photos courtesy of MOSES

In February every year, when the land is still asleep but the seed catalogs have begun to arrive, thousands of farmers from around the country descend upon La Crosse, Wisconsin, near the birthplace of organic farming, for a weekend of organic and sustainable farming education, as well as fun and connection with fellow farmers. Thinking about attending next year? Here are some reasons you should!

1.) It’s the best place to learn about organic farming.

The MOSES Organic Farming Conference is the largest sustainable and organic agriculture conference in the country – there were 3,500 attendees in 2016! With hundreds of participants and an excellent variety of workshops and speakers, the conference will likely address almost any need a farmer will come across, plus challenge your thinking with some new ideas too!

MOSES lots of people MOSES plenary 2

And it’s a ton of fun, too!

moses photo booth

2.) You can learn directly from other farmers and share experiences.

We always hear that the best advice comes directly from other farmers. The Organic Farming Conference is an opportunity to meet thousands of other farmers from around the world and make new friends and connections. Most of the workshops are also led by active farmers who want to share their learnings so that other farmers can reap the benefits (or learn from their mistakes!). If one farmer has a problem on their farm, it’s likely that someone else does too – and that another has worked out a solution that they’d love to share with you.

Janet Gamble of Turtle Creek Gardens, Delevan, Wis.

Janet Gamble of Turtle Creek Gardens, Delevan, Wis.

3.) This is where you come to find new ideas to improve your farm.

Organic and sustainable farming has come a long way in the decades since the first MOSES Organic Farming Conference in 1990. Every year, the conference attracts cutting-edge resources and technologies to help you farm more safely and efficiently and new resources to provide advice and mentorship. All to help you not only take better care of your animals and land, but also spend more time with your family and be healthy. From the workshops and the keynote speeches by experts in their fields, to the Exhibit Hall packed with new resources, there’s no shortage of wisdom here.

Get new ideas and resources at the Organic Farming Conference exhibit hall.

Get new ideas and resources at the Organic Farming Conference exhibit hall.

4.) Just when you think you’ve seen it all, you learn something new.

Farming is one of the oldest professions in the world, but it’s far from stagnant! Things are constantly changing, and even organic farming isn’t exactly “the way Grandpa used to farm.” Today, organic and sustainable farmers are more technologically connected than ever, which can provide greater efficiencies, save time and avoid costly mistakes. They are also more concerned than ever with protecting their land and water, preserving habitat for wildlife and beneficial predators (which benefit the farm, too), reducing emissions along with sequestering carbon in the soil, and holistic animal care. There’s always something new to learn!

MOSES bookstore

5.) MOSES connects farmer to farmer, young to old.

It can be incredibly difficult for young farmers to get started if they don’t already have resources or a farm in the family. At the MOSES Organic Farming Conference, young and beginning farmers can connect with established farmers who are interested in sharing their knowledge, and with older farmers who are looking to retire and want to preserve the land they’ve stewarded for so many years. And because it’s an international event, you can learn about how people farm in other parts of the world and possibly pick up some ideas that would work here at home, too!

MOSES 8.Emmanuel Omondi, Rodale Institute, Kutztown, PA

6.) You feel part of something bigger instead of just being alone on your farm.

Many farmers feel isolated on their farms, which may be miles from a town and often further from a city of significant size. It can also be difficult to find friends who share your passion for farming, or who understand and support the lifestyle. Here, you can easily connect with so many like-minded people, make new friends and catch up with old ones!

MOSES musicMOSES hoedown

The MOSES Conference is where organic and sustainable farmers gather together and build the organic community.

Organic Valley is committed to building a future for sustainable family farming and is happy to support the Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) and its annual Organic Farming Conference in their efforts to establish a vibrant system of agriculture in America.