MINNEAPOLIS, July 15, 2019 – David Vetter, a trailblazing organic farmer from Nebraska and founder of Grain Place Foods, will be the keynote speaker for this year’s Organic & Non-GMO Forum. The fifth annual forum will be held here, October 29-30, at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis.
In addition to his presentation, in which Vetter will share how his pioneering work in organic farming – dating back to the 1970s – helped reshape his family operations to a thriving organic farm enterprise, Vetter will join the audience for a screening of the recent documentary about his path to organic farming. “Dreaming of a Vetter World”, directed by Bonnie Hawthorne, chronicles the journey of David, inspired and led by his father Donald Vetter, in instituting productive farming practices that are dedicated to the stewardship of the land and the preservation of the most important crop – soil.
“We grow a variety of crops in a complex nine-year rotation,” said David Vetter in the film. “We view our farm as an organism where each part helps the other part. Nitrogen fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides – we use none of those. Our [soil] fertility is developed by the nature of our rotation and cattle grazing within the operation.”
The Vetter farm, 280 acres of organic production in Nebraska that includes soybeans, heirloom barley, perennial grasses, legumes and organic popcorn, was first farmed by Donald Vetter, who in 1953 had an epiphany. “I was cultivating corn and I thought ‘this approach [using pesticides and nitrogen fertilizers] just can’t be right. Poisoning the air when you spray it – you smell it, breathe it and put it on the soil, and the life of the soil soaking it up’. I decided then and there that I wasn’t going to do this anymore.” Unheard of at that time, the senior Vetter managed through crop and cattle rotations, and more techniques were added when David came back to the farm in the 1970s after earning a degree in soil science agronomy, though it has always been a challenge to go against the grain of traditional farming.
“I tend to look at things a lot more long term than others and I’m willing to settle for less in the short term for greater potential long-term success,” said the younger Vetter. And that, noted his dad, includes preserving the land and soil for future generations.
Attendees to the forum will learn more about the self-sustaining, self-renewing farm management processes successfully used by the Vetter family in their organic farming production. Addressing the challenges and obstacles will be key as well.
“My biggest concern is that we’ve introduced a lot of new technologies into agriculture that we really don’t understand how to manage well, and the learning curve could spell disaster for a lot of farmers,” said David Vetter.
# # #
The Organic & Non-GMO Forum is hosted by HighQuest Group, a Topsfield, Mass.-based strategic advisory, conference and media company serving corporations, financial investors and governments across the global food and agribusiness value chains. highquestgroup.com