April 2017

Organic Agriculture July 24, 2017 Print Friendly and PDF

In this Issue 

  • Upcoming eOrganic webinars
  • Where to learn about organic research
  • Sustainable agriculture scientists survey
  • Call for organic soil health and management abstracts
  • Comment period extended on organic check-off program
  • Videos about organic soybean and dry bean breeding
  • New spotted wing drosophila bulletin
  • Spotted wing drosophila videos
  • New report on CSA farms
  • Missed an Organic Farming Conference this Winter? Catch a Keynote
  • eOrganic mission and resources

Upcoming eOrganic Webinars

April 6, 2017: Taking Stock of Organic Research Investments

This webinar will present the findings from the report by the Organic Farming Research Foundation:Taking Stock: Analyzing and Reporting Organic Research Investments: 2002-2014. This report provides information on the progress USDA funded organic research projects have made in addressing critical research needs. We will describe the types, locations, and impacts of USDA funded research, as well as research gaps and topics that require greater attention. The webinar will conclude with a set of recommendations for strengthening organic research in the US to best support the needs of organic farmers. Presenters are Diana Jerkins, Joanna Ory and Mark Schonbeck. Register

April 11, 2017: Use of High Glucosinolate Mustard as an Organic Biofumigant in Vegetable Crops

Brassica plants, including mustards, contain glucosinolates that, when broken down, produce compounds that can reduce weed pressure, insect pests, populations of parasitic nematodes, and soil-borne pathogens such as Pythium, Rhizoctonia, Sclerotinia, Verticillium, and Phytophthora. In this webinar, we’ll address the use of mustard cover crops that have been bred specifically to have high glucosinolate concentrations and act as a biofumigant in crops like potatoes, peppers, carrots, black beans, and strawberries.Webinar presenters include Heather Darby and Abha Gupta, University of Vermont Extension; and Katie Campbell-Nelson, University of Massachusetts. Register

Find all upcoming and archived eOrganic webinars at http://articles.extension.org/pages/25242/webinars-by-eorganic

Where to Learn about Organic Research

At conferences this past winter, we’ve spoken with farmers who tell me how much they enjoy learning about organic research through our webinars. However, there is still a feeling that it is hard to find information about organic research, especially since it is sometimes challenging to take time off the farm to meet researchers at a conference or field day, and online digging can be a hassle.

There is a great deal of free information about organic research available online. We’re listing some good sources in this list, including some free searchable databases, conference proceedings and recordings, and just a selection of the many university websites that have posted information on their organic research activities. Download it here: Where to Find Organic Research Information

Sustainable Agriculture Scientists Survey

The Union of Concerned Scientists is seeking information from experts to learn about their experience in sustainable agriculture research. This survey is intended for researchers or other professionals with an advanced degree (Master’s or Ph.D.) and with academic or professional experience that is relevant to sustainable agricultural systems. If you have questions about the survey or its use, please contact Tali Robbins at trobbins@ucsusa.org.

If you would like to take 15-20 minutes to fill out this voluntary survey, you can find it here

Call for Abstracts on Organic Soil Health and Management

The Organic Farming Research Foundation, in collaboration with the University of Florida-IFAS and the Florida Organic Growers & Consumers Association, invites submissions to the Organic Agriculture Soil Health Symposium (OASHS) for proposed research, education, and extension papers and posters.

The Symposium will take place during the Annual Tri-Societies Conference in Tampa, Florida in October 2017. The symposium invites researchers, extension, and educators from all disciplines related to organic farming and food systems, and other systems of sustainable agriculture that employ techniques compatible with organic standards.

Find out more information about the symposium, as well as the topics and submission requirements here: http://www.ofrf.org/news/call-soil-health-management-abstracts

Comment Period on Organic Check-Off Program Extended to April 19th

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is extending the comment period for the proposed establishment of an industry-funded research, promotion, and information program for certified organic products by 30 days, to April 19th, 2017. You can submit comments by going to Regulations.gov, and searching for "Organic Research, Promotion and Information Order", or by going to this direct link: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=AMS-SC-16-0112. You can learn more about the proposed program and some of the arguments both for and against it in the following articles from the MOSES Organic Broadcaster and NOFA Vermont Blog.

Videos about Organic Soybean and Dry Bean Breeding

Have you ever been curious about what goes on behind the scenes in organic field research? The University of Minnesota has created a series of videos, produced by Michael Winikoff and videography by Eve Daniels, that provides a unique perspective on recent research to improve organic soybean and dry bean production in the Upper Midwest. This research was part of the project Improving Soybean and Dry Bean Varieties and Rhizobia for Organic Systems funded through USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (Grant Number 2011-51300-30743). The specific research objectives included:

  • Developing soybean varieties for organic systems
  • Developing improved varieties of dry bean for organic systems
  • Selecting improved strains of rhizobia for soybean and dry bean for organic systems
  • Evaluating the interactive effects of organic management practices with soybean and dry bean varieties

Learn more and watch the videos here.

New Organic Spotted Wing Drosophila Extension Bulletin for Michigan

A new Extension bulletin by Heather Leach, Matthew Grieshop and Rufus Isaacs of the Department of Entomology at Michigan State University details SWD biology along with recommendations on monitoring, cultivar selection, sanitation and exclusion, just to name a few! You can find the bulletin and read more updates from the NIFA OREI funded Spotted Wing Drosophila research project at http://eorganic.info/Spotted%20Wing%20Drosophila%20Project%20Updates

NCAP Spotted Wing Drosophila Videos

The Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides hosted a webinar last year on Spotted Wing Drosophila management, and video clips from the webinar have been posted in both English and Spanish. Dr. Amy Dreves of Oregon State University presents important components to effective SWD management including: biology, identification, life cycle, early detection, and monitoring pest pressure. Multiple management approaches for each season are presented, with emphasis on preventative measures and cultural practices to minimize SWD population pressure. Find the videos here.

Note: We haven't reviewed these videos for organic certification compliance, so make sure, before using any pest control product in your organic farming system, to read the label to be sure that the product is labeled for the crop and pest you intend to control, and make sure it is legal to use in the stateor other location where it will be applied,and make sure that the brand name product is listed in your Organic System Plan and approved by your USDA-approved certifier.

New Report on Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Farms

The Agricultural Marketing Service has produced a new report on CSA farms. highlighting six case studies of farmers using the community supported agriculture (CSA) direct-to-consumer business model and how that model has changed since the 1980s. Many CSAs use the traditional business model of a farmer or network of farmers offering consumers regular (usually weekly) deliveries of locally-grown farm products, particularly fruit and vegetables, during the growing season on a subscription or membership basis. The report shows that some CSAs have modified this model to include new products, partnerships and technology to create sustainable local food businesses. The report was prepared through a cooperative research agreement between USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and the University of Kentucky. In addition to preparing the case studies, University of Kentucky researchers, led by principal investigators Timothy Woods and Matthew Ernst, conducted a national survey of CSA managers and operators and convened focus groups in the six states where the CSAs highlighted in the case studies are located.Find the report here.

Missed an Organic Farming Conference this Winter? Catch a Keynote

Many organic farming associations and groups across the U.S. offer annual conferences for a wide range of participants from commercial growers and ranchers to enthusiastic gardeners and homesteaders. Several conferences conducted over the past few months included internationally recognized and otherwise topnotch keynote presenters – here are just a few presentations available on YouTube:

  • Why We Need an Organic Future by Vandana Shiva. Delivered at the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont Annual Winter Conference: https://youtu.be/gof7vdQI6OM
  • Farming Like We're Here to Stay by Fernando Funes-Monzote. Delivered at the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont Annual Winter Conference: https://youtu.be/Ne5HNYGIt40
  • Organic Farming: The Next Generation by Mas Masumoto. Delivered at the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) Farming Conference: https://youtu.be/kChOgyLYd78
  • Respect the Seed: Genetic Diversity by Matthew Dillon. Delivered at Eco Farm: https://youtu.be/Zc_b1YoLlBM
  • Food Justice: Challenges & Opportunities by Malik Yakini. Delivered at Eco Farm: https://youtu.be/duVs0uaPHPk

Many additional farmers, researchers, educators, and activists—like Liz Carlisle, Ricardo Salvador, K. Rashid Nuri, Eric Holt-Giménez, Donald Wyse, Fred Iutzi, and others--provided keynotes around the country to inform and inspire us as we enter the growing season.

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

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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.