As a call for natural grain products soars, newly licensed organic grain farmers — or the ones in the transitioning to organic grain — conflict to discover reliable technical service and help as they navigate this new production system. Upcoming two-day pilot periods of the Organic Agronomy Training Series (OATS) can assist agronomists, crop advisors, extension marketers, and technical provider vendors acquire training on organic manufacturing systems and USDA-National Organic Program regulatory compliance — and extra strongly help these farmers.
Co-hosted by Purdue Extension, the OATS east pilot session could be held July 24-25 at Fusion 54, 119 N. Green St., in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Early-chicken registration for the schooling is available through June sixteen. The registration deadline is middle of the night on July 14. Agronomists, certified crop advisors/experts, extension agents, and technical carrier providers in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois are endorsed to wait. (An additional consultation for the same audiences in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa can be held in August.) OATS East members will go to a nearby natural farm that functions like a grain and farm animals operation with parallel conventional and licensed-organic row crop production.
According to the Organic Trade Association, the income of U.S. Organic merchandise has grown from $3.6 billion in 1997 to almost $50 billion in 2017. While natural meals sales make up 5.5% of total U.S. Food sales, less than 1% of U.S. Farmland is devoted to natural production (with a whole lot of the shortfall made up with the aid of imports). Organic grain manufacturing is as plenty a possibility for advisors and experts keen to develop their patron bases and help diverse manufacturing with capability for expanded margins as it’s far for farmers interested in diversifying cropping structures and profits streams. However, a recent record from the U.S. Organic Grain Collaboration identified a shortage of technical service companies that understand natural production and offer sufficient assist. Founded in 2018, OATS unites industry, nonprofit, agency, and agronomy partners to fill the distance.
“If OATS is an achievement, it’s going to grow the range and geographic spread of technical carrier vendors capable of meet the desires of natural grain producers,” stated Michael O’Donnell, natural and diversified agriculture educator for Purdue Extension. “In flip, with a view to assist developers to be had natural acreage, optimize organic production systems and maximize the potential for achievement amongst current and transitioning growers.” After finishing the OATS schooling, contributors might be able to:
Provide primary agronomic offerings to licensed / transitioning natural manufacturers.
Discuss a hit organic crop production techniques.
Understand the natural certification and inspection manner thoroughly.
Advise manufacturers on compliance with all applicable USDA policies and policies.
Recommend worthwhile, diverse crop rotations that meet rotational requirements.
Understand natural weed-control techniques, such as cultural and mechanical.
Advise on the mixing of cover vegetation and decreased tillage into organic structures.
Recommend organically authorized pest-manipulate techniques.
Advise on basic organic fertility packages.
Refer to contemporary studies relevant to organic production systems.
“Those who entire the OATS pilot program can turn out to be greater confident, knowledgeable assets for producers in this growing phase of U.S. Agriculture,” O’Donnell stated. Continuing Education Units for Certified Crop Advisors had been asked for this schooling.