Monday, February 9, 2015

MOA!

Sue Baird with the Missouri Organic Association invited yours truly to lead a few sessions at their annual conference in Springfield MO (yes MO has group with a sole focus on Organics).  With fond memories of this conference in 2009, I jumped at the opportunity.
I polished up my online Organic record keeping presentation and created a new  "What's the real cost?" of organic production presentation based some recent experiences and a semi-formal Risk Assessment the farm keeps.  While the sessions were fairly small, the folks in them seemed to appreciate the perspective and ideas.   My notes from the sessions I attended can be found here.  A few unique features of this conference were the Organic commodity growers and  the advocacy tracts for the sessions.  Yes, there are certified organic row crop farmers.  They use cultivating techniques tuned for this century and it's impressive.
Why is it we hear "it can't be done" while others are doing it elsewhere?


One of the best part of any farm conference is the food and MOA did not disappoint. The photo below was just one example (including the Cabernet).  



Friday evening brought a Top Chef Challenge between two local chefs demonstrating their best "cochon" skills. 

Each started with a pastured non-gmo fed heritage breed hog.


I have attended hundreds of conferences along my career path
 and this hands down was the coolest event ever.


The best part was yet to come.
In 2009 when the conference's silent auction bid sheets were barren, one of the Mennonites offered his services as an auctioneer to help with the fund raiser.
Up until that point in my life, my dealings with these folks had been minimal.  The mennonites are known for their farming prowess. It's not as well known that they have produce auctions to sell their products.   After witnessing him work the crowd like an old pro, all my preconceived notions of this group went out the window.   When Sue contacted me about this conference, that auction was the first memory that came to mind.  Well it seems this has been part of the conference ever since.  I wish I could have recorded the whole auction because this was not the first time these pro's auctioned off a hog and it was SO evident.  I did not take any photos of the small children they brought with them, but let me tell ya on the cute and well behaved scale,  their kids top  the charts.  They must be doing something right. 

Check out Mennonites selling off a few slabs of pork-> MOA 2015 Fund Raiser


Farming conferences always get me motivated for the year and MOA delivered.  I hope they ask me back.



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