Jan 11, 2013 at 1:03 pm
ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KNSI) - The demand for organic vegetables, meat and dairy products is quickly on the rise in Minnesota, but growers need to arm themselves with the latest trends and technology in order to succeed.
That's the message being delivered during the 10th annual Minnesota Organic Conference, being held Friday and Saturday at St. Cloud's River's Edge Convention Center.
The conference includes 36 workshops covering topics ranging from vegetable growing, to breeding naturally-fed livestock to best practices for starting and marketing an organics business.
At the heart of the conference is keynote speaker Dr. Mark Seeley, Extension Climatologist and University of Minnesota Professor. Seeley's focus is on the effects of climate change and drought on organic farming.
"We have to think about the fact that, as our winters become milder, we're finding that some plant diseases and insects that faced high mortality during the cold winters are not as much anymore," Seeley says. "So as we get into growing seasons, we get the appearances of these concerns earlier in the growing season."
Seeley explains, Minnesota has faired better than most midwestern states recently, but because they don't rely on synthetic chemicals, organic farmers will face ongoing challenges due to increasingly warmer winters.
The Minnesota Organics Conference wraps up on Saturday afternoon.