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Pork production goes organic in Iowa

by 5m Editor
1 May 2006, at 12:00am

ST. LOUIS — Jerry DeWitt told of growth in an organic industry and a location that may surprise some people — pork production in Iowa.

“Four percent of hogs in Iowa are raised organically,” said DeWitt, who leads extension programs in sustainable agriculture for the College of Agriculture at Iowa State University.

“On-farm research is being called on more and more. There’s a market for this.”

DeWitt has worked extensively on increasing opportunities for large-scale organic research on farms. He said he believes there is great potential for taking organic farming deeper into conventional areas through on-farm studies.

“On-farm means farmer driven,” he said. “Farmers are tremendous data collectors and they are active in presenting data. It’s a true working relationship. It is so important that we establish communication linkage to the field from the campus. We all have a part in that.”

Like others at the conference, DeWitt said he is pleased to see added emphasis on organic research. But he said he sees many areas that are not being addressed, such as fly control in livestock operations.

“Where’s the research?” he said. “I think it would be a great program — an organic fly control system. There is very little pest management work being done on alternative crops. And compost. There’s so much we don’t know about that. Who among us is looking at the interaction of compost and soil?”

Source: Agri News

5m Editor