Farmer Training Programs

Effect of Biosolarization and Cover Crops on Weeds and Soil-borne Pathogens

As the negative health and environmental effects of chemical soil fumigation become more apparent, it is critical to devise safe, alternative methods of soil fumigation. Organic growers constantly struggle with weed control and need innovative, chemical‐free weed management techniques. 

On-Farm Assessment of Melon and Cucumber Feedstocks for Downy Mildew and Bacterial Wilt

In this project I will assess resistance to both Bacterial Wilt and Cucurbit Downy Mildew among selected cucumber and muskmelon seedstocks, and move forward with an ongoing project to develop a pickling cucumber that is resistant to both diseases.

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.

Biointensive and Organically Acceptable Pest Management Literacy Training

With funding support from OFRF, NCAT implemented a Biointensive and Organically Acceptable Pest Management Literacy Training for Hispanic organic growers and Hispanic organic growers-in-training. The objectives of this training were:

¾ Increase grower knowledge and ability to differentiate between pest and beneficial organisms.

¾ Provide the growers with information about organic pest management options, both proactive and reactive.

Participatory Evaluation of Organic Production System in Southwestern Louisiana

Several researchers (Francis et al., 1990; Murray and Butler, 1994; Poudel et al., 2000) have suggested farmer participatory research methods for problem identification, research design, and implementation of research results in developing production strategies for enhancing agricultural sustainability and environmental quality.

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