2013 23.1 Introducing eOrganic
Find answers to organic farming questions online
What is eOrganic?
eOrganic (http://extension.org/organic_production) is a new website for organic and transitioning farmers. The site is free and contains reliable science-based information on organic farming that complies with National Organic Program regulations. Site users have access to articles, videos, and webinars on a variety of organic farming topics, as well as a newsletter and Ask-an-Expert question-and-answer service.
eOrganic is the organic agriculture portion of the eXtension (http://www.eXtension.org) website, which is a national initiative funded by the land-grant university system. eXtension produces information for national and regional audiences, and directs users to local Extension publications and offices. eOrganic’s information is developed and reviewed for organic certification compliance by an online community of researchers, Extension personnel, agricultural professionals, certifiers, and farmers from across the US.
Visitors to the eOrganic website (pictured below, at http://extension.org/organic_production) can subscribe to the newsletter and receive updates on new publications and events such as webinars and live conference broadcasts.
eOrganic currently provides articles, videos, and webinars on the following topics:
- Dairy Production
- Fruit Production
- Vegetable Production
- Introduction to Organic Agriculture
- Cover Cropping
- Insect Management
- Plant Breeding
- Plant Disease Management
- Research in Organic Farming Systems
The site also includes webinar recordings on organic agriculture and climate change, organic fruit production, organic grain production, and GMO contamination. Look for more resources on organic grain and poultry production in the coming year.
eOrganic Information Resources
eOrganic experts have published over 240 peer reviewed articles to date. These online resources are available at http://extension.org/organic_production. All articles are subject to two anonymous peer reviews and National Organic Program compliance review before being published. This process ensures eOrganic resources are quality tools for organic and transitioning farmers.
The eOrganic community believes that some practices are best learned through video. eOrganic has over 200 videos that range in subject from weed control machines in vegetable production systems to calculating paddock size on organic dairy pastures. Video resources can be found on eExtension at http://www.extension.org/pages/18726 and on the eOrganic YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/eOrganic, where there are more than 850 subscribers and over 750,000 views. Watch Tilth Producer’s very own Ray DeVries demonstrate his wiggle weeder at http://www.extension.org/pages/18401.
eOrganic Webinars and Broadcasts
eOrganic hosts free webinar broadcasts by organic farming and research experts on a vast spectrum of organic farming topics. Users can interact with presenters virtually by attending these live-broadcast learning sessions. Webinars allow participants to listen to live presentations, view slides, and type in questions for presenters from any computer, smartphone, or tablet connected to high-speed Internet. Folks without high speed Internet can contact their local extension office or library to request they access eOrganic’s webinars for the public on site.
To date, eOrganic has hosted more than 80 webinars on organic farming and research, which were attended live by over 4,000 attendees. All webinars are recorded and available for viewing on eOrganic’s YouTube channel. Find all upcoming and archived webinars at http://www.extension.org/pages/25242. Recent webinars include “Orchard Floor Management in the Intermountain West” (December 11, 2012) and “The ‘Ancient’ Grains Emmer, Einkorn and Spelt: What We Know and What We Need to Find Out” (January 8, 2013).
eOrganic hosts broadcasts of live presentations delivered at in person conferences in addition to webinars. Recent broadcasts relevant to the Pacific Northwest include:
- 2nd International Organic Fruit Symposium, 2012. Recordings available at http://www.extension.org/pages/64359
- Dryland Organic Agriculture Symposium from Tilth Producers Conference, 2011. Recordings available at http://www.extension.org/pages/61391
- Organic Seed Growers Conference, 2012. Recordings available at http://www.extension.org/pages/61925
- USDA ERS Organic Farming Systems Conference, 2011. Recordings available at http://www.extension.org/pages/33545
Farmer feedback on webinars
- They are the perfect way to learn – I don’t have to take time off the farm to travel, if the information is not applicable I can leave, and the topics are pertinent. Right after the webinar on pastures, I was inspired to head back out and make some changes to my grazing system.
- As a busy farmer, I find it very difficult to attend on-farm trainings. Webinars are great because it the experts are able to come to me.
The Ask-an-Expert service allows users to submit questions about organic production (along with an image for helpful diagnosis) to eOrganic support professionals through eXtension.org. eOrganic staff either answers questions directly or solicits answers from our eOrganic members. In 2011, community members answered 214 questions and more than 1,000 organic agriculture questions have been answered through the service since its inception in 2007. Ask questions at http://www.extension.org/ask.
In 2012 eOrganic launched its first online courses. These self-directed courses are designed as content modules focused on multi-modal subjects. Courses include an outline of course content and learning objectives, narrated PowerPoints, webinars, video clips, study questions, homework assignments, a content assessment survey, and an on-line quiz.
Organic Seed Alliance’s “Organic Seed Production” online course launched this fall through eOrganic at eXtension’s Moodle campus and can be accessed at http://campus.extension.org/course/view.php?id=377. Organic Seed Production is a self-directed course designed for producers with some seed production experience, seed industry professionals, and extension professionals. This course provides practical field-based knowledge and current research on organic seed production practices. It covers the fundamentals of seed production for onions, beets and chard, brassicas, carrots, and wet-seeded crops. It also addresses climatic requirements for seed crops, important diseases, and seed quality.
eOrganic will launch an organic dairy production online course in winter 2013. The course will include modules on soil health, certification, pasture management, animal nutrition, and herd health considerations. The course is geared to Extension educators, National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) personnel, and other agriculture service providers, and will also be used in curricula of emerging academic organic dairy programs.
Stay informed about new eOrganic resources by subscribing to eOrganic’s newsletter. Just go to http://www.facebook.com/eorganic, follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/eorganic_cp, and subscribe our YouTube site at http://www.youtube.com/eorganic.
Tags: Article, Ask-an-Expert, eOrganic, Online Help, Resources, Videos, Webinar