March 2021

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Growing Organic Tomato Seed: A How-To Virtual Training

TomatoJoin us for a webinar on how to produce high-quality tomato seed for your own farm or for sale! Laurie McKenzie and Jared Zystro of the Organic Seed Alliance, along with Dan Egel of Purdue University, are participants in the NIFA OREI funded Tomato Organic Management and Improvement Project (TOMI). They will lead a virtual training on the how-tos of organic tomato seed production. The webinar will cover tomato biology, climatic requirements, genetic maintenance, disease management, and how to harvest and store tomato seed. The webinar takes place on April 20, 2021 at 12PM Pacific Time, 1PM Mountain, 2PM Central, 3PM Eastern Time. It's free and open to the public, and advance registration is required. Register now at

New Tomato Seed Production Guide

The Organic Seed Alliance and their Tomato Organic Management and Improvement Project (TOMI) partners have released a new guide to help growers produce organic tomato seed. The Tomato Seed Production Guide includes a background on the history of tomatoes, the various types and fruit colors, as well as the. tomato lifecycle and biology. Readers will find details about growing tomato seed, including climatic requirements, maintaining genetics and population size, isolation requirements, and criteria for selecting desired traits. The guide walks growers through harvest techniques, cleaning methods, and how to store seed to keep it viable. Finally, this guide serves as a go-to resource for learning about important seedborne diseases of tomato seed crops, including bacterial, fungal, and viral diseases, and methods for treating them. Download the guide at

April 14th Webinar on Naked Barley Breeding

Buck BarleyOn April 14th, we'll be hosting a new webinar on Progress on Organic Naked Barley Breeding: Exploration of Organic Breeding Traits, presented by Karl Kunze of Cornell University. Karl will be discussing the Multi-use Organic Naked Barley project, which is breeding naked or hull-less varieties for food, malting and feed. Both winter and spring variety trials have been conducted at research universities in New York, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Oregon and California. The goal of the webinar is to present some of our research and trial findings as well as some practical experience learned from growing organic naked barley for this project. Additionally,we will discuss utilizing aerial imaging technology to measure components of weed competitive ability in organic spring barley. Register now at

New eOrganic Articles: Soilborne Diseases in Dry Beans,  Dairy Cow Microbiome Research

These articles were by two of the winners of our 2020 graduate student article competition, who presented at an oral session at the virtual Soil Science Societies conference in 2020 with funding from a NIFA OREI grant. 

Understanding and Managing Seedborne Pathogens in Organic Dry Bean Systems, by Kristen Loria of Cornell University. This useful guide describes major seedborne diseases of dry beans, and outlines management strategies for growers to reduce risk. It also includes information on disease resistant varieties. Read the article at

What is the Microbiome and Why is it Important for Organic Livestock Production?, by Chris Dean, Felipe Pena Mosca, Tui Ray, Bradley Heins, Luciano Caixeta and Noelle Noyes of the University of Minnesota; Pablo Pinedo of Colorado State University and Vinicius Machado at Texas Tech University. This article describes an ongoing NIFA OREI research project which is investigating the dairy microbiome with the goal of finding alternatives to antibiotics for mastits in dairy cows. Read the article at

March 30: A Listening Session for Organic Certifiers and Inspectors

Organic certifiers and inspectors are invited to a listening session on March 30th, 2021 titled: Improving the Organic Seed Search: A Listening Session for Organic Certifiers & Inspectors. In this session, SeedLinked, Organic Seed Alliance, and Dr. Julie Dawson at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will be gathering input from organic certifiers and inspectors on the challenges of enforcing the organic seed requirement for the purpose of effectively building an organic seed search tool that addresses the needs of both certifiers and producers. There will be a short presentation of the developing SeedLinked platform followed by input and questions. This event is only for organic certifiers and inspectors who work for an accredited certifying agency. The 1.5 hour event will take place  at 12p PT / 1p MT / 2p CT / 3p ET. Register now at

Save the Date: Grains Week! May 3-7, 2021

Grains week logoWe're getting excited about grains week! This free, virtual event is the result of a partnership between the Culinary Breeding Network, WSU Food Systems, Cascadia Grains, GrowNYC, Oregon State University and the Artisan Grain Collaborative and eOrganic. This event is partially funded by 2 USDA NIFA OREI projects: Value-added Grains for Local and Regional Food Systems and Breeding Multi-use Naked Barley for Organic Systems


At the event:
* Farmers, ag professionals, and academics can hear research updates, learn about grain production for artisan breads, cereals for animal feeds, brewing and distilling, and more.
* Professionals, home bakers, and consumers can get an inside look into grain quality, accessing specialty and/or small grains, and interact with a community of passionate chefs, bakers, and grain-lovers.
* Brewers, distillers, and maltsters can connect with industry professionals to get the latest information on using grains in value-added production, as well as getting access to specialty regional grains.
* Investors, brokers & local government officials get the scoop on rising investment and policy opportunities.

Webinar Recordings Available

In case you missed any of our recent webinars on the latest research on the organic management of spotted wing drosophila, or biocontrol of tomato and squash in the Southeastern US, you can find recordings of those webinars, as well as many more presentations and videos on organic farming and research on the eOrganic Youtube channel at

eOrganic Mission and Resources

eOrganic is a web community where organic agriculture farmers, researchers, and educators network; exchange objective, research- and experience-based information; learn together; and communicate regionally, nationally, and internationally. If you have expertise in organic agriculture and would like to develop U.S. certified organic agriculture information, join us at

eOrganic Resources

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Published March 23, 2021

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.