April 2014

Organic Agriculture April 25, 2014 Print Friendly and PDF

In this issue

New eOrganic Dairy Forage and Organic Seed Webinars

Birdsfoot Trefoil as a Forage on Organic Dairy Farms: Join eOrganic for a webinar on Birdsfoot Trefoil as a forage on organic dairy farms with Dr. Jennifer MacAdam, Utah State University, on Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 2 PM Eastern Time (1 PM Central, 12 PM Mountain, 11 AM Pacific Time). The webinar is free and open to the public and advance registration is required. Attendees will be able to type in questions for the speaker. Find out more and register at http://www.extension.org/pages/70506.

Save the Date June 6, 2014: Need Clarity on the NOP Seed Requirement? The Organic Seed Alliance will host a webinar through eOrganic that educates certifiers and certified operations on the topic of organic seed availability and sourcing. The webinar will cover the organic seed regulatory requirement, including the National Organic Program's (NOP) 2013 guidance that aimed to clarify this requirement. Perspectives on enforcement and sourcing challenges will be shared, as well as recommendations for improving organic seed sourcing. This project is supported by a contract from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service's National Organic Program. Registration will be opening in the next few weeks on our webinar page at http://www.extension.org/pages/25242.

Plant Breeding and Genomics Webinar Series. This webinar series is not specifically about organic plant breeding, but organic plant breeders might be interested in attending this webinar series on the breeding of specific fruit and vegetable crops: salsa tomatoes, stringless snap peas, cucurbits, potatoes, dry beans, peppers, and apples. The series is sponsored by The National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB) in partnership with the Plant Breeding Coordinating Committee and the eXtension Plant Breeding and Genomics Community of Practice. Find out more and register at http://www.extension.org/pages/60426.

Organic Grower Survey on Spotted Wing Drosophila

Attention organic fruit producers!  From Dr. Ashfaq Sial and Dr. Mary Rogers of the University of Georgia: We are soliciting organic grower input on the impacts of the invasive Spotted Wing Drosophila in nationwide fruit production. This short survey will help us estimate the magnitude of damage from this pest and help direct applied, multi-state research aimed at improving management tactics for organic producers. Your input is valuable and this survey will just take 5 minutes of your time. Find the survey at https://docs.google.com/a/umn.edu/forms/d/17hpm5HscAU3-LSy-1BeXfRXqmysaUEZZxVTCxiHN-mc/edit.

Organic Seed Alliance Seed Producers Database Survey

OSA is in the process of evaluating, and potentially upgrading, their Seed Producers Database. Whether you've used this online tool before or not, please take two minutes to answer this short survey to help them determine the value of this database by May 1, 2014. As background, this tool was established to serve organic seed producers in search of new contracts and markets for their products and seed companies in search of organic seed producers. Organic farmers looking for bulk quantities of organic seed have also used the database as have growers looking to network with other seed producers in their region or crop focus.

Call for Papers: Organic Agriculture Research Symposium

A call for papers is now open for the Organic Agriculture Research Symposium February 25-26, 2015 in La Crosse, Wisconsin. The Organic Agriculture Research Symposium invites submissions for proposed research papers to be presented. The Symposium will take place immediately before the Organic Farming Conference organized by the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES). Co-sponsored by the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS), the conference invites researchers from all disciplines related to organic farming and food systems, and other systems of sustainable agriculture that employ techniques compatible with organic standards.

Researchers are asked to submit an abstract not to exceed 500 words that includes names of the co-authors, contact information, a working title, the topic area, an introduction that explains the context and purpose of the research, the methods used, and a brief summary of the results and conclusions. Cross-disciplinary papers are encouraged. Works in progress may be considered, but the paper for the proceedings will need to be completed by December 31, 2014.

The symposium will be held in La Crosse, WI on February 25 and 26, with plans to broadcast by live streaming on eOrganic. The intent of the symposium is to provide current information to farmers, ranchers, extensionists, educators, agricultural professionals and others interested in organic agriculture, held in conjunction with a meeting that is regularly attended by organic producers and processors.The deadline for submissions is May 31, 2014. Abstracts should be sent to Brian Baker at bpb33@cornell.edu. Researchers with questions about the conference can call 541-228-0876.

Publications on Supporting Pollinators on Organic Farms

Concerned about pollinators on your organic farm? The Xerces Society recently released a new manual on Pollinator Management for Organic Seed Producers. This new publication aids organic seed producers in understanding the role and diversity of seed crop pollinators, as well as strategies for reducing pollen movement between organic and conventional farms. Profiles of common pollinators, strategies for managing pollination, and guidelines for specific crops are all included. You can download the publication here.

Visit the Xerces Society website for more publications on creating and conserving pollinators on organic farms which are available for download including:

  • Pollinator Habitat Assessment Form and Guide for Organic Farms
  • Organic Farming for Bees Toolkit
  • Organic Farming Practices: Reducing Harm to Pollinators
  • Organic-Approved Pesticides: Minimizing Risk to Pollinators
  • Farming for Bees
  • Biodiversity Conservation: An Organic Farmer’s Guide,  by the Wild Farm Alliance

National Organic Program News

Comments Sought on Post Harvest Handling Guidance

Today, the Federal Register published a notice to announce the public comment period for draft guidance on post harvest handling. This draft guidance helps organic certifiers, farms, and businesses understand which substances may be used to wash, sort, cool, and sort (or otherwise "handle") raw agricultural products post-harvest. Comments are due by June 24, 2014.

Read the draft Post Harvest Handling Guidance here, and submit comments at regulations.gov.

USDA Updating the National Farmers Market Directory

Do you sell your products at one of the 8,000+ farmers markets across the country? If so, AMS needs your help updating the National Farmers Market Directory. The Directory relies on self-reported input from farmers market stakeholders. The Directory is one of the most comprehensive and up-to-date sources of information about farmers markets nationwide. If you are part of a farmers market, encourage your market manager to add or update their listings in time for the peak market season. The complete Directory will be released the first week of August. Market listings can be added and updated at www.usdadirectoryupdate.com.

Recruiting NOSB Members

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is pleased to invite nominations from qualified individuals to serve on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) from January 2015 to January 2020. Applications are due by May 15, 2014.

In the Federal Register Notice for this announcement, USDA announces its intent to renew the NOSB's charter, and seeks nominations for the following seats on the NOSB:

  • Individual with expertise in areas of environmental protection and resource conservation
  • Organic Producer who owns or operates an organic operation
  • Organic Handler who owns or operates an organic handling operation
  • Retailer with significant trade in organic products

Find out more information in the press release.

Updated List of Certified Organic Operators Available 

As of the end of 2013, 18,513 organic farms and processing facilities in the United States were certified to the USDA organic standards. Worldwide, there are now more than 25,000 certified organic operators in more than 120 countries. The certified operations list allows buyers, sellers and the public to identify and connect with organic stakeholders across the supply chain. This list provides information such as operation name, location, the scope of organic certification (crops, livestock, wild crops, handling), the operation's certifier, and a listing of products. Find it here.

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. If you have expertise in organic agriculture and would like to develop U.S. certified organic agriculture information, join us at http://eorganic.info.

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 service to connect with the eOrganic community!

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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.