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Spring Valley — Registration is open for the 28th annual MOSES Organic Farming Conference, Feb. 23-25, in La Crosse, with early bird pricing through Jan. 17, 2017.

The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service runs this event, which is the country’s largest conference about organic and sustainable agriculture with more than 3,500 participants.

Innovative farmers, experienced educators, and farming professionals will present 65 workshops offering practical information about field crops, livestock, dairy, vegetables and specialty crops. Additional workshops will focus on soil health, farming issues, and strategies to help farmers manage and grow their business.

Farmers can take a deeper dive into a farming topic through an all-day Organic University course Feb. 23. Courses cover ways to improve soil for higher yields, how to transition row crops or a dairy herd to organic, season extension options, cover crops and conservation tillage techniques, beekeeping, and more. Farmers can choose from 10 courses that each include a custom-made resource book. See the course descriptions at OrganicUniversity.org.

“Consumers want more organic food, which means there’s a growing need for more organic farmers. But, there’s a learning curve to making an organic system work on a farm,” said John Mesko, the new executive director of MOSES. “This conference is an ideal venue for non-organic farmers to learn best practices for organic and sustainable production. It’s also where experienced organic and sustainable farmers learn the latest field-proven techniques to implement at home.”

Current research is featured through the Organic Research Forum at the conference, which includes a track of workshops and a juried poster gallery where farmers can learn directly from people involved in the research.

Keynote speakers for the 2017 MOSES Conference are Mas Masumoto and Liz Carlisle. Masumoto is a certified organic farmer and author of 11 books, including "Changing Season: A Father, A Daughter, A Family Farm." He’ll talk about the shift to the next generation of organic farmers and the rewards of farming organically. Carlisle is a an instructor at Stanford University and author of "Lentil Underground." She’ll explain how Montana farmers banded together to create a million-dollar pulse enterprise in a landscape dominated by large-scale wheat production.

The conference features a two-floor exhibit hall with more than 170 exhibitors. Vendors include organic crop buyers, certification agencies, seed and tool suppliers, and other organizations that offer products, information or services to help farms flourish.

Conference registration includes admission to the exhibit hall, workshops, organic meals, and evening entertainment. Registration is available online at mosesorganic.org/conference. To request a conference guide with a mail-in registration form, call 715-778-5775.

MOSES is a nonprofit organization that promotes o­­­rganic and sustainable agriculture by providing farmers with education, resources and practical advice.

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