About Wes

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Wes has created 27 blog entries.

OFRF and FFAR Fund Research on Increasing the Productivity and Market Value of Pulse Crops for Arid Organic Conditions

(SANTA CRUZ, CALIF. – December 23, 2022) – The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) and the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) are pleased to announce its sixth award for the 2021/22 OFRF organic research grant cycle. Dr. Travis Parker of University of California – Davis was awarded $19,970.00 to research dependable pulse crops for arid regions that promote the ecological and financial sustainability of organic farms.

Legume crops provide plentiful plant protein and have several agronomic advantages for organic farmers, including the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen. Certain legume species and varieties provide further advantages, including extreme heat tolerance, low water requirements, and high market value. Despite this, little is known about their yields in organically-managed arid environments, and little breeding has been done to improve their agronomic performance.

This research will screen diverse cowpeas and tepary beans to identify varieties that can outcompete standard commercial pulses, and evaluate and select varieties of common bean specifically for organic environments. Researchers will also use novel sequencing and molecular biology techniques to identify the genes governing the most valuable heirloom common bean seed color patterns.

By evaluating specific pulse varieties, researchers hope to find varieties with higher yields, while conducting genetic investigation that will facilitate genetics-informed breeding of high-value, high-productivity beans. A greater understanding of these traits will help lead to more widespread adoption of pulse crops for more dependable and resilient organic rotations in arid regions.

This year’s research grant program prioritized farmers, early career researchers, and BIPOC applicants. The six projects chosen focus on climate mitigation and building on-farm resilience and have been awarded a grand total of $119,817 in funding. The 2021/22 cycle was made possible by a $66,000.00 grant from FFAR and matching funds from OFRF and its research partners.

To date, OFRF has invested over $3 million in 361 grants across North America to advance scientific knowledge and improve the ecological sustainability and economic prosperity of organic farming systems. All OFRF-funded research must involve farmers or ranchers in project design and implementation, take place on certified organic land, and include strong education and outreach components. All research results are freely available in OFRF’s online database.

###

Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research
The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) builds public-private partnerships to fund bold research addressing big food and agriculture challenges. FFAR was established in the 2014 Farm Bill to increase public agriculture research investments, fill knowledge gaps and complement USDA’s research agenda. FFAR’s model matches federal funding from Congress with private funding, delivering a powerful return on taxpayer investment. Through collaboration and partnerships, FFAR advances actionable science benefiting farmers, consumers and the environment.
https://foundationfar.org/

Organic Farming Research Foundation
The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is a non-profit foundation that works to foster the improvement and widespread adoption of organic farming systems. OFRF cultivates organic research, education, and federal policies that bring more farmers and acreage into organic production. Project results are shared freely at ofrf.org. OFRF also provides free access to all of its educational materials and resources.
http://ofrf.org

By |2022-12-19T20:03:22+00:00December 21st, 2022|Press Release|

OFRF & FFAR fund On-Farm Research of Best Management Practices for Including Cover Crops in Midwestern Corn

(SANTA CRUZ, CALIF. – December 9, 2022) – The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) and the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) are pleased to announce its fifth award for the 2021/22 OFRF organic research grant cycle. Axel Garcia y Garcia of the University of Minnesota, was awarded $20,000 to research effective management practices to  include cover crops into long-season cash crops.

Inclusion of cover crops continues to be a priority for organic farmers, but many struggle with successful establishment in long-season cash crops, especially in the upper Midwest. Typical practices of aerial seeding into standing corn and drilling after fall harvest have yielded inconsistent results leading to low adoption rates. Farmer ingenuity has fueled many independent investigations that spark interest, but have lingering questions on timing, species selection, and methods that demand answers to make the outcomes repeatable and consistent.

This project will address these needs by evaluating how well different cover crop species establish depending on method of seeding. It will help determine the effects of cover crop species on corn yield, soil fertility and weed incidence. By including several species, this research will evaluate treatment interactions to help understand best management practices for individual cover crop species. Researchers hope that this information could potentially help growers select species based on their production system and available equipment.

This year’s research grant program prioritized farmers, early career researchers, and BIPOC applicants. The six projects chosen focus on climate mitigation and building on-farm resilience and have been awarded a grand total of $119,817 in funding. The 2021/22 cycle was made possible by a $66,000.00 grant from FFAR and matching funds from OFRF and its research partners.

To date, OFRF has invested over $3 million in 361 grants across North America to advance scientific knowledge and improve the ecological sustainability and economic prosperity of organic farming systems. All OFRF-funded research must involve farmers or ranchers in project design and implementation, take place on certified organic land, and include strong education and outreach components. All research results are freely available in OFRF’s online database.

###

Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research
The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) builds public-private partnerships to fund bold research addressing big food and agriculture challenges. FFAR was established in the 2014 Farm Bill to increase public agriculture research investments, fill knowledge gaps and complement USDA’s research agenda. FFAR’s model matches federal funding from Congress with private funding, delivering a powerful return on taxpayer investment. Through collaboration and partnerships, FFAR advances actionable science benefiting farmers, consumers and the environment.
https://foundationfar.org/ 

Organic Farming Research Foundation
The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is a non-profit foundation that works to foster the improvement and widespread adoption of organic farming systems. OFRF cultivates organic research, education, and federal policies that bring more farmers and acreage into organic production. Project results are shared freely at ofrf.org. OFRF also provides free access to all of its educational materials and resources.
http://ofrf.org

By |2022-12-05T21:36:58+00:00December 8th, 2022|Press Release|

Conservation of an endophytic insect-pathogen fungus for plant protection in organic cropping

Mary Barbercheck, Pennsylvania State University
Professor of Sustainable Agriculture, Department of Entomology

Farmers and agricultural professionals have great interest in exploiting beneficial soil organisms, especially in organic systems with their focus on soil health and reliance on natural cycles to manage plant health and pests. Endophytes are microorganisms that form non- pathogenic symbioses with plants and can confer benefits including growth promotion and increased plant tolerance to environmental stresses that are predicted to increase with climate change. Our long-term goal is to understand how to promote and conserve the beneficial endemic soil fungus, Metarhizium robertsii, as an insect pathogen and endophyte in organic cropping systems.

VIEW FULL GRANT
By |2022-12-01T20:43:05+00:00December 1st, 2022|Grant Award|

Cover Crops for Soil Health: demonstration of on-farm trial

Pushpa Soti, Assistant Professor, Biology Department
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

This project was designed to address the three major research needs expressed by the farmers: weed suppression, pest management, and soil conservation. The specific objectives of this study were to determine the right cover crop or cover crop mix by evaluating the agronomic, environmental, and economic benefits, ultimately address local farmers’ priorities to overcome barriers to organic agriculture in this region. We worked closely with the local organic growers to address their research needs. The goal of this project was to address the farmer-driven questions on cover crops.

VIEW FULL GRANT
By |2022-12-01T20:39:41+00:00December 1st, 2022|Grant Award|

Advancing Organic Potato Production with Mustard Seed Meal Extract: a multi-pronged tool to control weeds, promote soil health, and improve potato nutrition

Inna Popova, Dr.
Assistant Professor in the Department of Soil and Water Systems

Weed management, soil health, and nutritional quality of organically produced foods are among the highest priority organic research topics according to organic farmers across the US, and abundant peer-reviewed research supports these perspectives. Utilizing innovative organic agricultural practices that improve soil health, combat weeds, and enhance the nutritional quality of staple foods will enable farmers to successfully meet the challenges of feeding a rising global population. Our overall goal is to discover effective weed management strategies for organic potato production that promote healthy soils and nutritious potatoes.

VIEW FULL GRANT
By |2022-12-01T20:33:22+00:00December 1st, 2022|Grant Award|

20 to 20, in 2020

Hand holding 12 species of seed mix

Lee-Ann Hill, Rocky Mount Seed Alliance

This project investigates 20 promising ancient and heritage grain varieties to measure performance for farm scale organic growing conditions and will increase available seed of these 20 unique varieties to a minimum of 20 pounds each in 2020. Data will be collected on weed suppression, lodging, disease, and pest pressure as well as yield and height and environmental conditions at two sites- Ketchum, Idaho and Paonia, Colorado. This on-farm research will be supplemented by data collected through Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance’s grassroots ‘Heritage Grain Trial Program’ (HGTP) and via a new field app. The HGRP not only activates peer-to-peer discovery of regionally adapted germplasm, but also preserves a living diversity of crop genetics.

VIEW FULL GRANT
By |2022-12-01T20:27:26+00:00December 1st, 2022|Grant Award|

Evaluation of selection methods and efficacy in on-farm breeding of organic wheat and oat varieties

Helen Jensen, Research Program Manager
The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security, Seed Change

This research project will document how farmer-selectors have contributed to genetic improvement for organic production for wheat and oats and share that information with existing and prospective PPB participants across the country. We will also document and evaluate the strengths and limitations of the PPB partnerships that underpin this particular program. In doing so, we will ensure that new organic PPB programs can be improved based on the experience of farmers. We anticipate that outcomes will include improved knowledge of selection practices for all of the stakeholders in the program, as well as improved methodologies and increased adoption of PPB by a broader range of organic farmers.

VIEW FULL GRANT
By |2022-12-01T20:35:01+00:00December 1st, 2022|Grant Award|

A Comprehensive Approach To Control Weeds in Organic Peanut Systems in the Southeast

Don Cooper, Georgia Organic Peanut Alliance
Agricultural Outreach and Education Specialist

This project will examine the effectiveness of an integrated weed control system in Certified Organic peanut production utilizing regular mechanical cultivation and Eugenol, a broad spectrum herbicide derived from cloves and approved for Certified Organic production in a commercial formulation as Weed Slayer. The project will be conducted with four Certified Organic farmers at four locations in Southwest Georgia: (1) two loamy/clayey farms, (2) two sandy farms. Each site will have two fields planted approximately 2-3 weeks apart within the optimum planting window (May/June) to measure weed pressures and yield. Each farm will begin use of a tine weeder within 5-7 days after planting, with 5-7 total passes, followed by 2-3 passes with sweeps until the peanut plants’ canopies extend across the rows.

VIEW FULL GRANT
By |2022-12-01T20:20:30+00:00December 1st, 2022|Grant Award|

Efficacy evaluation of biological control agents against wireworms in organic production

Photo of Soybean plantation rows view from the soil

Arash Rashed, University of Idaho
Associate Professor of Entomology

Wireworms, the larval stage of click beetles (Coleoptera: Elateridae), are generalist subterranean herbivores that cause significant damage in a variety of crops. Managing wireworms has been a challenge due to their long-life cycle, subterranean living habitat, and ability to survive wide range of host plants. Although there are a few insecticides available for conventional farming, there is no effective alternative control measure against wireworms in organic production. Thus, there is a critical need for developing effective non-chemical control protocols against wireworms.

VIEW FULL GRANT
By |2022-12-01T20:20:42+00:00December 1st, 2022|Grant Award|

Breeding disease-resistant heirloom-quality tomatoes

tomatoes on a bush

Carol Deppe, Owner Fertile Valley Seeds

The object of this project is to breed disease-resistant heirloom-quality tomatoes, especially those resistant to late blight and a number of other diseases. I have already crossed ten premiere heirloom tomato varieties—full-size red, pink, black, orange, and paste types—to the hybrid ‘Iron Lady’, which is resistant to late blight and a number of other relevant diseases. And I have developed the second-generation (F2) populations from each of these ten crosses. This year, the grant year, I’ll use marker assisted selection to identify most of the disease resistance genes in each transplant before transplanting them to the field. (This involves taking a sample of leaf from each transplant and sending the samples to a laboratory that can identify the genes in each sample.) This way I’ll be able to plant only the transplants that have the desirable disease resistance genes. I’ll evaluate plants in the field based upon plant form and vigor, maturity, fruit color, shape and flavor. I’ll derive a number of lots of seed from each cross. These lots of seed will be distributed far and wide to allow organic farmers and gardeners to easily develop their own heirloom-quality tomato varieties with resistance to modern disease. Many of the lots of seed will already be pure-breeding for late blight resistance, so breeders working with it will not need to select for late blight resistance. (You might or might not have it in your field any given year.)

VIEW FULL GRANT
By |2022-12-01T20:21:21+00:00December 1st, 2022|Grant Award|
Go to Top