The 5th Annual High Plains Organic Conference will take place at the end of this month in Cheyenne, with presentations from agricultural producers, scientists, and policy experts.
The first day will provide an overview of programs that pay farmers for using organic practices and the rules for getting certified. On the second day, participants will discuss topics like choosing seeds, improving soil quality, and livestock health.
This year, the High Plains Organic Conference coincides with Congressional talks around the 2018 Farm Bill. The previous bill will expire in September, along with funding for many programs related to food and farming.
Michael Stein of the Organic Farming Research Foundation will speak at the two-day conference about pieces of the bill that may affect organic producers.
“The one I work on the most is organic research,” Stein said. “There’s a USDA organic research program that’s vital to support research, education, and extension on organic agriculture practices around the country, and I’m working and my organization is working to make sure that that program is reauthorized.”
According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s most recent survey, there are about 48 organic certified farmers in Wyoming. Conference organizer Jay Norton said he’s heard certification has been a way many Wyoming farmers can make a profit, which can be especially challenging in this region.