New York Certified Organic/NYCO has set its winter 2015 dates for January 13, February 10 and March 10 for information and education meetings to help grain and dairy farmers throughout the state.

The free NYCO meetings start at 10am in the Jordan Hall auditorium at the NYS Agricultural Experiment Station, 614 W. North Street, Geneva, NY.

The 2015 meetings will address a variety of topics including the increasing demand for NY-grown organic small grains.

‘The popularity of organic small grain crops has grown to the point that we now need thousands of acres more to meet the demand,’ says NYCO facilitator Fay Benson with the Cornell University South Central NY Regional Team.

Klaas Marten, a respected New York organic grain producer who also operates an organic grain mill in Penn Yan, will be among those discussing soil health for organic growers and the new Soil Renaissance Initiative that is drawing attention nationwide.

The Initiative was started in 2013 by the Farm Foundation, Oak Brook, IL, and Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Ardmore, OK. Twenty-five soil health leaders working in production agriculture, industry, academia, research and government identified economics, measurement, research and education as key areas for advancing soil health as the decision-making cornerstone for land use management and sustainable natural resource systems and for meeting the challenge of feeding 9 billion people by the year 2050.

Additional topics for the NYCO meetings include why good forage quality is not a matter of luck and the perennial issue of weed control for organic crop growers.

The meetings also include an after-luck discussion circle for questions and answers and brainstorming.

NYCO has received support funding from the New York Farm Viability Institute/NYFVI. NYFVI Managing Director David Grusenmeyer notes, ‘Forums such as those held by the New York Certified Organic group for more than 20 years now directly answer the needs and opportunities identified by the growers for critical attention.’

NYCO has met since 1994 with members attending as topics fit their needs or pique their interests in new opportunities. Registration is not required; participants bring a dish to pass for the potluck lunch. For more details, contact Fay Benson at 607-753-5213, afb3@cornell.edu.