Sharing, learning, and weeds on an August day in Missouri…
On Thursday, August 25, 2022 the Missouri Organic Association hosted the Workshop & Field Day: Organic Weed Management Decisions at the Hartsburg Grand in Hartsburg, Missouri. The guest speaker Gary McDonald, a renowned organic certification consultant, spent the day sharing his knowledge about organic weed management both in the field and in the “classroom”. We are so appreciative that this outreach program was supported in part by USDA NIFA Award 2020-05110632359 administered by the University of Missouri and the Kerr Center.
Gary was born and raised on a central Illinois grain and livestock farm in the late 50’s where organic farm practices were used before it was called “Organic”. Proven farming and soil husbandry techniques were used to produce weed and pest free crops. These included crop rotation, cover crops, animal manures and timely mechanical tillage.
Presently Gary is involved in hands-on Organic Farm Management working with all the facets from organic system planning, field operations, records, and inspections to marketing. Much of what he deals with is weed control and marketing. He now also does consulting and assists land owners and investors with the process of transitioning their land to Certified Organic. Much to say, Gary had years of experience to share with the workshop attendees.
The day consisted of two parts of learning: a morning spent in the fields of a few local farms and an afternoon of programming.
In the morning attendees visited two local farms located in the Hartsburg River Bottoms – Creekside Farms LLC and Bullard Farm.
Creekside Farms LLC – Creekside Farms is owned and operated by Nick Schlotzhauer, a longtime organic farmer and MOA Board Member. At Creekside Farms their main focus is farming certified organic grain crops including corn, soybeans, and wheat.
Bullard Farms – Bullard Farms is a regenerative cattle farm that raises beef in Central Missouri.
During the field visits Gary shared valuable tips, advice and instruction on the best methods for weed management on row crops of corn and soybeans for both certified and transitioning organic methods as he examined tillage equipment on the two farms.
After the farm visits attendees returned to the Hartsburg Grand and enjoyed a wonderful locally sourced lunch.
The rest of the afternoon was filled with more learning and sharing of questions, ideas, and experiences. It was a wonderful workshop and we can’t wait for the next one!
Even better? Become a Missouri Organic Association member to unlock all the premium membership benefits including insider info and free advertising opportunities!
If you’re interested in learning more about the basics of organic weed management, Rodale Institute is another great resource such as this blog post: Weed Management the Organic Way