October 2019

Upcoming eOrganic Webinars

November 14, 2019: OGRAIN Compass: A tool to help farmers assess the financial impact of converting to organic production. The new OGRAIN Compass is a planning tool to help producers understand the financial implications, at both the crop and whole-farm level, of transitioning to organic grain production. In this webinar OGRAIN Compass developers John Hendrickson of the University of Wisconsin Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems and Jim Munsch of Deer Run Farm will explain this valuable new tool. Learn more and register at https://learn.extension.org/events/3698.

A report about the economics of transitioning to organic grain production by Paul Dietmann of Compeer Financial is also available here.

Wild Farm Alliance Resources on Supporting Beneficial Birds and Managing Pest Birds

Our recent webinar on Supporting Beneficial Birds and Managing Pest Birds took place on October 1, 2019, and the recording will be available on the eOrganic YouTube channel within the coming week. Meanwhile, you can view the resources that presenters Jo Ann Baumgartner, Sacha Heath and Sara Kross prepared, which summarizes research about wild birds and farms, and provides examples of how farmers manage birds. The free downloadable booklet Supporting Beneficial Birds and Managing Pest Birds is available here. You can find their multimedia story platform with videos and farmer success stories at bit.ly/BeneficialBirds

Find all archived eOrganic webinars and recorded conference presentations on our YouTube channel or listed here by topic.

Recently published eOrganic articles

The following articles are by the winners of our ASHS eOrganic student article competition in 2019. The winners of the competition traveled to the American Society for Horticultural Conference and presented their papers at an oral session and their articles were published on the eOrganic public website. Congratulations to Anthony Whaley of Utah State University, Tyler Mason of Colorado State University and Ben Samuelson of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln!

Featured Organic Research Project Websites

Grass-Birdsfoot Trefoil Mixtures to Improve the Sustainability of Pasture-based Organic Dairies in the Western U.S. Dairy cattle raised according to National Organic Program requirements must be managed on pasture and graze daily throught the growing season, so it can be both challenging and costly for organic producers to develop heifers so that they are ready for breeding within 15 months. Two research projects, funded by NIFA OREI and Western SARE seek to develop an exclusively forage-based, organic system for dairy heifer development, and then to inspire widespread adoption of these practices. Findings and webinars from the project will be available from eOrganic and announced in this newsletter as the projects progress. Learn more at https://eorganic.info/dairyforages

CREEP Stop: Organic Control of Canada Thistle and Field Bindweed in the Northern Great Plains and Pacific Northwest Regions.  The goal of this project, led by Pat Carr of Montana State University and many collaborators in the Northern Great Plains and Pacific Northwest, is to enhance the economic and environmental sustainability of organic crop farming in these regions by developing integrated weed management approaches for effective suppression and control of Canada thistle and field bindweed.As the project progresses, eOrganic will be posting articles and conducting webinars about the findings and announcing them in this newsletter. Learn more about the project objectives at https://eorganic.info/creepstop.

Call for Abstracts: Southeast Organic Agriculture Research Forum at SSAWG

The Organic Farming Research Foundation and Tuskegee University will hold the 2020 Organic Agriculture Research Forum (OARF) in partnership with the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) on Thursday, January 23, 2020 in Little Rock, Arkansas, as part of the 2020 SSAWG Conference. It will feature oral presentations, facilitated round table discussions, and a joint poster session with SSAWG. Presenters are invited to submit abstracts for the forum. The deadline for submissions is October 18, 2019. Abstracts should be sent to haley@ofrf.org. The file name needs to be in the following format: "Last Name_AbstractYEAR". Applicants with questions about the forum can call OFRF at 831-426-6606, and you can learn more about the forum, the topics of interest, the format and word limit of the abstracts,  and the partnering institutions here.

Organic-IPM working group webinars

October 9, 1-2 PM CDT, Gabe Brown, “From Dirt to Soil”. Register here.
Gabe Brown will share his approach to soil-building on his 5,000 acre farm in Bismarck, North Dakota that led him to be one of the pioneers of the current soil-focused, regenerative agriculture movement. Watch his TEDx talk on his common-sense solution to common sense solution to the problems posed by unsustainable land use and industrial agriculture here.

November 12, 2-3 PM CST, Lane Selman, “Culinary Breeding Network: building community among breeders, farmers, chefs, retailers & eaters to create better varieties for all”. Register here.
Lane Selman will speak on her efforts to build a community of plant breeders, seed growers, farmers, produce buyers, chefs and other stakeholders to improve quality in vegetables and grains. Lane’s work has been previously featured in Food & Wine, The Wall Street Journal, Civil Eats, Food Tank, The New York Times and Eating Well.

Organic Seed Summits in the Midwest and South in October and November

Upper Midwest Seed Summit

The Organic Seed Alliance, in partnership with Seed to Kitchen Collaborative at University of Wisconsin–Madison, is hosting an Upper Midwest Seed Summit October 17-18, 2019, at the Goodman Community Center in Madison, WI. This one and a half day gathering will bring together regional seed leaders to learn, connect, and identify opportunities to advance the regional organic seed system in the Upper Midwest.

The retreat-style gathering will include famers, seed-growers, on-farm plant breeders, researchers and regional seed company representatives. The goals are to learn from each other, lay the foundation for grassroots collaboration and identify shared priorities for future regional seed work.

Space is limited. If you’re interested in participating, please email Kitt Healy at kitt@seedalliance.org.

Southeast Seed Summit

Save the date to join the Organic Seed Alliance for the Southeast Organic Seed Summit at the Sustainable Agriculture Conference November 1-3, 2019 in Durham, North Carolina. They are partnering with the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association to host the Southeast Seed Summit as part of their annual conference. We’ll come together for three days of learning, touring, strategizing, and celebrating the growing organic seed movement in the southeast. Learn more

Organic Center publishes results of 2018 Organic Confluences Summit on Knowledge Transfer in Organic

The 2018 Confluences Conference, organized by the Organic Center, looked at innovative organic extension programs that have been a success, as well as challenges that past programs have faced. The following white paper provides the information presented at the Summit and summarizes the challenges and recommendations identified by the participants. Download the white paper here

NIFA Announces 2019 OREI and ORG Awards

NIFA Invests $24.1 Million to Help Boost Organic Farming and Ranching.They recently announced 30 grants that support farmers and ranchers grow and market high quality organic food, fiber, and other products through the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) and Organic Transitions Program (ORG). Nineteen OREI grants totaling $18.8 million helps fund research, education, and extension projects to improve yields, quality, and profitability for producers and processors who have adopted organic standards. Eleven ORG grants totaling $5.3 million support research, education, and extension efforts to help existing and transitioning organic livestock and crop producers adopt organic practices and improve their market competitiveness.

eOrganic is pleased to have been awarded an OREI grant for 2 student article competitions in 2020 at the ASHS and Tri-Societies Conferences: Developing the Next Generation of Organic Agricultural Researchers: Student Article Competitions and Oral Sessions. We will be announcing more about these competitions in our November newsletter, so stay tuned! We congratulate all the awardees and are very excited to be partnering with the following ORG and OREI projects to help bring you the findings of their research

  • Management Techniques to Optimize Soil PH and Nutrient Availability in Organic Highbush Blueberry Grown East of the Cascade Range, led by Scott Lukas of Oregon State University.
  • Balancing Soil Nutrition for Sustainable Weed and Pest-Insect Management, led by William Snyder of the University of Georgia.
  • Northern Organic Vegetable Improvement Collaborative 3, led by Jim Myers of Oregon State University.
  • Tomato Organic Management and Improvement (TOMI): Part II, led by Lori Hoagland of Purdue University
  • A Systems Approach to Improve Quality and Shelf Life of Organic Dairy Products for Domestic and Export Markets, led by Martin Wiedmann of Cornell University.
  • Planning Proposal: Value-Added Grains for Local and Regional Food Systems II, led by Mark Sorrells of Cornell University.

October 29: OTA Webinar: A Look at the Landscape of Technical Assistance Programs for Organic Growers

The Organic Trade Association is conducting a webinar on October 29 by Mark Lipson, who was the Department of Agriculture’s first organic policy adviser (2010 to 2014), He conducted an assessment of the current landscape of organic technical assistance programs, and evaluated them for GRO Organic's goals of scalability, regional diversity, and crop/product/system diversity. Learn more about the key findings of the research, opportunities to improve organic technical assistance programs moving forward. Presenters include Johanna Mirenda, Farm Policy Director, Organic Trade Association; Mark Lipson, former USDA Organic Policy Advisor, staff affiliate with UC Santa Cruz-Center for Agroecology; Jan M. Perez, Evaluation Specialist of Food Systems Programs. Find out more and register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8729550979348200717?source=Web...

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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.