News – Organic Farmer

Recent News Articles

Published: January 3, 2020

Soil Solarization in the Pacific Northwest

Imagine taking a math test, solving a really difficult problem, then discovering that your solution answered the next two questions as well. That’s essentially what happened to Oregon State University (OSU) plant pathologist, Jennifer Parke. She set out to solve one problem—treating a specific disease in container nurseries. When that...

Read More

Published: January 3, 2020

Inspiring Stories of Organic Marketing Success

Meridian Orchards, in Aurora, Oregon is the longest-running certified organic hazelnut orchard in the USA. It was there that a panel of experts shared their inspiring business stories of marketing success during the lunch break of the 2019 Summer Farm Tour. The common threads binding the tales together were organic...

Read More

Published: January 3, 2020

Is an Electrostatic Sprayer the Right Choice for Your Operation?

Is using an electrostatic air sprayer better for the environment than using a conventional airblast sprayer? “It’s more controlled,” which reduces drift and runoff, said Willie Hartman. Hartman is the president of On Target Spray Systems, out of Mt. Angel, Oregon. Electrostatic sprayers are also less wasteful, according to Hartman....

Read More

Published: January 3, 2020

Growing Practices at the Oldest US Organic Hazelnut Orchard

In 1965, Richard Birkemeier and his family planted 40 acres of Barcelona hazelnuts—known then as filberts. In 1966, the Birkemeier family planted another 40 acres, creating Meridian Orchards in Aurora, Oregon. In 1970, the Birkemeiers bought another 40 acres. Richard managed his orchards with conventional farming methods. Richard’s son, Jim...

Read More

Published: January 3, 2020

Growing Vegetables for a Specialty Market

George Weppler is 80 now, but he still keeps a hand in Weppler Farms—a business he started in the late 1970s. The farm is situated on a 28-acre chunk of land tucked into the Cascade foothills of Brownsville, Oregon. The Calapooia River skirts the property. The land was once a...

Read More

Published: January 3, 2020

Industrial Hemp—Growing, Planting, Harvesting

Marc Staunton, one of the owners of MBS Farms in Malin, Oregon, spoke at the Klamath Water Users Fall Harvest Tour. Staunton said, he and his partners aren’t experts on growing industrial hemp, and no one is, because it is such a new crop. “This is very young, budding, no...

Read More

Published: December 27, 2019

It’s Application Crunch Time for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

Are you involved with the specialty crop industry? If so, have you considered writing a proposal for the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY2020) Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP)? Whether it’s a proposal you have mulled over for a while, or you recently had a great new idea pop into your...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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.  ...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More