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Purdue Extension Offers Series in Organic Field Crop Production

July 10, 2019
Farmer planting seed in a field with a tractor.

Purdue Extension is hosting an organic agriculture program series focused on transitional strategy, crop rotation, nutrient management, weed management and markets targeted for organic, transitional and conventional farmers, agriculture professionals and landowners. The series begins with Organic Agronomy Training Series (OATS) on July 24-25 in Crawfordsville, Ind. Field days will continue the series on July 31, Aug. 2 and Sept. 5 in Wawaka, Wheatfield and New Paris, respectfully.

“This series of organic agriculture programs provides an opportunity for farmers and agricultural professionals to gain knowledge of organic grain production systems and to network with others. Organic field crop acreage expanded by over 30% from 2016 to 2018 in Indiana, and that growth needs to be paired with increased opportunities for education and networking,” said Michael O’Donnell, organic and diversified agriculture educator for Purdue Extension.

The summer program series will kick off with OATS two-day session on July 24-25. This session can help agronomists, crop advisors, extension agents and technical service providers receive education on organic production systems and USDA-National Organic Program regulatory compliance. Co-hosted by Purdue Extension, the OATS East session will be held at Fusion 54 in Crawfordsville, Ind. The registration deadline is midnight on July 19. Visit thelandconnection.org/OATS to register.

On July 31, the series will continue with a Hemp Research and Organic Grain Transition Field Day at Noble Organic Grains. Noble Organic Grains is managed by Joel and Kim Mecklenburg. Purdue Extension-Organic Agriculture and Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) are co-hosting the event where guests will learn about the Mecklenburgs’ organic seed corn production and double crop soybeans. Attendees will also be able to observe equipment used to interseed red clover into soybeans and a hemp grain research plot.

Next up is a field day at Klemp Family Farm held on Aug. 2. The Klemps manage 4,200 acres of field crops, with 1,400 transitional acres and 350 certified organic acres. Participants will learn how the Klemps started into organic grain production, their transition strategy, and the evolution of their organic crop rotations. The field day will also include information about organic corn starter fertility, no-till organic soybean production and use of different manures in organic nutrient management.

The following field day will be at Ramerview Holstein on Sept. 5. The Ramer family manages a certified organic dairy, producing organic milk for Organic Valley. The Ramers raise corn, soybeans, wheat, spelt, oats and hay, along with a diverse mix of cover crops in the crop rotation. They have expanded crop acreage in recent years with grain going to the dairy and being sold to local organic grain buyers. Participants will learn about their cropping system and visit corn hybrid variety plots that incorporate a fertility trial. 

To learn more about these events and to register, visit purdue.edu/dffs/organicag/events/ or call O’Donnell at (765) 284-8414. Participants must register for the field days individually. Registration for the Noble Organic Grain field day must be made by July 25. 

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