August 11, 2015
Cathleen McCluskey, Organic Seed Alliance, (360) 472-0247,
Learn How to Breed Crops for Organic Agriculture
Organic plant breeders to host course at Colorado State University
Port Townsend, WA – The Northern Organic Vegetable Improvement Collaborative (NOVIC) will host a two-day classroom and field based course on plant breeding next month. Nationally renowned plant breeders from University of Wisconsin, Cornell University, Oregon State University, and Organic Seed Alliance will lead a Fundamentals of On-Farm Plant Breeding course at Colorado State University on September 11-12, 2015. Participants will learn basic principles to evaluate, develop, improve, and maintain plant varieties for their farm. Instruction will include how to conduct variety trials, set breeding goals, develop breeding plans, and choose parents. Participants will also learn techniques and examples for breeding cross-pollinating and self-pollinating crops. 
NOVIC plant breeders are developing new varieties to serve the needs of organic farmers. This national team of researchers is also teaching farmers how to save seed and breed new or improved varieties on their own farms through accessible, field-based breeding methods. Knowledge of plant breeding empowers farmers to develop varieties that are adapted to their local growing conditions, perform well under organic production, and hold superior market qualities, like flavor and beauty to appeal to their consumers.
This course is intended for farmers and agricultural students. Prior experience in basic seed growing is recommended. Participants are encouraged to review Organic Seed Alliance’s online tutorials on seed saving and production before the course. These resources can be found at
The event will be held at Colorado State University’s Agricultural Research, Development and Education Center (ARDEC) located at 4616 NE Frontage Road in Fort Collins, Colorado, on Friday, September 11, 2015, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday, September 12, 2015, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. 
This course is being offered free of charge, and includes the two-day course and breakfast and lunch on Saturday only. Registration is required and can be completed at
NOVIC is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2014-51300-22223.
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