Karen Adler's picture

The Birds and the Bees and the Flowers and the Seeds…

With more than two-thirds of all agricultural plants dependent on insect pollinators, primarily bees, to produce seed, effective pollinator management is important to organic seed producers, especially in light of increasing pressures from two key challenges.

Challenge #1: Genetic contamination of seed crops

Undesirable outcrossing can occur when wind or pollinators transport pollen from an outside source into a seed crop field. This can produce a number of different results for organic seed producers; if two organic varieties are crossed, the result may be a new, undesirable variety, even if organic. However, when the movement occurs between an organic seed crop and a genetically modified seed crop, the result might be a seed crop with the genetically modified trait.

Mark Keating's picture

Fall Bill Seeds Beginning to Sprout…

Driven by strong bipartisan support, the U.S. Senate on Monday night approved its version of the 2013 Farm Bill by a vote of 66 to 27.  The bill renews Washington’s commitment to organic agriculture by reauthorizing three key programs – the Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI), National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP) and Organic Data Initiative (ODI) – which were allowed to lapse under the current Farm Bill extension.  The funding for these programs is limited - $16 million annually for OREI, $11.5 annually for NOCCSP and $5 million for ODI over the bill’s five year lifespan – but these are essential investments in the future of organic agriculture.  Similarly, the Senate’s Farm Bill offers modest but meaningful support for a number of vital beginning farmer, conservation and direct marketing initiatives and reforms which stalled during the extension.  The good news overall is that the Senate stepped up to the plate and passed a Farm Bill which validates organic production as an important part of American agriculture’s future.

Karen Adler's picture

The Real Dirt on Organic Farming

This is part 3 of the 3-part series "From the Ground Up: What Does It Mean to be Certified Organic?"

“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”
--Wendell Berry

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