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Organic Agriculture Research Symposium

The Organic Farming Research Foundation is pleased to announce the opportunity to apply for a scholarship to attend the Organic Agriculture Research Symposium, a pre-conference on January 20, 2016 at the EcoFarm Conference in Asilomar, CA. Students, farmers and researchers who would like to apply for a scholarship of up to $350 may submit a letter of interest to The scholarship funds may be used for symposium registration ($90-120), travel and one night of lodging. The letter of interest should include name, position, statement of interest and need of scholarship, amount requested and budget. Upon approval from OFRF, scholarship recipients will be required to submit receipts and documentation. Scholarships will be awarded based on timely submission of a letter of interest by Jan. 10, 2016, and the need and merit of the applicant. 

Farmers and researchers have been working together for decades to best prioritize the research needs of organic farmers and the ever-expanding organic agricultural systems they operate. Organic systems have increased their share of the total food and farming system and the need for solutions to continue that expansion and address the organic production issues has never been more urgent. To address this need and opportunity, the Organic Agriculture Research Symposium (OARS) will be held on Wednesday, January 20, as a pre-conference to the EcoFarm Conference. The purpose of the OARS is to bring together researchers, farmers, and other beneficiaries of organic agriculture and farming systems research and to create lasting relationships among the participants. The symposium will provide the latest results of research to farmers, ranchers, extension agents, educators, agricultural professionals, and others interested in organic agriculture. Farmers, agricultural advisors, and practitioners will have an opportunity to learn about and advance the state of the art of organic farming in partnership with the research community. The symposium will also offer researchers a forum to engage in peer-to-peer exchanges of ideas. This is the first event of this kind to be organized at this level. Join us for this update on current studies and take advantage of this important opportunity to contribute to shaping the future of organic farming research.
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.
The Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension (KARE) Center, founded in 1965, is one of nine world-class agricultural research centers operated by the University of California.
Registration: $120 (organic lunch included)


8:00 – 8: 30: Registration (Surf and Sand)

8:30 – 9:00  Introductions (Heather)
Diana Jerkins, Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) Research Director
Jeff Dahlberg, UC-ANR Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension (KARE) Center Director
Brian Baker, Belcairn Concerns, Principal

9:00 – 10:00  Opening Keynote and Thematic presentations (Heather)

André Leu, IFOAM / Organics International President The Vital Role of Research to Advance Organic Agriculture Worldwide.
Mathieu Ngouajio, USDA/NIFA National Program Leader in Cropping Systems USDA- NIFA support for Organic Agriculture Research, Education and Extension.

10:00 – 10:30  Break / Poster viewing

10:30 – noon Concurrent Session 1

Soil Health (Heather)
Moderator: Heather Darby, University of Vermont
Anthony Yannarell, University of Illinois, Management affects the weed suppression potential of soil microorganisms and green manures
James Stapleton, UC-ANR-KARE, Advances in Biosolarization Technology to Improve Soil Health and Organic Control of Soilborne Pests
Alex Stone, Oregon State University, Trends in soilborne disease incidence on two long-term organic vegetable farms in the west.

Seeds and Plant Breeding (Acacia)
Moderator: Jeff Dahlberg, UC-ANRKARE
Adrienne Shelton, University of Wisconsin, Current State of Public Plant Breeding in the United States
Charles Brummer, University of California, Davis: A public plant breeding program to develop organic cultivars and train new plant breeders
Jared Zystro, Organic Seed Alliance, State of Organic Seed

Farming Systems 1 (Toyon)
Moderator: Kathleen Delate, Iowa State University
Amber Sciligo, UC Berkeley, Assessing benefits, costs and trade-offs of biologically-diversified farming systems in California's Central Coast growing region
Joji Muramoto, UC Santa Cruz, CAL-Collaborative Organic Research and Extension Network: on-farm research to improve strawberry/vegetable rotation systems in coastal California.
Eric Brennan, USDA-ARS, Can organic or conventional vegetables be produced sustainably without cover crops?

Noon – 1:00 Lunch (Crocker Dining Hall)

1:00 – 2:30 Concurrent Session 2

Long-term and Strategic Research (Heather)
Moderator: Mark Lipson, UC Santa Cruz
Amélie Gaudin, UC Davis, Long-term research in organic system at Russell Ranch: Results and opportunities to build sustainable and resilient systems
Randy Jackson, University of Wisconsin, The Wisconsin Integrated Cropping Systems Trial: 26 years of research in agricultural sustainability
Diana Jerkins, Organic Farming Research Foundation, Assessment of Future Organic Research Needs

Biodiversity (Acacia)
Moderator: Jessica Shade, The Organic Center
John Quinn, Furman University, The Healthy Farm Index Biodiversity Calculator
Joshua Arnold, UC Berkeley, An Agroecological Survey of Urban Agriculture in the East Bay area of California
Mary Schindler, UC Berkeley, Farming for Native Bees

Economics of Organic Agriculture (Toyon)
Moderator: Brian Baker, Belcairn Concerns
William McBride, USDA ERS, Certified Organic Field Crop Profitability
Timothy Delbridge Cal-Poly, San Luis Obispo, Farm Performance During the Transition to Organic Production
Kathleen Delate, Iowa State, Encouraging the Transition to Organic Grain Production: Linking Research and Extension to Address Knowledge Gaps and Practical Solutions

2:30 – 3:00 Break / Poster viewing

3:00 – 4:30 Concurrent Session 3

Innovative Educational Systems (Heather)
Moderator: Mark van Horn, UC Davis
Damien Parr, UC Santa Cruz, Integrating undergraduate interns in organic farming research and beginner farmer programming at the University of California, Santa Cruz
Michelle Miller, University of Wisconsin, Principles for Transitioning to Organic Farming: e-Learning Materials and Decision Case Studies for Educators
Raul Villanueva, Texas A&M, Linking Organic Farmers and Students On Organic Production through Small Projects in South Texas

Livestock (Acacia)
Moderator: Rebecca Thistlwaite, Independent Consultant
Andre Brito, University of New Hampshire, Feeding annual forage crops to organic dairy cows during spring and summer seasons in Northeast United States
Heather Darby, University of Vermont, Improving Soil and Forage Quality to Maximize Organic Dairy Systems
Cynthia Dailey, CSU-Chico, Holistic animal health and nutrition, grazing and pasture management systems

Biological Control (Toyon)
Moderator: Ruth Dahlquist-Willard, UC Cooperative Extension Fresno County
Adrian Lu, Pest and natural enemy abundance and biological pest control ecosystem services in organic strawberry fields across gradients of local and landscape diversity
Brian Baker, Belcairn Concerns, Organic and Integrated Pest Management: Opportunities for Collaboration
Raul Villanueva, Texas A&M, Field and Laboratory studies of Plant Bugs on Tomato and Brassicas using Organic Insecticides

4:30 – 5:00 Break / Poster viewing

5:00 – 6:00 Audience / Participant feedback / Making Connections (Heather)

Robina Bhatti, CSU Monterey Bay, Mapping Organic Monterey
Andre Brito, University of New Hampshire, Replacing corn meal with incremental amounts of liquid molasses reduced intake and milk yield linearly in organic Jersey cows
Sandy Brown, Organic strawberry transitions in a changing regulatory climate for soil fumigants
Naomi Dailey, UC Davis, Improving Our Knowledge of Pastured Poultry Systems
Julie Dawson, University of Wisconsin, Participatory evaluation of vegetable quality and implications for breeding for organic systems.
Gwendolyn Ellen, Oregon State University, Banking on Beetles for Biological Pest Management
Amélie Gaudin, UC Davis, Irrigation strategies to optimize soil functions and resource use efficiency in organic tomato and corn
David Gonthier, UC Berkeley, Diversifying farmlands supports bird conservation and reduces bird pest damage
Laura Patterson, UC Davis, Evaluating the persistence of Escherichia coli in the soil of an organic mixed crop-livestock farm that integrates sheep grazing within vegetable fields.
Tessa Peters, University of Wisconsin, Evaluation of ten sweet corn topcross varieties for organic markets
Christopher Potter, Stanford University, Quantifying the Benefits of Organic Compost Amendments for Improvement of Air, Soil, and Water Quality in California Rangelands
Jessica Shade, The Organic Center, Manure Safety Challenges and Future Research
Jessica Shade, The Organic Center, Nitrogen footprints affected by consumption of organic products
Andreas Westphal, UC Riverside, Organic soil amendment for mitigating damage caused by plant-parasitic nematodes
Jared Zystro, Organic Seed Alliance, Efficient methods to develop new sweet corn cultivars for organic systems


Presentation Materials: EFC16 OARS - IFOAM Organic 3.0 and TIPI

Date and Location


Thank you to our EcoFarm 2023 sponsors!