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Organic Confluences Summit

Evaluating and Advancing Knowledge Transfer in Organic

Monday, May 21 – Tuesday, May 22, 2018
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Patriots Plaza III Conference Center


The Organic Confluences Summit brings together farmers, scientists, extension agents, industry members and key policy influencers to address large-scale challenges that the organic sector is facing. This day and a half conference, organized by The Organic Center, will be held in conjunction with Organic Week in Washington, D.C.

Organic farming is fundamentally different from conventional farming. In the past, this has constrained the traditional extension system from successfully communicating with organic farmers. While we know that lack of information is a major barrier to success for organic and transitioning farmers, we don’t yet understand the extent to which current information delivery systems support organic farmers.

Organic farming is evolving at a rapid pace. As farms become more diverse and organic-focused research becomes more abundant, it is imperative that farmers have access to educational materials and technical expertise.

Please join us. This conference will bring together diverse organic stakeholders to assess the state of extension and education for organic and transitioning farmers, explore current innovations in information dissemination, and address barriers that constrain knowledge transfer within the organic sector.


2018 Organic Confluences Conference Agenda

May 21, 2018

8:00am Registration, Coffee, and Breakfast
9:00am Welcome, Opening Remarks and Introductions



9:15am – 10:30am


Extension: Past, Present and Future

  • Alice Formiga – eOrganic
  • Stephen Brown – District Agriculture Agent, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Kathleen Delate – Professor and Extension Specialist, Iowa State University
10:30am – 10:45am Break
10:45am – 11:15am Clicker Questions

11:15am- 12:15pm


Public-Private Partnerships

  • Matt Dillon – Clif Bar
  • Kevin Mahalko – River Valley and OV
  • Chris Schreiner – Oregon Tilth
12:15pm – 1:00pm Lunch

1:00pm – 2:15pm


Importance of Communication Among Diverse Stakeholders

  • Alex Racellis – University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley
  • Javier Zamora – JSM Organics
  • Michael Wall – Director of Farmer Services, Georgia Organics

2:15pm – 3:30pm


Assessing the Effectiveness of Extension Requirements in Organic Agriculture Research Funding

  • Mat Ngouajio – USDA NIFA
  • Danielle Treadwell – Associate professor, Department of Horticultural Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL.
  • Vernon Grubinger – Extension Professor, University of Vermont and Coordinator for USDA’s Northeast SARE
3:30pm – 3:45pm Break

3:45pm – 5:00pm


Information Transfer to Transitioning and Split Operations

  • Andrew Barsness – new and transitioning farmer
  • Anders Gurda – Pipeline foods
  • Tucker Gretebeck – Organic Valley Dairy Farmer
5:00pm Conference adjourns


May 22, 2018

8:00am – 9:00am Coffee and Breakfast
9:00am – 9:15am Day 1 Recap and Day 2 Introduction
9:15am – 10:30am Innovation in Information Transfer: Lightning Session
10:30am – 10:45am Break
10:45am – 12:15pm Break-out Discussions
12:15pm – 1:00pm Synthesis Discussion and Development of Recommendations
1:00pm Conference Adjourns for the day


Make the most of your time in Washington, D.C.!


Organic Confluences Summit is a day and a half conference organized by The Organic Center. It is held in conjunction with Organic Week in Washington, D.C which includes the Organic Trade Association’s Policy Conference and Hill Visit Days, a Capitol Hill Reception, and more.

Don’t miss a minute of this exciting policy-shaping week in Washington D.C. You can register for both conferences at once when you choose the Organic Week Package.

Thank you to our 2018 Sponsors!

Sponsorship opportunities are still available.


2017 Organic Confluences: Making Research Count

View presentations from Day 1 of the 2017 summit >>

View presentations from Day 2 of the 2017 summit >>

View complete 2017 program >>

View photos from the 2017 summit >>


2016 Organic Confluences: A Summit to Turn Environmental Evidence into Policy Practice

View presentations from the 2016 summit >>

View complete 2016 program >>

View photos from the 2016 summit >>