative forage production.

Producers, educators and agribusiness representatives are encouraged to mark calendars for these meetings. 

For more information, contact Fay Benson at (607) 391-2699 or email

Information on past meetings is online at

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