News – Organic Farmer

Recent News Articles

Published: October 14, 2019

Transitioning a Conventional Apple Orchard to Organic

In 2014, a small group of investors bought Queener Farm, a 40-acre plot in Scio, Oregon with over 115 heirloom and modern varieties of apple trees. Jeannie Berg and Chris Homanics operate the orchard. Transitioning a 2,000-tree heirloom apple orchard from conventional to organic has proved a challenge, although after...

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Published: October 14, 2019

USDA Market Facilitation Program

Enrollment in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Market Facilitation Program will be open through December 6, 2019.   The program, for both specialty and non-specialty crop producers will provide up to $14.5 billion in direct payments. This USDA relief strategy was developed to assist farmers who continue to...

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Published: October 14, 2019

Organic Price Premiums Under Pressure

The organic produce market has had tremendous growth over the last five years. But could the sector’s rapid expansion be damaging its own prices?   A few years ago demand for organic produce was expanding faster than the industry was growing supply. The telltale signs were rising prices alongside rising...

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Published: October 14, 2019

Integrated Weed Management Practices for Controlling Unwanted Vegetation

While all growers should strive to use integrated weed management practices to control unwanted vegetation, organic farmers are more reliant on the strategy than most. The first step in building any successful weed management system is to properly identify the species that are present. This will allow growers to avoid...

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Published: October 14, 2019

Organic Plant Breeding Yields Superior Cucurbit Varieties

Farmers looking for disease resistant cucurbits now have more choices thanks to the release of new cucumber and melon varieties by Cornell University, the result of years of research by public plant breeders and organic farmers. These varieties are a result of participatory breeding efforts focused on cucurbits most in...

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Published: October 14, 2019

Mating Disruption for Navel Orangeworm Available for Organic Nut Crops

Effective management of navel orangeworm requires an integrated approach to pest management. This is especially true in organic nut crops where insecticides that are industry standards in convention orchards are not available. This puts added emphasis on the need for variety selection, winter sanitation, timely harvest, and mating disruption.  ...

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Published: October 14, 2019

Scaling up Your Farm—Is it for you?

Local foods purchasing has moved beyond farmers markets to mainstream grocery stores. As consumers become more interested in purchasing local foods, chain grocery stores from Walmart to Safeway tout their support of local farmers and are trying to back it up by purchasing from local or regional farmers. At the...

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Published: October 5, 2019

Growing Herbs the Old School Way

Diversity, lots of hands-on labor, and staying on top of chores are three keys to the longevity and success of this Alsea, Oregon herb business. Not only do Rolfe and Janet Hagen and their daughters grow herbs using natural, organic methods, the family also grew their business in an organic...

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Published: October 5, 2019

Organic Methods to Control Filbertworm and Other Hazelnut Pests

Go ahead and get a little batty if you want to control filbertworms in your hazelnut orchard. Since bats eat night-flying insects, including the filbertworm moth, attracting them to your orchard is a beneficial and organic way to help control filbertworm population. Give bats a place to call home by...

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Published: October 4, 2019

Planting a New Organic Hazelnut Orchard

Even growers who use conventional farming methods to grow hazelnuts may find some organic methods insightful, even useful. At the Third Annual Oregon Organic Hazelnut Co-op Summer Tour, of course, it was all about growing organically. Seventy-four people signed up for the tour. West Coast Nut was a sponsor for...

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Published: September 23, 2019

Importance of Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Organic Standards Board defines organic food as the food that is produced without the use of conventional pesticides, petroleum-based fertilizers, sewage-sludge-based fertilizers, herbicides, genetic engineering (biotechnology), antibiotics, growth hormones, or irradiation. The land that produces organic food should not have the prohibited...

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Published: September 23, 2019

Transforming Agriculture from A Problem into a Solution

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts substantial changes in precipitation patterns around the globe, which has major implications for freshwater resources. Reduced rainfall and water scarcity are likely consequences of climate change in many regions. For example, desertification—an irreversible reduction in the productivity of land...

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Published: September 23, 2019

Pasture Mixes to Improve the Sustainability of Organic Pasture-based Dairy

As the market for organic pasture-raised beef has grown, so has consumer demand for dairy products from pasture-based cows. Producers are responding, with organic pasture-based dairies making up a larger share of the Western region dairy sector.   The Organic Production System This production system is not without its problems...

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Published: September 23, 2019

Organic Agriculture and the New Biotechnology

Of all the questions that were up for debate in the development of organic standards in the 1990s, the most contentious was likely the use of modern biotechnology and genetic engineering techniques. Early efforts to introduce genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and their products to organic farming and food systems throughout...

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Published: September 23, 2019

Protecting the Whole Organic Farm Just Got Better

On June 5, 2019 the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC), which oversees the entire federal crop insurance program, announced important changes to the Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) policy as a result of legislation passed in the 2018 Farm Bill. We at the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) have...

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Published: September 23, 2019

Using Concentrated Organic Fertilizers

Most organic fertility programs start with soil building practices that increase organic matter with cover crops, compost and fertilizer materials that mineralize slowly over time so that there is an adequate and steady supply of nutrients. There are times when you may need to boost the soil fertility to stimulate...

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Published: September 23, 2019

Adopting Diversified Organic Farming to Increase Ecosystem Services

Conventional farming adopted in modern agriculture are mostly monoculture-based, relying heavily on the use of external chemical (for example: pesticides and fertilizers) inputs (Fig. 1). While these systems provide valuable agronomic benefits, they could result in declines of local and regional biodiversity, soil erosion, selection of pesticide resistance, greenhouse gas...

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Published: August 23, 2019

Organic Soil Disinfestation Methods-Soil Solarization and Biosolarization

By Timothy Jacobs | Graduate student
Ashraf Tubeileh | Assistant professor, Horticulture and Crop Science Department, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA, USA

Soils are reservoirs for weeds, pathogens, and nematodes, which if left uncontrolled can devastate crop yields. If pathogen, nematode, or weed levels rise to economically damaging levels it becomes necessary for growers to use soil disinfestation techniques to kill soilborne organisms. Historically, conventional growers use soilborne fumigants to disinfest soil...

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Published: August 16, 2019

Testing the Accuracy of Soil Tests for Organic Growers

By Neal Kinsey | President of Kinsey Agriculture Services

Purpose of Soil Tests Is it actually possible phat a soil analysis can be accurate enough to provide specific answers to soil fertility needs? What is the purpose of a soil test? Some feel a soil test should only be considered in order to point the farmer or his agronomist...

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Published: August 9, 2019

Benefits of Organic Food Production

By Cecilia Parsons | Associate Editor

Business opportunities in organic food production led a lengthy list of benefits at the annual meeting of California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF).   Growers, processors and marketers of organically grown agricultural commodities attended the Fresno gathering in February where the inaugural Benefits Report by the CCOF Foundation was presented.  ...

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