October 21, 2018
Contact: Rosalyn Lehman


Midwest Organic Pork Conference Release

Kris Winter, Conference Coordinator

Iowa to Host First Conference Dedicated to Expanding
Organic Pork Production in the United States

Featuring Bertel Hestbjerg of Holstebro, Denmark sharing how his unique
organic pig operation is meeting increased consumer demand.

February 16, 2019 – Des Moines, Iowa -- The Iowa Organic Association (IOA) will host the Midwest Organic Pork Conference (MOPC) in Waterloo, Iowa on March 8-9, 2019. This will be the first conference ever organized in the United States dedicated to presenting the best resources and information available to help expand opportunities for organic and natural pork production and distribution. More information and registration is available at MidwestOrganicPorkConference.org.

Conference topics include Herd Health, Feed & Nutrition, Housing Options, Soil Health, Transitioning to Organic, Genetics & Breeding, Marketing and Economics.

“The MOPC provides a venue to bring together a diverse group of expert organic and niche hog farmers, organic researchers, industry experts and others who will share available research, best production practices and technical assistance for organic hog production with apprentice, transitioning and organic farmers from across the Midwest,” says Rosalyn Lehman, Iowa Organic Association executive director. “This conference will further motivate interest in developing new research networks to support an expanding organic hog industry.”

This unique conference begins on Friday afternoon, March 8, with two workshops; one for the beginning or transitioning to organic farmer and one for the advanced farmer.  Local organic pork producer and consultant Jude Becker of Becker Lane Organic will lead the Advanced Farmer Workshop. Jude has run a certified organic pork and crop farm since graduating from Iowa State University in 1999 and now works with farmers across the world on organic systems.

What we Can Learn from Denmark

The second day of the conference on Saturday, March 9 includes a terrific line-up of national and local experts. The conference keynote is Bertel Hestbjerg of Holstebro, Denmark who runs an organic sow herd of 1,500 sows and produces 25.000 finishers and sells 4.500 weaners every year. Organic farming and organic food consumption are significant in Denmark. Ten percent of the farmland is grown organically, and eleven percent of total retail sale of food and beverage is organic. Bertel will share how his operation not only meets national and European organic rules but also focuses on "animal welfare, recycling and openness about all the thing that we should do better - pre-weaning mortality, carbon footprint, change from oil to green energy and more."

Why the Need?
MOPC is a response to an unmet, rising market demand for locally-produced organic pork. Currently there is a lack of both U.S. agricultural research on organic hog production and a limited number of swine veterinarians and professionals knowledgeable about the health and nutritional needs of organic hogs – especially those that supplement much of their diet with forage.

The conference is supported by a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) grant. (Grant #2018-51300-28427/Project Accession #1016579.) IOA was one of only 24 organizations across the country to receive an OREI grant in 2018.

The Midwest Organic Pork Conference will be held at the Waterloo Center for the Arts in Waterloo on Friday, March 8 and Saturday, March 9, 2019  More information is available at MidwestOrganicPorkConference.org.

 About Iowa Organic Association
The Iowa Organic Association (IOA) is a statewide, 501(c)3  non-profit organization committed to organic education, advocacy and cooperation. Our membership is a diverse community of Iowa’s organic farmers, gardeners, food and farm businesses, advocates and consumers who are devoted to building a more sustainable Iowa. More information at IowaOrganic.org.


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