Farmers across the country will gather February 10-12 at the Ramada Oasis Conference Center in Springfield, Mo., for the Missouri Organic Association’s (MOA) annual conference.

The Start
For three days, MOA will bring together educators, businesses, farmers and supporters to celebrate the heritage and future of organic and sustainable agriculture. On Thursday participants will enjoy opening ceremonies with a “welcome” by Jim O’Neal, Mayor of Springfield, followed by exciting educational offerings, with featured speakers Gary Zimmer, Jim Gerrish, and Dr. Ann Wells. Speakers will share their expertise in the areas of soil fertility, intensive grazing systems and ruminate health. Curtis Millsap a farmer from Springfield, Mo., will give an instructional tour on how to manage diverse livestock operations.

Learning Sessions
A choice of six hands-on sessions will be led by Tevie Tillman, representing Einbock Industries; Chadwick Isom, Executive Chef of Victory Trade School; Kelly Carney, a certified organic specialty crop producer; Dr. Curt Rom from the University of Arkansas Horticulture Department; Tina Wilcox, head gardener and herbalist at the Ozark Folk Center and a final session conducted by Farmers’ Creamery and Horizon Organic Dairy.
Randy Agrella from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds opens the early afternoon sessions with Saving Seeds for Commercial Production. Additional afternoon hands-on workshops will be led by Keith Cuvelier founder of SuperGro of Iowa; Janet Hurst from Lincoln University; Desiree Rutherford of Rutherford Farms; Dr. Jaime Pinero from Lincoln University and Jennifer Hapwood representing the Xerces Society.
Late afternoon hands-on workshops will be led by Jon “Wood” Pittman of Organic Homesteading & Gardening in Paducah, Ky.; Randy Wood of Floating Farms hydroponic greenhouse in Licking, Mo.; Dr. Sanuan Gu from Lincoln University; Ernest Bohner from Persimmon Hills Farm near Branson, Mo.; Dr. Charlotte Clifford-Rathert from Lincoln University and George Frazier of Wild Crops Farms in Salem, Mo.

Other Highlights
National and international lecturer Jerry Brunetti opens the Saturday morning sessions with the topic: ”Heal yourself… Farm as the Farmacy.” Following his opening lecture, participants can choose from six hands-on workshops ranging from edamame production and cultivars to a panel discussion on establishing and financing local food systems. In addition, many of the sessions from Thursday and Friday will be repeated to ensure no one misses anything.
“Until now, our Midwest and Southern states have never had the good information and quality internationally-known speakers that this conference offers,” said Sue Baird, President of MOA. “This is not just a conference for Missouri, but truly, it is a Southern/Midwestern regional conference. Whether you hail from Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma or another state, the 2011 Missouri Organic Association Annual Conference provides learning experiences for all.”


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