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Wyoming Organic Farmers Can Round Up New Skills At Conference

Industrial Hemp
Mountain Xpress

Many Wyoming farmers and ranchers are discovering that switching to organic methods makes their products more valuable on the market, but they don't always know how to get those products out to consumers.

At the upcoming 6th annual High Plains Organic Farming Conference in Cheyenne, agriculture producers can get tips on solving that problem.

"That can be a big bottleneck going into organic production," said University of Wyoming Soil Scientist Jay Norton, one of the event's organizers. "There might not be ready-made markets with those premiums. So, they really have to hustle and make their own markets. And so, I think we have an excellent marketing workshop on the first day."

Norton said this conference is more science based than most other organic farming conferences.

"It's nuts and bolts and aimed at people that are trying to make a living from organic farming," Norton said. "They may not be organic consumers themselves, but I've had wheat producers tell me that going organic is the only way they can cover their production costs."

The conference will also address how the new farm bill could help organic farmers fund new research, low stress livestock raising, how to use cover crops instead of industrial fertilizers, and other topics. Norton said, he's particularly interested to attend one session on raising hemp in Wyoming.

"The legal questions about growing it are sort of lining up and so there's a lot of questions about where to get varieties and processing and marketing. And also, just as an alternative crop, where does it fit into our rotations? What does it require in the way of soil fertility and soil types?"

The conference is happening Wednesday and Thursday, February 27-28, in the Centennial Room at Laramie County Community College. To see the conference agenda, click here.

Melodie Edwards is the host and producer of WPM's award-winning podcast The Modern West. Her Ghost Town(ing) series looks at rural despair and resilience through the lens of her hometown of Walden, Colorado. She has been a radio reporter at WPM since 2013, covering topics from wildlife to Native American issues to agriculture.
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