June 2010

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The National Online Information, Training and Networking System for Organic Agriculture

In this Issue

New Late Blight Management on Organic Farms Webinar on July 1st
Our revamped newsletter system
The eWord is getting around!
Webinars: How Did We Do?
Featured Project Group: NOVIC

New Late Blight Management on Organic Farms Webinar on July 1st

Late blight reached epidemic proportions on U.S. farms in 2009. Join eOrganic presenters Dr. Sally Miller of Ohio State University and Dr. Meg McGrath of Cornell University for a new Webinar to learn about the state of late blight in 2010, the late blight disease cycle, how to scout and diagnose the disease, and how to manage late blight on your organic farm. The Webinar will take place on Thursday, July 1st at 8PM Eastern Time (7PM Central, 6PM Mountain, 5PM Pacific). Space is limited. Advance registration required at http://www.extension.org/article/28346.

Our Revamped Newsletter System

notebookeOrganic has changed the way we are handling newsletters. The old eOrganic Updates is now going to have a general public focus, while a new newsletter is being started specifically for the Community of Practice. All eOrganic.info members will be subscribed to both automatically at the beginning. You can change your subscription settings at any time from your profile page. This short help article will walk you through the process, there's even a step-by-step video included. Thanks to the eOrganic Workspace and Outreach Committees for putting this in place.

The eWord is Getting Around!

In March, 2010, eOrganic had record traffic to our public Website at http://www.extension.org/organic_production. We logged over 38,000 hits to our content in March which is 10,000 more than in January 2010, which was the month with the second highest number of hits. We think this is due to the popularity of our Winter webinar series. Thanks to everyone who participated in that program.

In May, articles about tomatoes and late blight were our most popular. Here are some links to articles that you can use in your work:

Training Systems and Pruning in Organic Tomato Production - http://www.extension.org/article/18647
Organic Management of Late Blight of Potato and Tomato with Copper Products - http://www.extension.org/article/18351

Webinars: How Did We Do?

Our final Spring Webinar was Louise Jackson's Increasing Soil and Plant Biodiversity on Organic Farmscapes. If you missed this or any of our 18 Webinar presentations, you can watch them all on our Archived Webinar page at http://www.extension.org/article/24989. Of the participants who filled out our post-Webinar evaluation survey, feedback  was overwhelmingly positive. 88% of respondents said that the webinar significantly or moderately improved their understanding of the topic, 86% said they would use the information in their work "a lot' or 'somewhat", 87% said the technical level of the presentation was "just right", 94% would recommend it to others with 6% saying they might recommend it. 84% said access to the presentation was "very easy", and 10% said it was "somewhat easy".The Webinar on the New Organic Pasture Rule, presented by Kerry Smith of the USDA NOP,  was broadcast live to 39 attendees of  the Western Grazing Conference in Chico, CA, and a focus group evaluation was conducted immediately following the presentation. Participants enjoyed the opportunity to view discuss the presentation as a group, as well as have the option to view it anytime from their homes. Their questions about the pasture rule will be addressed in future Webinars and articles by the eOrganic Dairy Group, which recently was awarded an OREI grant for the coming year. Links to the full Webinar evaluation reports can be found here. The eOrganic Vegetable Disease Management Group is planning several Webinars on Late Blight this summer, and the Vegetable Production Systems Group plans to present a Webinar series on Food Safety in the fall.  If you'd be interested in presenting a Webinar on your current projects or your area of expertise, please contact Alice Formiga at formigaa@hort.oregonstate.edu.

Featured Project Group: NOVIC

NOVIC, or the Northern Organic Vegetable Improvement Collaborative, is a multi-state network devoted to developing improved organic vegetable varieties that are adapted to organic systems, and making seeds of these varieties available to organic growers. Funded by NIFA, NOVIC is led by Jim Myers of Oregon State University, and is a collaborative project of vegetable breeders at the Oregon State University Department of Horticulture, the University of Wisconsin Department of Agronomy, Cornell University Department of Plant Breeding, as well as the non-profit Organic Seed Alliance, and the USDA-ARS Plant Genetics Resources Unit in Geneva, NY. NOVIC aims to increase compliance of organic growers with National Organic Program rules requiring the use of organic seeds by providing varieties with traits identified as advantageous by organic growers, such as disease resistance and  superior nutritional and flavor quality.  Breeding efforts are focused on five crops: broccoli, carrot, snap pea, sweet corn and winter squash.  Season extension is the overall theme of the NOVIC breeding effort. In broccoli and snap pea, this translates into breeding for heat tolerance; in sweet corn, early season cool soil germination is the target; for carrots, breeding efforts focus on developing a Nantes type with weed competitive top growth and suitable for production in a March harvest period in the Pacific Northwest; finally, the breeding effort in winter squash is geared to developing butternut types with longer storage life. All of the breeding projects use a farmer participatory approach with university researchers mentoring and working with farmer breeders.

In conjunction with the breeding programs, trials are being conducted on certified organic ground at research stations, as well as on participating organic farms.  In addition to providing a venue for trialing breeding lines generated by the various breeding programs, the trials are designed to test and identify currently released varieties of the five crop types that may show adaptation to organic systems.  A mother-daughter trial design will be used to integrate performance data from on station and on farm trials. Field days and workshops are planned in the main regions this summer and fall.  The workshop “Fundamentals of plant breeding” will be held at the Common Ground Farm, Olympia WA on June 16-17.

Research and outreach groups can make use of eOrganic to collaboratively manage, discuss, document and report on projects in one location.  As part of the outreach component of NOVIC, the group is using eOrganic to create and publish a relational database of all published organic variety trial results. This database will be used to advise organic farmers and researchers, facilitate the identification of needs and resources in plant improvement for organic systems and gain insight into the factors that are common to organic systems that influence varietal adaptation. Currently, NOVIC members use the eOrganic workspace to view, edit, and comment on shared documents relating to field trials, database planning, and proposal information. If you are interested in learning more about how to use eOrganic.info to manage your Research and Outreach group, contact John McQueen at mcqueenj@hort.oregonstate.edu.

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bullhornIf you would like eOrganic literature to hand out at your next conference/workshop/house party, please get in touch. We have bookmarks, factsheets, brochures, and even displays you can use! Use our online form to request materials

Research-Outreach Groups

eOrganic.info (eOrganic's collaborative workspace) provides space and support for the work of organic research/outreach project groups. These groups can be lab groups, project groups (e.g. SARE and NIFA OREI projects), and even graduate courses! All group members can become members of eOrganic.info and participate actively in groups, including farmers, agricultural professionals, students, and non-profit staff. The workspace allows groups to share files and images, make decisions (forums), and collaborate on outreach materials, proposals and manuscripts. Groups are also beginning to use eOrganic's web conferencing tools to hold virtual seminars and field tours. If you are interested in learning more about how to use eOrganic.info to manage your group, contact John McQueen.

eOrganic Mission

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.

Contact us!

If you are working on something related to eOrganic and would like others in the eOrganic community to know about it, if you would like to find other people to start a new eOrganic initiative, or you have other related needs, please let us know!  We can include your ideas/news in the next newsletter.  Submissions to the newsletter are due by the end of each month; send your submission to Alice Formiga

Ask an Expert

Reach out beyond state lines and answer questions through eXtension's Ask an Expert System. The eOrganic Community of Practice answered c. 40 questions during the past month on topics ranging from pressure-treated lumber to aphids in greenhouses. To get started answering Ask an Expert Questions, read this eOrganic article.

eOrganic Training Events in June

Trainings on how to use the eOrganic workspace are open for any eOrganic member. No RSVP is required. Follow these links to attend a session with John McQueen at the time specified:

eOrganic 101: June 22 2010 06/22/2010 - 09:00 Pacific Time

eOrganic 201: June 29 2010 06/29/2010 - 09:00 Pacific Time



Published August 23, 2011

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.