September 2010 - eOrganic Updates

Organic Agriculture August 30, 2011 Print Friendly and PDF


eOrganic Bringing You the Best Organic Farming Information from America's Land Grant University System and its Partners

In this Issue

What's in Season - New Articles from eOrganic
USDA Publishes New National Organic Program Guide
Study Compares Fruit and Soil Quality on Organic and Conventional Farms
New Publication Summarizes Health and Environmental Benefits of Organic Food Production

What's in season - New Articles from eOrganic

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Fertigation in Organic Vegetable Production Systems by eOrganic Vegetable Production Systems group members Carol Miles, Jonathan Roozen, Tim Coolong, and Liz Maynard.  Learn about the application of organic liquid fertilizer through drip irrigation systems, how to calculate how much fertilizer to apply throughout the season, and read about a cost analysis of different liquid fertilizers.

Managing Black Rot of Cabbage and Other Crucifer Crops in Organic Farming Systems by Chris Smart of Cornell University. Find out how to identify, prevent, and manage black rot on organic farms.

Early Blight Management for Organic Tomato Production by Fulya Baysal-Gurel and Sally Miller of the Ohio State University. Read about the symptoms of early blight and organic strategies for managing the disease.

USDA Publishes New National Organic Program Guide

The first edition of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's handbook for the organic sector was published on Sept. 2, 2010. Prepared by the National Organic Program (NOP), the handbook provides guidance about national organic regulations for those who own, manage, or certify organic operations. It is intended to serve as a resource for the organic sector to help participants comply with federal regulations. It is available online at  http://www.ams.usda.gov/NOPProgramHandbook Printed copies can be made available upon request to the Standards Division, National Organic Program, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., Room 2646-S, Ag Stop 0268, Washington, D.C. 20250-0268; telephone: (202) 720-3252; fax: (202) 205-7808. 

The handbook provides guidance on the allowance of green waste and approval of liquid fertilizers in organic production systems; certification of organic yeast; processed animal manures in organic crop production; reassessed inert ingredients; and the calculation of dry matter intake to verify compliance with the NOP's pasture requirements. It also includes instructions concerning organic certification, such as recordkeeping, steps to certification, and organic certificates; accreditation procedures, such as how to apply to become an accredited certifying agent; international procedures, such as how USDA determines equivalence of foreign organic standards to those of the NOP; compliance and enforcement measures, such as how to handle complaints; and appeals procedures for certified operations or accredited certification agents.



The handbook explains the difference between NOP regulations and guidance/instruction documents and outlines their purpose, legal effect, and the process by which the NOP authorizes, reviews, revises and disseminates them to the public.

Study Compares Fruit and Soil Quality on Organic and Conventional Farms

A recent 2 year study of organic and conventional strawberry farms in 13 California agroecosystems found that organic strawberry farms produced higher quality fruit with longer shelf life and greater concentrations of certain nutrients such as ascorbic acid. The researchers, who included eOrganic members John Reganold, Jennifer Reeve, and Lynne Carpenter-Boggs, also found that the organic soils contained more carbon and nitrogen, as well as greater microbial activity and biodiversity.  The full text of the study is available online at: http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0012346

New Publication Summarizes Health and Environmental Benefits of Organic Food Production

eOrganic certification group leader Jim Riddle and Bud Markart of the University of Minnesota recently released a 6-page publication entitled  What is Organic Food and Why Should I Care? which explains USDA National Organic Program requirements in simplified terms. It also presents footnoted summaries of scientific studies about the health and environmental benefits of organic food and farming.

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This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.