Organic Seed Production Six Webinar Series 2017

For the second year in a row, the Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) and the Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA) are presenting a series of six webinars on organic seed production. The webinars cover everything from planting to harvest, to the economics of seed production. The series is part of an organic seed internship program organized by OSA and MESA, but the free webinars are open to everyone. Advance registration is required--registering just once will allow you to attend all the webinars. The series will cover the same topics as the 2016 series, but whether or not you attended last year, you are welcome to join and type in questions for the presenters. Starting on May 16th, there will be one webinar  each month through October at 2PM Eastern, 1PM Central, 12PM Mountain and 11AM Pacific Time, except the JUly one which will take place at 1230 Eastern . Dates are:

  • May 16
  • June 20
  • July 18
  • August 15
  • Sept 19
  • Oct 27 (new date)

Register for the 2017 Organic Seed Production Webinar Series at:

If you would prefer to watch the recordings from the 2016 series, they are available along with additional resources in at the following links:

Find out more about the organic seed internship program at


Tue, May 16, 2017: Introduction and Crop Planning 

  • Which crops should I grow?
  • Field planning
  • Recordkeeping

Slide handout

Tue, Jun 20, 2017: Trials and Selection

Conducting on-farm variety trials is a valuable investment of time and resources to ensure you are planting the best crop, variety and stock seed source for production of your seed crop. Field selection or roguing of a seed crop throughout the production cycle can further refine and improve the quality and performance of a variety or population. This webinar will cover the basics of conducting on-farm variety trials including sourcing germplasm, field plot design, trial evaluation, and making sense of the data. Presenters will also cover basics of field selection or roguing to improve performance of open pollinated seed crops.

Slide handout

Tue, Jul 18, 2017: Diseases and Pests

Management of disease and pests in seed crops can be even more critical than in food production. Seed crops may encounter disease and pests unique to the plant reproductive phase and avoidance of certain seed borne diseases is critical for seed quality. Seed crops are a long season crop, often growing over twice as long and twice the size of a food crop, requiring additional management practices to reduce pests and diseases. This webinar will cover basic field practices for avoiding diseases and pests in seed production and post harvest. Presenters will also provide guidance on prevention, testing and treatment for seed borne diseases in organic seed production.

Slide handout

Tue, Aug 15, 2017: Seed Quality, Harvesting and Equipment

Deciding when and how to harvest seed can be one of the most tenuous steps that will ultimately impact the yield and quality of your seed crop. This webinar will cover basic principles for determining the optimum timing of harvest and guidance on how to harvest either by hand or with equipment. Presenters will also cover tips and tools for preliminary threshing and drying post harvest and addressing inclement weather during the harvest process. The recording below features John de Rosier of With the Grain Farm. The other scheduled presenter was unable to speak due to technical difficulties, so we recommend that you also watch the 2016 Seed Harvesting presentation which is available here:  

Tue, Sep 19, 2017: Seed Cleaning and Recordkeeping

Cleaning seed can be either gratifying or frustrating depending on your knowledge, equipment, and space for handling seed. This workshop will cover the basics of cleaning wet and dry seed by hand or with small to large-scale equipment. Farmer participants will share their seed cleaning tricks, tools and facilities and engage in trouble shooting questions with participants. Tips and resources for record keeping will help ensure seed lots are in order at the end of the season and you can recall cleaning methods in future years.

Tue, Oct 27, 2017: Seed Policy

The State of Organic Seed: Join Organic Seed Alliance’s Kiki Hubbard for an overview of the organic seed market and organic seed policy. The organic seed trade was nearly nonexistent when the National Organic Program was established in 2002. Though we’ve made much progress in increasing the availability of organic seed for U.S. growers, the supply still doesn’t fully meet the diverse and regional needs of all operations. This webinar will provide a brief overview of findings from OSA’s most recent report and discuss the role policy plays in supporting organic seed systems. Participants will receive an update on current organic seed policy discussions within the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and broader organic community, including a 2017 NOSB proposal to update the organic seed regulation and strengthen guidance for certifiers.

Note: This description has changed from the orginal, which included seed contracting and economics. To view a presentation on that topic, please go here: which has the archived presentation from 2016.

Additional Resources  

Funding for this program is provided by the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.

Published May 12, 2017

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.