September 2012 eOrganic Newsletter

Organic Agriculture September 10, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF

In this Issue

  • What's New at eOrganic
  • New Video: What is Organic?
  • New Farmer's Guide to Organic Contracts
  • New Organic Literacy Initiative by the NOP
  • NOP News: Last Call for Certification Cost Share
  • NCAT Webinar on Organic Conservation Practice Standards
  • CCOF Upcoming Webinars and Events

What's New at eOrganic

Organic Mulching Materials for Weed Management, by Mark Schonbeck, Virginia Association for Biological Farming. Available at http://www.extension.org/pages/65025

Synthetic Mulching Materials for Weed Management, by Mark Schonbeck, Virginia Association for Biological Farming. Availble at http://www.extension.org/pages/65191

Video: Healthy Cow Check-Up—How to Perform a Physical Exam. Dr. Hubert Karreman, Penn Dutch Cow Care. Available at http://www.extension.org/pages/64752

Organic News and Announcements

New Video: What is Organic?

A new video filmed for the St. Paul, farmer's market features eOrganic certification group leader Jim Riddle, who addresses the question "What is Organic" from his Minnesota farm.  Watch the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQskVbWGT2c

New Farmer's Guide to Organic Contracts Available Online

The goal of FLAG's new Farmers' Guide to Organic Contracts is to help organic farmers make informed decisions when evaluating, negotiating, and managing contract agreements with buyers of organic farm products. This farmer-friendly guide includes: 1) a basic overview of contract laws important to farmers; 2) a Quick Organic Contract checklist and practical toolkit farmers can use to review contract offers; 3) highlighted sections showing how NOP regulations interact with organic contracts; 4) explanations and examples of over 100 types of organic contract provisions; and 5) detailed information about solving the types of contract disputes that commonly arise in the organic market. The guide is available for free download at http://www.flaginc.org.

New Organic Literacy Initiative by the NOP

On September 4, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a series of resources as part of its new Organic Literacy Initiative, an effort to help connect current and prospective organic farmers, ranchers, and processors with relevant USDA resources. Find all the publications at the new Organic Literacy Home Page. The purpose of the Organic Literacy Initiative is to provide USDA staff as well as organic producers and handlers with detailed and consistent information about organic agriculture and the programs and services USDA offers to support it. One of the goals of the initiative is to help USDA staff around the U.S. be better equipped to help farmers, ranchers, and processors understand organic certification and access relevant USDA services.

The materials available include:

An Organic 101 training about what the organic label means and how certification works;
A brochure that contains information about organic standards and certification and a brief description of USDA resources;
An Organic Resource Guide that outlines how each USDA agency supports organic agriculture and provides relevant USDA contact information; and
A USDA blog that highlights organic topics.

NOP News: Last call for Organic Certification Cost Share

Funds are still available for the 2012 Organic Certification Cost Share Program—as much as $750 per certified operation—to certified organic farmers and businesses to help cover the cost of organic certification. Newly certified applicants must have an organic certificate dated between October 1, 2011 and September 30, 2012 to apply during the 2012 funding cycle. If you are renewing your certification, you can submit your application as soon as you pay your certification fees. Contact your state’s department of agriculture for an application. You can find names and phone numbers at http://www.ams.usda.gov/NOPCostShareProgramParticipants, and some states have forms online for you to download. Your state’s deadline may be as early as September 30th, so don’t wait—apply today!

NCAT Webinar on Conservation Practice Standards on September 27, 2012

NCAT is hosting a webinar on September 27, 2012 at 1-2 PM Eastern Time on the Links between Biodiversity Requirements of Organic Systems and NRCS Practice Standards.  The webinar is funded by an NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant. Register at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/359336938.

Biodiversity conservation is part of the definition of organic farming, and the NOP requires that farmers and ranchers maintain or improve their soil, water, wetlands, woodlands, and wildlife. In addition, seven other NOP regulations relate to biodiversity and natural resource conservation. NRCS Conservation Practice Standards that help operators meet these NOP requirements will be discussed, including those protecting resources, providing conservation buffers, and supporting wildlife habitat. Also presented will be examples of practices used by organic farmers to maintain or enhance natural resources on their operations. Presenters: Jo Ann Baumgartner, Wild Farm Alliance, Jim Riddle, University of Minnesota, and Tom Broz, Live Earth Farms.

CCOF Upcoming Webinars and Events

California Certified Organic Farmers is hosting several marketing webinars this fall: Marketing 101 on September 26, and Sales Basics on October 3rd—as well as an in-person, all-day Organic Wholesale Market Tour on October 16 in San Francisco! Register early since space is limited. Find out more information on their Education and Events page at http://ccof.org/programs.php

eOrganic Mission

eOrganic is a web community where organic agriculture farmers, researchers, and educators network; exchange objective, research- and experience-based information; learn together; and communicate regionally, nationally, and internationally.

eOrganic Resources

Find all eOrganic articles, videos and webinars at http://extension.org/organic_production

Connect with eOrganic on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Have a question about organic farming? Use the eXtension Ask an Expert tool to connect with eOrganic. Tag your question as "organic production" to make sure it reaches our members.

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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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