In this issue:
In addition to our ongoing webinars, we provided live broadcasts from the Organic Agriculture Research Symposium and the Organic Seed Growers Conference this winter. We recorded several presentations from these conferences that are now available in our archive and as playlists on the eOrganic YouTube channel. The seed conference recordings include sessions from a day-long seed production intensive class, as well as a presentation on the State of Organic Seed by Kristina Hubbard and Jared Zystro of the Organic Seed Alliance. The Organic Agriculture Research Symposium recordings include sessions on biosolarization, the importance of organic research, organic dairy forages, organic education, and many more. Find the recordings here:
All the webinars from this past winter and spring are also available in our archive. Since we have so many recordings, it may be easier for you to find the ones that interest you by topic here. In the coming months, we'll be offering additional monthly webinars, mainly focused on dairy and seed production, and we'll start doing weekly webinars again in the fall.
Join us on May 12 for a webinar with Andre Brito of the University of New Hampshire and Heather Darby of the University of Vermont. The webinar takes place at 2 PM Eastern Time (1 Central, 12 Mountain, 11 Pacific). It's free and open to the public, and registration is required. Dr. Darby will start the webinar by sharing results of field trials she’s conducted in northern Vermont looking at the performance of flax varieties, planting dates, and weed management. Dr. Brito will then describe his work on feeding flaxseed to organic dairy cows. Find out more and register here.
Attention organic berry growers! If soft-fruited berries (cherries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc.) are part of your farm operation, organizers of a NIFA OREI project would like some information on your knowledge of and experience with this invasive small fruit pest that primarily attacks raspberries, blackberries and blueberries but may also infest strawberries, grapes, and stone fruit. The survey will take 10 minutes to complete and will be open through June, 2016. Here is the link to the survey (after the introductory text, click on the arrows below it to get to the survey): https://umn.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cDeLcgAST6GsQo5
The project is Development and Implementation of Systems-based Organic Management Strategies for Spotted Wing Drosophila. For questions about this survey, contact Ash Sial of the University of Georgia or Mary Rogers of the University of Minnesota.
On May 23, the Organic Center is holding its first Organic Confluences Summit, which aims to turn research-based environmental benefits of organic agriculture into policy practice. This conference will bring together scientific experts, farmers, policy makers, and organic stakeholders to review the most up-to-date research on the environmental benefits of organic farming practices and assess the availability and efficacy of existing public sector programs designed to incentivize the adoption of environmentally friendly organic farming techniques. The conference takes place in conjunction with the Organic Trade Association's Organic Week DC, and there is a registration discount for those who are attending both events. Find out more information and register here: https://www.organic-center.org/programs/organic-confluences/
New Organic Livestock and Poultry Proposed Rules: The USDA is proposing rules to amend livestock and poultry practices for organic farms, which include sections on:
You can view the proposed rule here, and then once it is published in the federal register, you will be able to submit comments.The link above provides instructions.
NOSB Seeking Nominations: The National Organic Standards Board is accepting nominations to fill five vacancies on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) as well as nominations for a pool of candidates to fill future unexpected vacancies in any of the position categories, should that occur. Appointees will serve a 5-year term starting on January 24, 2017. The deadline is June 3, 2016, and you can find more information on the vacancies and how to apply here.
Organic Integrity Database: In February, the USDA launched the new Organic Integrity Database. This new searchable database is a user-friendly tool that can help you findup-to-date information on certified organic operations. Using the database, you can find things like the certified organic operations in your state and what they provide, check on the certification status of a particular farm, or learn how many certified organic farms there are in the US. Learn more about the database here.
Organic Conservation Resources The USDA NRCS has a webpage with information on organic production and conservation, which includes success stories from producers who have implemented conservation practices. You can also find fact sheets on cover crops and conservation buffers and practices produced by Oregon Tilth, and a link about a series of webinars in 2016 on weed management and reduced tillage. Additionally, you can find out about the EQIP program and how you can take advantage of EQIP funding. Find the NRCS organic agriculture page here.
New Spanish Resources: The Agricultural Marketing Service has translated many resources on organic farming into Spanish, for example the USDA Organic Regulations and the Program Handbook. Newly available for Spanish speakers are the Sound and Sensible initiative resources, including videos and a checklist on transitioning to organic production produced by CCOF, organic farming videos from WSDA and tip sheets on organic standards from NCAT. Find all these resources here, on the USDA blog:
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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.