The Rodale Institute Monday announced the opening of the Midwest Organic Center in Iowa. The center will open at Etzel Sugar Grove Farm, part of the Indian Creek Nature Center, near Cedar Rapids, Iowa this year. The center will research organic farming methods and seeks to help expand organic acreage in the Midwest. In 2016 The Department of Agriculture reported that Iowa has more than 103,000 certified organic acres on 732 farms. This places Iowa fifth in the nation for number of certified organic farms. However, the Rodale Institute says the region “lacks truly progressive, widespread access to research and training in regenerative organic practices.” In 2019, researchers and farm staff will begin transitioning the land to organic, a process that requires three total years. They will designate areas for grain production, vegetable production and a long-term systems trial similar in design to Rodale Institute’s flagship Farming Systems Trial. The center plans to host an education day for farmers sometime this year.
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