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Minnesota Organic Conference set in St. Cloud

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Plan now for a mid-January jaunt to St. Cloud and the 2012 Minnesota Organic Conference. The annual event will grow in 2012 to include even more trade show vendors, educational breakout sessions, and nationally renowned keynote speakers, according to organizers.

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Scheduled January 13-14, 2012, at the River's Edge Convention Center (formerly the St. Cloud Civic Center), the conference is an opportunity for organic farmers and processors to network and to showcase their products.

"This conference attracts more people every year because there's something for everyone," says Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) Organic Specialist Meg Moynihan. "We make it worthwhile for those farmers just starting out in organic, those who are in transition and those who've been doing it for years. People tell us they love the education at the conference, but they also like seeing old friends and meeting new people."

Featured speakers this year include Chuck Benbrook, Chief Scientist for The Organic Center in Boulder, Colorado; Jim Goodman, a journalist and organic farmer from Wonewoc, Wisconsin; and Elaine Ingham, President of Soil Foodweb, Inc., and Chief Scientist at the Rodale Institute in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. In addition, Minnesota farmer, conservationist, and author Jim VanDerPol will read from his new book Conservations with the Land.

Nearly 36 breakout sessions at the conference will cover timely topics like weed control, water management, soil biology, poultry production, beef genetics, vegetable season extension, contracting, and market outlooks.

The event is organized by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Major sponsors include the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council and Horizon Organic Dairy.

The conference program will be announced soon. Check www.mda.state.mn.us/organic for the most up-to-date information.

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