LINCOLN, NE: The Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) would like to invite the public to join them from 3:15pm-5:15pm on Thursday, February 6th, 2014 at the LaQuinta Inns & Suites (located on 303 Blum) in San Antonio, Texas. Mark Kastel, Co-founder and Senior Farm Policy Analyst of The Cornucopia Institute, will be the featured speaker during OCIA’s annual meeting and will talk about maintaining consumer choice and access to ‘authentic’ food. The Cornucopia Institute, a farm policy research group, has become one of the more prominent watchdogs protecting the integrity of organic food and farming. And, Mr. Kastel has been named one of the “50 Visionaries Who are Changing Your World,” by the Utne Reader.
LINCOLN, NE: The Outstanding Organic Farmer of the Year is an annual award honoring and recognizing talented producers who certify to the Organic Crop Improvement Association’s (OCIA) level of excellence. OCIA Research and Education (R&E) was proud to honor Bernard and Sharon Kavan as the Outstanding Organic Farmer of 2014, during the closing banquet of their annual meeting on February 7, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas.
Bernard and Sharon Kavan have been an OCIA certified organic farm near Linwood, Nebraska since 1987. However, their organic farming practices go back to the 1970’s when the University of Nebraska Lincoln would host tours on their farm expressing methods to enhance the nutrition of crops through the use of beneficial minerals and biologicals. This was at a time when OCIA was just beginning and joined members of NSAS to begin the development of the certified organic movement. Bernard is grateful to OCIA for stabilizing the organic market and price. According to Bernard, “prior to certification you were at the mercy of the buyer as to the price you received and whether you got paid or not. Organic certification standardized and stabilized the organic market.”
Bernard’s crop rotation consists of oats under seeded with alfalfa the first year, followed by a year of haying to extend the growing time of the legume and reduce tillage. The third year is corn to make use of the nitrogen supplied by alfalfa. Soybeans are grown in the fourth year and corn in the fifth, and then the rotation repeats. Bernard feels this rotation does well to build soil and reduce tillage by haying the small grains and alfalfa. He has also ventured in producing soybeans for the tofu market, blue corn for chips and popcorn. The Kavans have a nice herd of mixed breed cattle to strengthen this rotation by making use of the oats and alfalfa “hayledge”, as Bernard calls his oats and alfalfa mix. They are rotated through the upland pastures in the summer and the stock and stubble fields on the river valley in the fall. Manure is applied from the winter quarters and spread on fields following raw manure standards to take advantage of the manure’s micronutrient advantage and not over used to replace the nitrogen requirement of the crop.
Bernard is proud to be farming the family homestead that’s been in his family since 1873. His farm holds a wide range of wildlife and their habitat. The University of Nebraska Lincoln has even conducted bird studies on his farm, recording the number of species on organic land as opposed to chemical farms. The Kavans are know as Pioneers of their local chapter, OCIA Nebraska #1.
OCIA Research and Education is a charitable organization, created in 2003, by certified organic members of OCIA International, a global leader in organic certification. OCIA R&E’s mission is to support organic research; facilitate connections between farmers, researchers, consumers and decision-makers; and educate producers and communities regarding organic farming and foods.
Dr. Rhonda Janke, Professor at Kansas State University will also be offering two workshops during OCIA’s annual meeting. On February 5th at 7:30pm, Dr. Janke’s workshop entitled “Ag and Art” will focus on using art as a way to communicate important issues in agriculture. And, on February 7th at 1:30pm, Dr. Janke’s workshop will discuss soil quality in organic high tunnel production.
You also won’t want to miss a very informative video and discussion presented by Maury Johnson of Blue River Hybrids, the leading producer of organic field corn, on February 5th from 4:00pm-5:15pm. PuraMaize, a completely natural gene blocking system making it possible for the organic farmer to grow a GMO free crop, will be discussed.
For headcount purposes, please contact Angie Tunink, Executive Director of OCIA Research and Education, at email@example.com if you would like to attend any of the above workshops. The public is also encouraged to attend if they would like to ask questions or discuss organic farming with organic farmers and processors from around the world.