The University of Minnesota Southwest Research and Outreach Center in Lamberton, Minn., College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences and University of Minnesota Extension lead an extensive program dedicated to exploring agriculture alternatives and the science of organic systems. Researchers from the University’s Research and Outreach Centers, faculty from the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus and University of Minnesota Extension educators actively contribute to the program with vital research projects and outreach activities.
If you are a transitioning or recently certified organic dairy and/or row crop farmer in Minnesota, you are invited to participate in the “Tools for Transition” project.
As a participant, you will:
1) Enroll in the Farm Business Management (FBM) education program.
2) Receive a scholarship worth up to 90% of FBM tuition fees.
3) Meet in small groups and one-on-one with farm business management instructors to develop accurate business records, financial statements for your farm (eg. cash flows, projected profitability statements, balance sheets, and risk analysis), and annual farm business analyses.
4) Use your new statements to monitor your financial performance during transition, map progress toward personal goals, and, most importantly, make informed business decisions for your own operation.
The first edition of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s handbook for the organic sector was published on Sept. 2, 2010. Prepared by the National Organic Program (NOP), the handbook provides guidance about national organic regulations for those who own, manage, or certify organic operations. It is intended to serve as a resource for the organic sector to help participants comply with federal regulations.
The inaugural edition of the handbook provides guidance on the allowance of green waste and approval of liquid fertilizers in organic production systems; certification of organic yeast; processed animal manures in organic crop production; reassessed inert ingredients; and the calculation of dry matter intake to verify compliance with the NOP’s pasture requirements. The NOP Handbook includes instructions concerning organic certification, such as record keeping, steps to certification, and organic certificates; accreditation procedures, such as how to apply to become an accredited certifying agent; international procedures, such as how USDA determines equivalence of foreign organic standards to those of the NOP; compliance and enforcement measures, such as how to handle complaints; and appeals procedures for certified operations or accredited certification agents.
"What is Organic Food and Why Should I Care?" is the latest organic publication by Jim Riddle and Bud Markhart. This article was recently distributed by Jim Riddle at the Minnesota State Fair on Wednesday, September 1st.
View a PDF for web viewing of the article.
View an 11x17 format of the publication for printing. (.pdf)
Data presented by University of Minnesota Extension Corn Agronomist Dr. Jeff Coulter during the U of M’s Organic Field Day, held July 8, 2010, at the SWROC near Lamberton, demonstrates the long-term productivity of organic cropping systems.
To view the accompanying presentation and overview, click on: "VICMS Analysis Overview" (.pdf) and "21 Years of Organic and Conventional Cropping Systems Research" (.pdf).
During the 2010 Organic Field Day, held July 8 at the Southwest Research and Outreach Center, Roger Blobaum of Ceres Trust, gave an informative presentation on the history of publicly-funded organic research. The story begins in Southwest Minnesota, a few miles from the SWROC in the early 1970s, when several organic farmers formed the Minnesota Soil Association to raise money for organic research.Six months later, they received a $3,500 research grant from a Minnesota state government agency.
In a presentation given during the University of Minnesota’s 2010 Organic Field Day, Dr. Eileen Cullen, University of Wisconsin entomologist, explained how, in organic agriculture, growers must rely on biointensive Integrated Pest Management (IPM) by implementing crop rotations; soil and crop nutrient management practices; sanitation; pest resistant or tolerant plants; scouting and trapping; biological controls; and natural enemy habitat enhancement methods to suppress insect pests.
View Dr. Cullen’s presentation: “Viewing Organic Field and Forage Crops Through the IPM Continuum Paradigm” (.pdf)
Soybean aphids caused significant losses for organic farmers in 2006 and 2008. Dr. Phil Glogoza, University of Minnesota Regional Extension Educator for Crops, spoke about control measures and the efficacy of insecticides approved for use in organic production during the 2010 UMN Organic Field Day.
View his informative handouts: “Soybean Aphid Thresholds Adjusted for Organic Insecticide Use” (.pdf)
Hybrid hazelnuts show good potential for farmers in the Midwest who want to establish perennial plants to diversify their operations. If planted from nuts, however, the resulting stock is variable and yields unpredictable. During the 2010 Organic Field Day at the SWROC, Dr. Lois Braun, U of M, explained a technique called mound layering that is used to propagate the best hazelnuts for reliable quality and production. Braun’s handouts provide detailed information on hazelnuts and on the mound layering technique.
View Braun's handouts: "How to Propagate Hybrid Hazelnuts by Mound Layering" (.pdf) and "Hybrid Hazelnuts" (.pdf)
Carmen Fernholz, University of Minnesota Organic Research Coordinator, has constructed a matrix of the organic research projects being conducted in 2010 at the Southwest Research and Outreach Center. Use the matrix and the accompanying plot map to take a self-guided tour of the Elwell Agroecology Farm.
On May 6, 2010 the University of Minnesota Southwest Research and Outreach Center (SWROC) in Lamberton hosted its first Season Extension Day, drawing over 90 interested participants. Invited speakers included U of MN faculty and growers and covered topics related to extended season high tunnel and passive greenhouse fruit and vegetable production. Three of the presentations are posted here: a review of the 2009 season of the SWROC high tunnel; soil and fertility management for high tunnels; and growing raspberries in high tunnels.
View some of presentations from the Season Extension Day: Soil Fertility in High Tunnels (.pdf) by Dr. Carl Rosen, High Tunnel Raspberry Research (.pdf) by Steve Poppe, and SWROC High Tunnel:First Season Review and Lessons (.pdf) by Kelley Belina