August 2021

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New eOrganic Articles

New Webinar on Organic Management of Canada Thistle and Field Bindweed

Join eOrganic for a webinar that will focus on the difficult task of managing Canada thistle and field bindweed in organic cropping systems using integrated management strategies. Researchers Pat Carr, Tim Seipel and Jed Eberly from Montana State University will report on how crop rotations, tillage, and biocontrol can be used in organic systems to reduce these perennial weeds. The webinar will take place on October 13, 2021 at 11AM Pacific, 12PM Mountain, 1PM Central and 2PM Eastern Time. It's free and open to the public, and advance registration is required. Funding for the webinar is provided by NIFA OREI as part of the CREEP Stop Project. Register now at https://oregonstate.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_zF2BSWd-Q8KBrzVOXFjzfw

September 1: Webinar on Reducing Food Waste in the Dairy Industry

Cornell University resarchers are developing approaches to reducing food waste in dairy production. This webinar will provide an overview of the project scope and objectives, which include (i) development of predictive spoilage models; (ii) use of what-if scenarios to predict impacts of different food spoilage interventions, (iii) efforts to assess the value of extended product shelf life; as well as (iv) consumer acceptance of digital tools and other approaches for managing food spoilage. A key goal of this webinar is to engage with attendees and allow them to (i) provide feedback on project scope and objectives, (ii) suggest research approaches and directions, and to (iii) explore opportunities to engage with the multidisciplinary research team on related research in dairy and other commodities. Martin Wiedmann of Cornell University will present the webinar, and the project is supported by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR). Register at https://cornell.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMocOyhqjouE91HJE4oWxZt4ZHwRzLQRU_0

September 1 Midwest Regional Seeds Field Day

Learn how seed saving farmers make selections to improve or maintain crop varieties, and how working with seed companies and universities can strengthen your farm operation. Topics and demonstrations will include regionally specific seed saving techniques, useful tools for both small-scale and wholesale seed growers, and more to be determined. See how regionally adapted seed varieties are bred by and for organic farmers. Hosted by Organic Seed Alliance and Greg Reynolds of Riverbend Farm, in collaboration with Koby Jeshkeit-Hagen of Seed Sages, and Dr. Julie Dawson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This field day is being offered in-person and free of charge, though pre-registration is required. Click here to register. Not in the area or prefer to watch online? No problem, we’ll come to you! Join us live on Instagram at 4:00, 5:00 and 6:00 pm CDT for virtual tours of the farm and to chat with presenters and participants during the event. Follow OSA on Instagram @organic_seed_alliance and turn on notifications for live videos so you don’t miss it! Questions? Contact Michael Lordon.

Organic Seed Alliance Annual Report

eOrganic has been lucky to have had many opportunities to collaborate with the dedicated team at the Organic Seed Alliance, to a presentations from Organic Seed Growers Conferences, conduct webinars on organic seed production, publish the Organic Seed Production Guide and online toolkits and variety trials, and collaborate on research projects. The Organic Seed Alliance just published their annual report, which highlights their educational, plant breeding, and advocacy work--as well as their donations to communities and classrooms during the past pandemic year. Download the report at https://seedalliance.org/2021/our-2020-annual-report/

New PASA Report on Financial Benchmarks for Direct-Market Vegetable Farms

The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture studied 39 farms over the past 3 years to find out whether direct-market vegetable farmers can make a middle-class income. Participating farms were located in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia, and most produced fewer than 15 acres of vegetables; the largest had approximately farms 100 acres in vegetable production. Find a summary of the report's findings here, and read the full report here.

Organic Certification Cost Share Funds Available

Organic producers and handlers can now apply for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funds to assist with the cost of receiving or maintaining organic certification. Applications for the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP) are due Nov. 1, 2021. OCCSP provides cost-share assistance to producers and handlers of agricultural products for the costs of obtaining or maintaining organic certification under the USDA’s National Organic Program. Eligible producers include any certified producers or handlers who have paid organic certification fees to a USDA-accredited certifying agent during the 2021 and any subsequent program year. Producers can be reimbursed for expenses made between Oct. 1, 2020 and Sept. 30, 2021 including application fees, inspection costs, fees related to equivalency agreement and arrangement requirements, travel expenses for inspectors, user fees, sales assessments and postage. For 2021, OCCSP will reimburse 50% of a certified operation’s allowable certification costs, up to a maximum of $500 for each of the following categories (or “scopes”):  

  • crops  
  • wild crops  
  • livestock  
  • processing/handling  
  • State organic program fees

Producers and handlers may submit OCCSP applications to Farm Service Agency county offices or they may apply through participating state agencies. To apply through FSA, you can find an FSA county office near you with the Service Center Locator. The FSA OCCSP application form is available at USDA's eForms site, by selecting "Browse forms" and entering "OCCSP" in the "title or keywords" field on the search page. To apply through State agencies, see the list here. State agencies may have a different application process than FSA; applicants should refer to their State agency's requirements and ensure they are using the correct application form.

Western SARE Announces Calls for Proposals

Western SARE has announced four calls for Proposals. Visit their website for information on how to apply.
Farmer/Rancher:
With the support and guidance of a technical advisor, farmers and ranchers will integrate research and education to conduct on-site/on-farm experiments to improve production, marketing, and the environment. Due November 1, 2021.
Professional + Producer
This grant program involves agricultural professional in collaboration with producers implementing projects to address identified needs in sustainable agriculture. Due November 3, 2021.
Professional Development

This grant program focuses on training agricultural professionals to help them spread knowledge about sustainable agriculture concepts and practices. Due November 10, 2021.
Research to Grassroots
RGR projects take the research results from previously funded SARE projects and bring those results into the field through education to ag professionals and producers. Due November 17, 2021.
The Sabbatical Research and Education Call for Proposals is also still open.
Find out more at https://western.sare.org/Grants/

New Legal Factsheets on the Food Safety Modernization Act

The Northeast Center to Advance Food Safety at the University of Vermont and the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School developed legal educational factsheets as an output of their joint project, the Extension Legal Services Initiative. Intended for educators, service providers and producers, their fact sheets discuss, for example, how the Produce Safety Rule interacts with other laws, understanding what rules apply to food hubs, legal liability in the event of foodborne illness, and the answers to many other legal questions. Find the fact sheets at https://elsi.necafs.org/

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 http://eorganic.info

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Published August 24, 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.