Dec 18, 2019
New York Certified Organic announces 2020 meetings
New York Certified Organic

New York Certified Organic (NYCO) has announced a new location for its 2020 meeting series.

Martin Auction Barn, 1036 NY Route 318, Waterloo, N.Y., will host the meetings while the auditorium at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva is renovated.

The 2020 meetings of the 28-year-old farmer discussion-type gatherings will be held on January 14, February 11, and March 10. All those interested in organic production are welcome. Meetings start at 10 am. There is no charge to attend; organizers ask those attending to bring a dish to pass or a donation for the potluck lunch.

The special guests for the January 14, 2020 NYCO meeting will be organic grain growers and processors John and Halee Wepking of Meadowlark Organics Farm, Ridgeway, WI; Dr. Margaret E. Smith of the Cornell University Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics; and a panel of dairy farmers: Kirk Arnold, Ryker Smith, and Jeremy Mapstone discussing forage harvesting and storage under inconsistent weather.

January 14: Beginning Farmers Share Their Path to Farming

The Wepking’s story is unique in that they are new to farming, having met as chefs in New York City, deciding they wanted to grow the food they worked with, and how they landed in Ridgeway, Wisconsin. They were attracted to an advertisement by retiring dairy farmer Paul Bickford who wanted to transition his 950-acre farm into a diversified enterprise farm by reaching out to young farmers. John and Halee will share some of the challenges and benefits of getting started in this manner and how they added value to their grain crops by starting a flour mill. Paul Bickford will join the discussion by phone to answer questions about his model of transitioning from a moderately-sized commodity farm to a diversified enterprise. See a preview below.

Heart and Grain — John and Halee Wepking from National Young Farmers Coalition on Vimeo.

Cornell University plant breeder and researcher Dr. Margaret E. Smith will review her work and that of others on developing crop varieties whose physiologies are best adapted to organic management. Her work includes growing foundation seed and providing farmers with tools to make wise seed choices.

Kirk Arnold of Twin Oaks Dairy, Truxton, N.Y.; Ryker Smith of Tre-G Farms, Manlius, N.Y.; and Jeremy Mapstone of Pastureland Dairy, Manlius, N.Y., will review the plans they have developed to get consistently good forage harvested and stored during these times when the weather is anything but consistent.

Watch for Details on Feb. 11, March 10 NYCO Meetings

Speakers currently scheduled for the February 11 and March 10 NYCO meetings include:

  • Heath Deway, a reporter with the USDA Department of Ag Market News Service, Greeley, CO, will talk about the world organic grain situation.
  • John Hanchar, farm business management specialist with the Cornell Cooperative Extension Northwests NY Ag Team, will review a four-year economic study on transitioning to organic crop production at the Aurora Research Farm.
  • McGeary Grains President Shawn Kilpatrick, Lancaster, PA, will share from his 20-plus years of experience in the quality organic grains, feed ingredients, and custom fertilizer industry.
  • Cornell University Soil and Crop Sciences Professor Matthew Ryan and graduate student Uriel Menalled of the Sustainable Cropping Systems Lab at Cornell will discuss using organic no-till practices.
  • Lynn M. Sosnoskie, Cornell University Assistant Professor of weed ecology and management for specialty crop systems, School of Integrative Plant Science, will speak on the cultural and ecological aspects of bindweed.
  • John Winchell from Alltec will discuss mycotoxins in forages.

Watch the website at for details on the February and March NYCO meetings.

For more information, contact NYCO Meeting Coordinator Fay Benson with the Cornell Cooperative Extension South Central New York Dairy and Field Crops Team at or 607-745-3807.

The 2020 NYCO meetings were planned with the assistance of Emily Reiss, Ph.D., with the Crop Team at Kreher Family Farms, Clarence, N.Y., and Luke Gianforte of Gianforte Farm, Cazenovia, N.Y.

Above, Young farmers and chefs John and Halee Wepking of Meadowlark Organics, Ridgeway, WI, will be the featured speakers at the January 14 New York Certified Organic meeting in Waterloo, N.Y. Photo: Meadlowlark Organics

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