August 2019

New Video: Corn Breeding Recording from the Organic Grain Conference

The 3rd Annual Organic Grain Conference, organized by the Land Connection, took place in February 2019. Over 30 presenters and panelists delivered sessions on organic grain production, marketing, transition, certification, and emerging research. Conference proceedings are available here. In addition, a recording of a presentation by corn breeder Walter Goldstein of the Mandaamin Institute is available: Nitrogen, Microbes, Roots: Breeding Corn for NItrogen Efficiency and Fixation. Find it on the eOrganic YouTube channel at The 4th annual Organic Grain Conference, will take place on February 5-6, 2020 at the I Hotel & Conference Center in Champaign, Illinois.

Organic Confluences Conference on Climate Change on September 11th

The Organic Center is partnering with the USDA, FiBL, the International Society for Organic Food and Agriculture Research (ISOFAR), and the Climate Collaborative for their annual Organic Confluences Conference on September 11, 2019 in Baltimore, MD. This year’s conference will focus on how organic can both adapt to our changing climate and be a force for climate change mitigation. We will be bringing together scientific experts, farmers, policy makers, and organic stakeholders to address the current impacts of climate change and best practices within the organic sector for mitigation and adaptation, while examining methods for encouraging the adoption of strategies for fighting climate change. Register and find out more here: A limited number of need-based scholarships are available to help with the cost of registration, contact for more information.

OFRF letters of intent due on August 16th

The Organic Farming Research Foundation Fall 2019 Request for Letters of Intent is open for 2020 grant funding and the deadline is this Friday! The program is open to all applicants residing and conducting research in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. The deadline to submit Letters of Intent (LOI) is  Friday, August 16, 2019. Successful applicants will be notified in fall 2019 and invited to submit a full proposal. Based on the 2016 National Organic Research Agenda (NORA), this year’s priority areas for research projects include soil health and weed management, organic pest management, climate change, and social science research on the barriers to organic transition. Submissions must meet one or more of the priority areas outlined in the request for letters of intent. We encourage applicants to download the report for more details.

The instructions and form are now available at Project letters of intent are reviewed and approved by the OFRF Board of Directors, most of whom are certified organic producers. Applicants invited to submit full proposals will be notified in the fall. Grant funding will be announced in spring 2020. View the instructions here.

New Free Soil Health Training Program for Organic and Transitioning Farmers

The Organic Farming Research Foundation has developed a soil health management training program for beginning farmers, existing organic farmers, and farmers in transition to organic production. The content focuses on organic specialty crop production in California. The OFRF worked with the University of California Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (UC SAREP), and the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo to develop the content, with funding from the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The self-paced program combines descriptive essays, video lectures from university faculty, and virtual field trips to demonstrate organic principles and practices.  
In total, the online training program will contain six learning modules: 1) soil health, 2) weed management, 3) irrigation and water management, 4) insect and mite management, 5) disease management, and 6) business management and marketing. The soil health module is now live and the five remaining modules will be introduced as they are completed, with the entire program available in spring 2020. Find the soil health module here.

Organic Growers Summit Registration Open

The Organic Produce Network (OPN) and California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), the Organic Grower Summit (OGS) will bring organic growers, producers and processors to Monterey for two days of education, information and networking opportunities with their production supply chain and support service providers. The event takes place on December 4-5 in Monterey, California. Find out more and register here.

Pest Management Videos from the Southeast Organic Partnership

The Southeast Organic Partnership, a multi-state NIFA OREI funded research project led at Tuskegee University dedicated to strenghthening organic farming in the southeastern US, has produced two new videos by entomologist Dr. Franklin Quarcoo on tomato hornworms and the importance of early detection for better control, and why not to kill every single pest! Find the videos and learn more about the project on their website at

Practical Farmers of Iowa Organic Weed Control Videos

The Practical Farmers of Iowa recently released a collection of videos on organic weed control, including seedbed preparation, different types cultivation equipment and adjusting them, replanting, and crop rotation. They are available as a playlist on their YouTube channel at

Brewing Beer with Naked Barley

The NIFA OREI funded Multi-use Naked Barley for Organic Systems project, which is breeding and conducting experiments in using hulless barley for food, livestock feed and brewing has published a new bulletin on brewing beer with naked barley by Joel Rea, head brewer at Corvallis Brewing Supplies. Joel created two beers which were sampled at the 2019 Oregon State University Barley Day. Although naked barley malts have not historically played much of a role in brewing because of the importance of the hull as a natural filtering agent during lautering, breweries without mash filters, and homebrewers can use them to make delicious beers! Read and download the bulletin on the project website, which also has many other recipes on cooking with naked barley.

Soil Health Practices Increase Farm Profitability

The American Farmland Trust, in partnership with the NRCS has recently released 4 case studies showing the economic and environmental benefits of increasing soil health practices. The two-page case studies focus on corn-soybean production in Illinois and Ohio, almond production in California and a diversified rotation (sweet corn, alfalfa, corn for silage or grain) in New York. The four farmers featured implemented soil health practices like no-till or strip-till, nutrient management, cover crops, compost, and mulching.All four farmers have been implementing different soil health practices over different time frames and a variety of cropping systems. With these case studies and the ones that will be released in the fall, AFT is building a diverse library of on-farm examples of soil health investments that have led to economic gain. Find them on the AFT website at

OGRAIN Compass Tool and Booklet for Organic and Transitioning Grain Growers

OGRAIN has produced a spreadsheet and tutorial booklet to help you predict and understand the long-term financial outcomes that could result from a decision to pursue organic grain production. This tool is for conventional grain producers thinking about organic production, organic grain producers looking at adding to their operation, or beginning farmers. It predicts financial results for production on a given piece of land over a ten-year planning period. These results are for the totality of the operation including impacts of cropping decisions in a proposed rotation, the cost of equipment, provision for investments to make the enterprise financially sustainable, and the full burden of overhead expenses. An accompanying booklet: "Turning Grain into Dough" outlines the considerations and steps involved in transitioning to organic grain production. Find them on the OGRAIN website here.

Organic-IPM Working Group Webinar: Decolonizing Agriculture through Indigenous Regenerative Thinking

The Organic IPM Working group is offering a webinar with Regi Haslett-Marroquin that will approach regenerative agriculture from an indigenous perspective. First we will tackle what it means to design a regenerative farming operation and exactly how a farm, a region or the ecosphere for that matter actually regenerates. Then we will explore the details of a Regenerative Poultry system that Regi engineered with teams in Guatemala, Mexico, Pine Ridge SD and Northfield MN. The webinar takes place on Tuesday, August 27th 1-2pm CDT. Regi Haslett-Marroquin is a native Guatemalan with a deep background working on economic development projects with indigenous communities. He currently lives and farms in Minnesota, is the Co-Owner and Co-Founder of Regeneration Farms LLC. and Tree-Range™ Chicken and is the author of "In the Shadow of Green Man", which recounts his journey from poverty and hunger to food security and hope. Register at

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Published October 7, 2019

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.