ACORN Conference Program

All Workshops

Cover Crops for Resilient Organic Farms, from the Soil Up

Tuesday, November 27, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM   

Klaas and Mary-Howell bring a unique combination of the theoretical and practical to every session they lead. In this workshop, the Martens' will talk about strategies for cover cropping in organic rotations. They will explain how they target cover crops for effective weed control and pest management; what different species accomplish; how cover crops can also be used as forage crops, and some of the benefits cover crops provide in longer rotations.

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Weed Management & Economic Thresholds

Tuesday, November 27, 11:30 AM - 12:30 AM   

Using on-farm examples, Klaas and Mary-Howell will share their own experience and current research on effective weed management strategies. They will talk about specific tools and equipment modifications, the importance of understanding weed biology and economic thresholds especially as it pertains to soil health. They will also focus on designing effective crop rotations, the use of cover crops and allelopathic crops, high quality seed and adapted varieties.

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Soil Health and Fertility Management in an Organic System

Tuesday, November 27, 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM   

Many transitioning organic farmers worry about maintaining soil fertility without chemical fertilizers. Klaas and Mary-Howell will explain how in an organic system, soil biological activity is the main source of soil health, and therefore of fertility.  Using real-farm examples, they will show how soil health is dependent on cover crops and crop rotation that improve soil tilth, increase soil organic matter, increase soil microbial diversity and activity, and protect the soil from erosion. They will discuss amendments, nutrient budgeting  and timing in a multi-year crop rotation. This session will include basic guidance on interpreting soil tests results and current research on soil health management.  

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Post-Harvest Quality Management; A Buyer Perspective

Tuesday, November 27, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM   

Mary-Howell and Klaas will share their experience as organic grain buyers, discussing the concerns that buyers have when purchasing direct from farmers. They will cover important differences between the feed-grade and food-grade markets, emerging market opportunities, grain quality, advances in grain cleaning, shipping, and mycotoxins.

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Program at a Glance