Extension

Evaluating Soil Protein as a New Soil Health Indicator

Predicting the capacity of soil to supply nitrogen is an ongoing challenge in organic farming. Simple and affordable soil tests that can predict organic nutrient release are of particular interest for organic farmers, because organic farming exclusively relies on this microbially-driven process for crop nutrition. Emerging soil health measurements can shed insight into organic nutrient mineralization, offering organic farmers a better nutrient management tool.

Corn Earworm Management: A Survey of Organic Sweet Corn Growers

The objectives of this project are to attain information about the corn earworm management strategies of organic sweet corn growers. This information will be used to achieve two outcomes: creation of an extension publication about corn earworm management strategies, aimed at organic farmers, and collection of data that will inform longer-term efforts of developing earworm-resistant sweet corn cultivars for organic farmers.

Evaluation of Organic Strawberry Transplants for Organic Strawberry Production

Conventional strawberry nurseries that fumigate soils with methyl bromide and other synthetic chemicals prior to propagation are currently the main source of transplants for both conventional and organic production systems. While many organic strawberry growers have expressed dissatisfaction with having to use conventional transplants, organic transplants simply are not commercially available. In part, commercial availability of organic transplants has been limited due to a lack of tested varieties as well as a lack of supply during the traditional planting season.

Developing a Cover Crop-Based, No-Till System for Small-Scale Vegetable Producers: Effects on Soil Health, Weeds, Arthropod Communities, and Yield

In the Midwest, one limitation faced by small- and mid-scale organic producers involving cover crop-based, no-till systems is the expense associated with equipment such as a roller crimper needed to terminate the cover crop for spring planting. Thus, the development of an effective no-till system that does not require the use of expensive equipment would be beneficial to producers.

Examination of Organic Grain Productivity to Support the Upper Peninsula Organic Livestock Industry

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is experiencing an agricultural renaissance, which is being fueled by a new generation of farmers wanting to return to the land. Although many of these operations would be considered small in scale, they are often direct to market enterprises managed within an organic system. Furthermore, many operations contain stacked enterprises, integrating both crop and livestock production.

Increasing Organic Farmer Access to Relevant and Practical Research-Based Information

The principal objective of this project was to make a greater proportion of relevant and practical research-based information available to organic farmers. Experienced organic farmers were specifically targeted. In the original proposal, NCAT planned to create a quarterly publication featuring abstracts of relevant research gleaned from the literature. Emphasis was to be placed on recent, cutting-edge research on a broad range of topics pertinent to organic production and marketing.

Participatory Screening of Broccoli Varieties for Summer Production in Organic Systems in Western North Carolina—Year 3: Phase II--On-farm Trials

There is high demand for organic broccoli in the Southeast, as shown in a 2013 market survey by Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, which revealed that broccoli is one of the top organic produce items in short supply. Broccoli can be produced most anywhere in the spring and fall, but summer production is limited to cooler growing areas.

Developing "Organic-Ready" Maize Populations with Gametophytic Incompatibility: Year IV

Maize (corn) is an incredibly productive and profitable crop that works well in organic crop rotations in many parts of North America. Since the release of transgenic (GMO) varieties of maize in the mid-1990s it has become increasingly difficult to grow uncontaminated organic maize or to find maize seed that is free of transgene contamination. 
 

Create Two Open-Pollinated, Sugary Enhanced Sweet Corn Varieties--Year 4

Very little sweet corn grown commercially today is open pollinated. Farmers who wish to save their own seed have few if any good choices of varieties to grow. And the hybrids of today have been developed for conditions that are different from those found on most organic farms, as they were selected to rely on fungicides and pesticides, and to effectively utilize soluble synthetic fertilizers in large quantities.

Developing testing protocols to assure the quality of fertilizer materials for organic agriculture

The organic industry is on track for a six-fold increase in the next five years, having grown from $6.1 billion in sales in 2000 to $29.2 billion in sales in 2011 (4.2% of total food sales in the U.S that year). Consumer demand continues to drive steady growth of this sector, which is indicated by average growth of 8% per year since 2002.

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