ST. CLOUD -- Organic farming isn't new to the agricultural industry, but over the last few years, it has become more popular worldwide.

Over 90 vendors displayed their products at the River's Edge Convention Center for the 13th annual Organic Growing Conference.

Meg Moynihan is the Principal Administrator for Minnesota Department of Agriculture Organic Program. She says there are certain requirements farmers need to call themselves organic.

"In order to call your product organic you must follow certain standards as well as be overseen by a third party organization," says Moynihan.

Organic products make up about 20 percent of the consumer market. Along with food, organic ingredients have been popular in health and beauty products.

However, there are not many organic farmers in the state due to the challenge organic farming brings.

"You have to know how to grow a lot more crops," says Moynihan. "You're busy throughout the year because there is always something to do."

Bob Mueller runs an organic dairy farm in Melrose and says passion plays a big role.

"You have to believe in what you're doing. If you believe in it, I think it goes so much easier," says Mueller.

Organic farming research continues to grow in the industry especially when it comes to soil health.

"Soil health has become a new focus, and it is kind of leaking out and even conventionally farmers are really seeing a benefit there too," says Moynihan.

Mueller says while organic farming does have its challenges, anyone can succeed in the industry.

"If you are a good farmer conventionally, I think you will be a good farmer organically," says Mueller.

The Organic Growers Conference runs until Saturday afternoon and is open to everyone.


Vendors display the uses of organic farming at 13th Annual Organic Growing Conference. (PHOTO: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News)