September 2018

New eOrganic articles

In August, eOrganic sponsored a student article competition for a planned oral session at the American Horticultural Society Conference The students presented their research at the session, and their articles were peer reviewed and checked for organic certification compliance, Three of these articles are now available on our public website, and two more will appear in our October newsletter issue:

Solarization and Tarping for Weed Management on Organic Vegetable Farms in the Northeast USA, submitted by Sonja Birthisel of the University of Maine. Learn about the results of a study on solarization and tarping to reduce weed pressure, the differences between these techniques, and some tips for increased effectiveness.

Reusable Black Tarps Suppress Weeds and Make Organic Reduced Tillage More Viable, submitted by Haley Rylander of Cornell University.  The use of black, impermeable, plastic tarps placed on the soil surface prior to planting could reduce weed pressure, decompose crop residue, and preserve prepared soil for several weeks. This article assesses the potential uses of tarps in organic vegetable systems to reduce or even replace tillage by controlling weeds and decomposing crop residue.

How to Use Paper Bags to Protect Organic Peaches from Insects and Diseases in the Southeastern United States, submitted by David Campbell of the University of Florida. Researchers in the southeastern United States are currently evaluating bagging as a potential pest and disease management technique. Learn how the technique works with a description of the study, photos and a short video.

New eOrganic research project websites

Participatory Breeding and Testing Networks: A Maize Based Case Study for Organic Systems. This NIFA-OREI project is a collaboration between plant breeders and researchers from the University of Illinois, independent plant breeders from Wisconsin and Illinois, farmers across the Midwest region, processors and contractors, as well as end users to improve cultivars for organic corn farmers. The project members are also interested in increasing their understanding of how management and site specific factors influence crop fitness and grain quality and how plant-soil interactions influence crop performance, nitrogen use efficiency and weed competitiveness.Learn about their project at which stands for Corn And Soil Health.

Strengthening Organic Farming in the Southeast. This NIFA-OREI project, led at Tuskegee University aims to facilitate the development of a vibrant organic farming industry in the Southeast. The project partnership is working with collaborators at North Carolina State University, Mississippi State University, Auburn University and the Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network as well as participating farmers to conduct multi-state on-farm trials of southern pea, sweet potato, tomato and squash, develop pest management recommendations, educate consumers on the benefits of organic production, and create educational tools for cooperative extension personnel, consumers, and agricultural professionals. Lean more at the group has been holding "lunchbox" meetings for the last few months, and posting recordings on their YouTube channel, for example the most recent one by Casey Barickman of Mississippi State University about the benefits of cover crops and which ones have done well in his trials.

Carolina Farm Stewardship Association Resources for Hurricane Florence

The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association has posted a list of resources for farmers in North and South Carolina affected by Hurricane Florence.on storm cleanup, animal relocation, flooding, shelters and more. Find them at Additional resources have been posted by the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) at

New reduced tillage handbook available

The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program has provided a 108-page handbook from their recent field day on reduced tillage on their website, which is filled with information on reduced tillage tools, research and experience based information on soil health, compaction, zone tillage, and roller crimpers. The field day was was a collaboration of the Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture Cornell Cooperative Extension team, Willsboro Research Farm, North Country Regional Ag CCE team, CCE Essex, Cornell Small Farms program, NYS IPM program, University of Vermont, and Champlain Basin Program. Expert guest speakers included Jean-Paul Cortens of Roxbury Farm and Jack Lazor of Butterworks Farm. Find the handbook at

Hops power hour recordings available

The University of Vermont Extension Northwest Crops & Soils (NWCS) Team has been working on a Northeast on our NE-SARE funded project to advance pest and nutrient management strategies for Northeast hop production. Recordings of their Hops Power Hour webinars are now available at the UVM Northwest Crops & Soils YouTube channel along with many other recordings on small grains and other crops. Find them at

Organic Carrot Breeding Intensive in Washington

Organic Seed Alliance and special guest Dr. Phil Simon from USDA-ARS and University of Wisconsin-Madison will host a daylong intensive on breeding carrots in organic systems for resilience and flavor this October in Chimacum, Washington. Dr. Simon leads the Carrot Improvement for Organic Agriculture (CIOA) project and will join OSA’s Micaela Colley and Laurie McKenzie to share insights, knowledge, and experience in breeding carrots for organic systems from seed to root. Come learn about carrot history and genetics, pollination requirements and population maintenance, and conducting breeding projects with hybrid and open-pollinated carrots. Participants in this daylong intensive will get hands-on experience with seed cleaning, root selections, and quality evaluations.

The workshop will be held on October 9th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at OSA’s Research Farm at Finnriver Farm & Cidery located at 124 Center Road in Chimacum, Washington. The training is intended for farmers, seed producers, and agricultural students with basic knowledge of crop and seed biology. The event is being offered free of charge and includes lunch. We encourage participants to review materials from OSA’s publication library prior to the training.

This event is made possible thanks to funding from the Sustainable Path Foundation and an Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) grant, part of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Award # 2016-51300-25721: CIOA 2 – Carrot Improvement for Organic Agriculture With Added Growers and Consumer Value. Register at:

NOSB Fall 2018 Meeting and Comment Opportunity

The National Organic Standards Board will meet on October 24, 2018 in St. Paul, Minnesota to discuss: substances petitioned for addition to or deletion from the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List), substances due to sunset from the National List in 2020, and guidance on organic policies. The specific proposals and materials which will be discussed are available here, and include topics such as organic inspector training and oversight, genetic integrity transparency of seed grown on organic land, and organic research priorities. The public can submit written comments and/or provide oral comments at its Fall 2018 meeting in St. Paul, Minnesota.  The comment period will close on October 4, 2018. Please note: In order to be considered during the Fall 2018 meeting, written public comments or requests for oral comment speaking slots must be received by 11:59 p.m. October 4, 2018. Written comments must be submitted here. Register for in-person comments here. The NOSB will also be holding 2 webinars on October 16 and 18 from 1-4PM Eastern Time: you can register to submit a comment at the webinars here, also by October 4 at 11:59 PM. Additional information and contact information can be found here

Publicize Your Organic Research in the eOrganic Newsletter

Our newsletter reaches approximately 12,000 subscribers, many of whom are actively involved in organic production, research, education and agricultural services. Our goal is to foster information sharing within the organic research and outreach community, so if you have organic farming research and extension publications that are publicly available, that you would like to share with a wider audience please let us know. We also publish articles on our public website at and videos on our YouTube channel that are peer reviewed and checked for organic certification compliance. If you are interested in submitting an article, please contact us

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Published September 19, 2018

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.