January 31, 2020 – Holding this year’s Organic Agriculture Research Forum in Little Rock provided an opportunity for researchers and farmers to focus on challenges associated with organic farming in the Southern region. The forum was presented jointly by OFRF and Tuskegee University in partnership with the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG).
Dr. Lauren Snyder, Education and Research Program manager for OFRF welcomed participants to the day-long event before handing it over to Professor Kokoasse Kpomblekou-A from Tuskegee University for an update on organic farming research in the Southeast.
Throughout the course of the day, 16 researchers presented on topics exploring the importance of soil health in building resiliency, breeding crops for organic production, and the attributes and nutritional value of organically grown produce. Safiullah Pathan, an Assistant Professor at Lincoln University in Missouri, wowed the crowd with his presentation on nutrient-rich leafy green quinoa and its potential for organic farming.
After the presentations, attendees broke into groups to identify and prioritize the research, education, and policies needed to address challenges in organic farming systems, particularly in the face of a changing climate. Topics included seed and plant breeding, soil health, and weed and pest issues, among others. Each group then shared their priorities.
As soon as the forum was over, it was time for a joint Poster Session with presenters from the forum and SSAWG.
Fifteen researchers and farmers received scholarships to attend the event thanks to Ceres Trust.
OARF was supported by the Organic Agriculture and Extension Initiative (OREI) grant no. 2019-51300-30250 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.