December 2018

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New eOrganic Articles

Creation of an Organic Vegetable Farm Manager Apprenticeship Program in Wisconsin, by Laura Jessee Livingston, Claire Strader and Julie Dawson of the University of Wisconsin. Learn about a new accredited organic vegetable farm management apprenticeship program and how it was developed in collaboration with farmers. Read the article here.

A Primer on Plant Breeding and Intellectual Property Rights in Organic Seed Systems, by Claire Luby of the University of Wisconsin, and Bryan Endres, Michelle Wander and Carmen Ugarte of the Uniersity of Illinois. Members of a NIFA OREI participatory corn breeding research project explain different types of intellectual property rights on seed varieties and how they have changed over time. Read the article here.

Simple Methods for Market Growers to Assess Culinary Quality with Consumers, by Kitt Healy and Julie Dawson of the University of Wisconsin, and Lane Selman and Alex Stone of Oregon State University. This article explains how to conduct evaluations for flavor, texture and appearance of fresh produce varieties. Market growers as well as anyone else such as researchers or plant breeders who are interested in testing varieties can learn about the methods used by the Seed to Kitchen Collaborative and the Culinary Breeding Network. Read the article here.

Grass-fed Dairy and Barley webinars in December

  • Dec. 11: Molasses as the Prime Energy Source for Grazing Dairy Cows Register
    Kathy Soder, USDA ARS. Grassfed dairy farms often seek alternative energy sources to maintain or improve cow health and productivity, and farm profitability. Molasses is one of the few energy sources allowed under grassfed labels; however, few recommendations were available for farmers. This webinar will present a summary of research from the USDA-ARS, USDA-NRCS, and the University of New Hampshire that evaluated the use of molasses in grassfed dairy systems that was conducted as a result of farmer questions regarding molasses supplementation. Thie webinar uses Zoom.

    Dec. 12: Grass-fed Dairy: Opportunities and Challenges in this Rapidly Growing Market  Register
    Heather Darby, University of Vermont; Sarah Flack, Sarah Flack Consulting. This presentation will cover the recent history and rapid growth in grass-only milk markets in the U.S. In addition, preliminary data that highlights the range of production/management systems on dairy farms in the Northeast will be presented. Finally the webinar will share goals and objectives of the newly funded NIFA OREI grant led by UVM, UNH, USDA ARS, and Tufts University to further explore grass only dairy in the U.S. This webinar uses Zoom.

    Dec. 18: Breeding Multi-use Naked Barley for Organic Systems Register
    Brigid Meints, Oregon State University. Barley is a versatile crop with three principal end-uses: feed, food, and malt. Organic barley is produced for all three uses and fetches a significant premium over conventional barley. Most of the barley grown in the United States has an adhering hull, but a small percentage of the barley grown is hull-less, or ‘naked’. Naked barley shows potential as a crop that can be used for food, feed, and malt.This webinar will cover research on naked barley applications for multiple end uses and the breeding work being done to develop multi-use naked barley for organic systems in a NIFA OREI project. This webinar uses Zoom.

Ongoing Soil Health Webinar Series in 2019

Check to make sure you have the correct dates on your calendars for all these webinars organized by the Organic Farming Research Foundation! 

Soil Health and Organic Farming Webinar Series. Description and Registration

  • January 9, 2019: ´╗┐Water Management and Water Quality
  • February 20, 2019: Nutrient Management for Crops, Soil and the Environment
  • March 20, 2019: Organic Practices for Climate Mitigation, Adaptation, and Carbon Sequestration
  • May 22, 2019: Understanding and Managing Soil Biology for Soil Health and Crop Production

Note: Even thought the registration for the above series was set up in Webex, participants will receive a Zoom link in advance of the webinar because Zoom has worked much better for participants and presenters!

Organic Farming and Soil Health in the Western U.S. Webinar Series Description and Registration

  • January 23, 2019: Practical Conservation Tillage for Western Region Organic Cropping Systems
  • February 27, 2019: Selecting and Managing Cover Crops for Organic Crop Rotations in the Western Region
  • March 27, 2019: Breeding New Cultivars for Soil-enhancing Organic Cropping Systems in the Western Region
  • April 17, 2019: Preparing for Drought: The Role of Soil Health in Water Management in Organic Production
  • May 29, 2019: Meeting Weather Challenges in the Western U.S.: Organic Practices to Mitigate and Prepare for Climate Change
  • June 12, 2019: Soil Biology for the Western Region: Organic Practices to Recruit and Nurture Beneficial Biota in the Soil 

NOFA Vermont Seeks Executive Director

The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) is seeking a dynamic and experienced professional to serve as its Executive Director to lead the organization and continue to build an inclusive and energetic tent for Vermont’s agricultural community. The Executive Director will be responsible for providing leadership and direction toward the achievement of NOFA-VT’s mission and goals; administering the operations and programs of NOFA-VT; executing the policies established by the Board of Directors; overseeing the preparation of meaningful reports reflecting the financial health of the organization; providing human resources leadership and supervising staff; and representing the goals and work of the organization to the wider community. A minimum of 5 years of nonprofit management experience is required. A Master’s Degree or equivalent work experience is highly desired. Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of the complexities and challenges within the organic food and farming industry as well as knowledge of organic farming in Vermont is a plus. More information about the position can be found at: To apply, submit a cover letter outlining qualifications for this position, resume and three references to by January 15, 2019.

Southern SAWG Seeks Executive Director

The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (Southern SAWG) is seeking to hire an entrepreneurial, visionary leader and fundraiser to serve as Executive Director. The Executive Director will be responsible for leading the organization in its work of increasing the collective power of the sustainable agriculture movement in 13 southern states by building knowledge, awareness, and community among farmers and their key partners. Find more information here and apply by December 31, 2018. 

Sign up for the Southern SAWG Conference! Pre-conference events are January 23-4, 2019, and the general conference takes place January 25-6. Find the full program and register at

New Downy Mildew Resistant Cucumber

Michael Mazourek of Cornell along with other members of the recent NIFA OREI funded Eastern Sustainable Organic Cucurbit Project developed a new downy mildew resiistant cucumber. DMR 401 offers resistance to the newest strain of cucurbit downy mildew with foliage that stands strong against the pathogen to keep producing sizable, uniform fruits. Best used in regions with heavy DM pressure, and during seasonal slots when DM is expected. The cucumber is now available from HIgh Mowing Organic Seeds. Additional improvements to this cucumber will be undertaken as part of the new NIFA OREI funded NOVIC 3 project. Find out more at

Open Access Archive Organic Eprints Seeks National Editor in the United States

Organic Eprints ( is an open, online archive for publications and dissemination of research in organic agriculture, with over 21,000 publications from 68 countries. It is hosted by the International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems (ICROFS) in Denmark. Interest in Organic Eprints is growing, with almost a hundred eprints and around 600 registered users from the U.S.. Organic Eprints would like to expand their editorial team to better cover the needs of researchers and users in the U.S., and further develop the use of Organic Eprints. The national editor should be interested in improving the dissemination of research in organic food and farming and have an interest in the online archive Organic Eprints or in open access in general. This is a volunteer position. Read more about Organic EPrints and find a position description here.

Organic Agriculture Research Forum and Organicology Conference

The 2019 Organic Agriculture Research Forum, presented in partnership with Organicology on February 16, 2019 in Portland, Oregon. The day-long forum will feature innovative presentations from researchers across all disciplines related to organic farming and food systems. The intent of the forum is to share the most current information with farmers, ranchers, extensionists, educators, agricultural professionals, and others interested in organic agriculture. Students, farmers, and researchers who would like to apply for a scholarship of up to $350 to attend the forum should email their request to no later than December 15, 2018.

Organicology is the largest gathering within the organic trade. The conference is designed by Organically Grown Company, Oregon Tilth, Sustainable Food Trade Association, and Organic Seed Alliance. The 2019 Organicology conference takes place February 14-16 at the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower in Portland, Oregon. Find out more and register for the research forum and the entire conference at

New Climate Change Guidebook

The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) released the eighth guidebook in their immensely popular Soil Health and Organic Farming Series. Organic Practices for Climate Mitigation, Adaptation, and Carbon Sequestration examines research related to the capacity of sustainable organic systems and practices to sequester soil carbon and minimize nitrous oxide and methane emissions. The guide includes practical advice for reducing an organic farm’s “carbon footprint” and adapting to climate disruptions already underway. Download the free guides here.

Soil Health Workshop in Pendleton, Oregon March 12-14

The Healthy Soil, Healthy Region Workshop is a region-wide approach to bring together agricultural professionals and producers from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho for a 3-day workshop to improve awareness of existing, new, and evolving regional soil health practices and assessment methods. The workshop will provide hands-on training on soil health practices, improve understanding of the practical barriers producers face when implementing soil health practices, and increase familiarity with tools that can be used by producers to make decisions related to soil health. We will also strive to get the various groups working on soil health in the region on the same page regarding sampling protocols, method selection, and the current state of the science. This workshop is not specific to organic techniques or producers; however, the organizer wanted to share the announcement after attending one of the Organic Farming and Soil Health in the Western Region webinars! For more information please see

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Published December 4, 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.