Agenda at a Glance
- Wednesday, 2/14
- Thursday, 2/15
- Friday, 2/16 & Saturday, 2/17
When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost: $150 (includes full intensive, breakfast, and lunch)Register Now
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost: $150 (includes full intensive, breakfast, and lunch)Register Now
Willamette Valley Seed Tour | Kick start your conference with another great tour of mid-Willamette Valley seed production! This year’s day-long tour sponsored by Oregon Tilth will feature seed production and cleaning on a number of different scales.
When: 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Cost: $150 (includes full tour, breakfast, and lunch)Register Now
When: 7 a.m. Friday to 10 p.m. Saturday Cost: $375 (includes all Friday and Saturday workshops and meals)Register Now
Get Into the Weeds
See dropdown boxes below for additional details on pre-conference trainings and workshops for the 9th Organic Seed Growers Conference to be held February 14-17, 2018, in Corvallis, Oregon. Please note the workshop list is not complete and subject to change.
Pre-conference Intensives | Wednesday & Thursday
Seed Economics Intensive
When: Wednesday, February 14, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: $150 (includes full intensive, breakfast, and lunch)
Navigating the finances of growing seed commercially can be challenging and managing the risks are essential to success. Beginning and experienced seed growers are invited to join us for this one-day intensive to gain the tools needed for managing financial risk in commercial seed production. Get skilled at using budgeting tools to evaluate capital investments, expanding enterprises, and assessing market opportunities. We’ll examine real-world examples from seed growers with different marketing strategies to build knowledge of wholesale, retail, contract growing, as well as breeding and variety maintenance. Participants will have the opportunity to provide their own production examples and work with an agricultural economist to develop enterprise budgets. We’ll also hear from organic seed industry representatives about gaps in the seed supply, best practices for quality control, and projections for the future of the organic seed market.
Speakers: Sebastian Aguilar, Chickadee Farm; Travis Greenwalt, Highland Economics; Sam McCullough, Nash’s Organic Produce; Tanya Murray, Oregon Tilth; Sarah Kleeger, Adaptive Seed; Ira Wallace, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange; Pete Zuck, Johnny’s Selected SeedsRegister Now
Organic Plant Breeding Intensive
When: Thursday, February 15, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: $150 (includes full intensive, breakfast, and lunch)
Want to take your on-farm breeding skills and variety development projects to the next level? This crash course in organic plant breeding will provide the basic skills to initiate or advance your organic breeding projects. Learn strategies for breeding vegetable and grain crops of self and cross-pollinated species. Organic public plant breeders will share advice on how to source germplasm, build breeding populations, manage crosses, and apply more advanced techniques to select for key traits under environmental challenges. Classroom and hands-on activities will demonstrate breeding tools and techniques. Presenters will also touch on the basics of lab-based breeding techniques that comply with organic methods, including marker-assisted selection. The day includes a field trip and lab component at the Oregon State University vegetable and grain breeding programs. This course is intended for farmers and agricultural students. Prior knowledge of basic seed biology is recommended.
Speakers: Patrick Hayes, Brigid Meints, and Jim Myers, Oregon State University; Julie Dawson, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Jared Zystro, Organic Seed Alliance and University of Wisconsin-Madison.Register Now
Willamette Valley Seed Tour | Thursday
Willamette Valley Seed Tour
When: Thursday, February 15, from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: $150 (includes full tour, breakfast, and lunch)
Kick start your conference with a tour of mid-Willamette Valley seed production! This year’s day-long tour sponsored by Oregon Tilth features seed production and cleaning locations on a variety of scales. We’ll learn about what it takes to start a seed production and breeding farm, and hear from the old timers and companies who’ve been at it for ages. We’ll get to check out a diversity of farms managing inventories and productions lots both small and large. There’s a lot to learn from our hosts and we can’t wait to hop on the bus with you to do it. This tour always sells out so reserve your seat today!
Avoca Farm, Corvallis, OR
Avoca Seed Farm is managed by Hank Keogh and Jo Erikson. Located four miles east of Corvallis, Avoca is tucked away in the middle of the Willamette Valley, a great place for growing seed crops. Hank and Jo manage seven acres for certified organic seed crops grown largely for Wild Garden Seed and some for Adaptive Seed. As part of the Keogh family farm, Avoca also includes a peach orchard, several acres of NRCS riparian area restoration, and three elderly goats. This stop will showcase the creation of Avoca as a seed production farm; seed cultivation management techniques, including crop rotation, cover cropping, disease, weed seed, and chaff; and a field visit and discussion of Hank’s ‘Dazzling Blue’ kale breeding work.
Kenagy Family Farm, Albany, OR
Kenagy Family Farm produces a diverse mix of crops on 325 acres while maintaining and caring for an additional 100+ acres of wildlife habitat in the form of forest, wetlands, waterways, and riparian zones. Crops are predominantly vegetables for processing (look for FLAV-R-PAC frozen and Santiam at your local grocer) and seed crops (native grasses and forbes, vegetable and cover crop). The farm also houses the Pacific Northwest Natives seed cleaning facility, produces direct market asparagus and gooseberries for restaurants, and manages a goat herd to help control brush and graze cover crops. Pacific Northwest Natives is a contract producer and marketer of native grass, herbaceous forbs, legumes, and wildflowers adapted to Western Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Northern California, and British Columbia. This stop will showcase seed cleaning equipment, and native and cover crop seed production.
Universal Seed Company, Independence, OR
Universal Seed Company is a knowledgeable and reliable supplier of high quality vegetable seeds. It’s located in the heart of the Willamette Valley which is renowned for its productive soils and temperate climate, making it the ideal location for producing crops like spinach, radish, and brassicas. Universal Seed Company increases seed for both national and international breeding companies which then goes out for commercial sale. This stop will highlight the development of the business, and include a tour of the processing, cleaning, and brand-new seed testing lab facilities.
Heritage Seedlings and Liners, Salem, OR
Heritage Seedlings and Liners currently produces source-identified seed of over 100 species of native Willamette Valley, Oregon prairie wildflowers (forbs), grasses, sedges, and rushes. Their key strategy has been to increase the number of forb species commercially available each year, as wildflowers are a critical component of restoration projects. Forbs provide food for native pollinators and other insects which, in turn, foster a diversity of other creatures. Heritage produces 4,000 pounds of native seed per year on 35 acres in small plots ranging from 1/20th to 1/5th of an acre. Harvest methods include hand, ground cloth capture, shop vac, and cutting with a traditional swather. Crops are threshed using small plot combines from the 1950s. This stop will highlight innovative cleaning equipment and processes, seed inventory management, and the story of how Lynda Boyer began the Native Seed business at Heritage Seedlings and Liners.
Conference Workshops | Friday & Saturday
When: Friday, February 16, and Saturday, February 17
Cost: $375 (includes all Friday and Saturday workshops and meals)
Leveraging Variety Trials to Advance Organic Seed Systems
Variety trials are a critical tool for fostering organic seed systems. Effective trials aid adoption of organic seed sources, help identify priority traits for plant breeders, and inform regional performance of newly released varieties. Managing trial networks however requires investments in time and resources as well as the informed input of organic farmers and other specialists. This workshop will share insights from experienced on-farm trial coordinators who have developed strategies for conducting effective organic variety trials and leveraging relationships and trial results in the development of regional and organic seed systems. Panelists will share insights into how to coordinate, analyze, and share results from trial networks as well as new tools and examples from programs throughout North America.
Speakers: Julie Dawson, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Alex Lyon, University of British Columbia; Jared Zystro, Organic Seed Alliance and University of Wisconsin-Madison
Crop Planning for Organic Seed Growers
Success and profitability in seed production starts with a solid plan. Hear from two experienced producers on how to work backwards from your goals to determine what, where, when, and how much to plant. This workshop will introduce methods to project yields and estimate production levels for both retail sales and wholesale sales, as well as how to balance labor demands across the harvest season.
Speakers: Daniel Brisebois, Tourne-Sol Co-operative Farm; Sebastian Aguilar, Chickadee Farm
Efficient Methods to Develop New Organic Cultivars: Case Studies of Breeding Strategies That Leverage Farmer Participation and On-farm Testing
Public plant breeding programs often result in the development of exciting new cultivars. How can the organic community leverage these programs to find and develop new populations that serve the needs of organic agriculture? This workshop will explore examples of how using new methods of participatory plant breeding, multi-location organic trials, advanced mating designs, and genomic information can rapidly identify and develop new varieties that excel in organic systems.
Speakers: Jared Zystro, Organic Seed Alliance and University of Wisconsin-Madison; Julie Dawson, University of Wisconsin-Madison; others TBD
Growing Strong Seed the Biodynamic Way
Organic and biodynamic production are both rooted in ecological agriculture and a whole systems approach. Biodynamic agriculture incorporates additional practices and principals to enhance the health and vitality of both the farm and seed crops. Biodynamic practices help plants to develop in a healthy and balanced way, to access the full spectrum of nutrients they need, and to become more resilient to pests, diseases, and extreme climate conditions. Demand for Demeter-certified biodynamic seed is growing among both seed companies and farmers who want the unique quality and vitality of these seeds. Learn how to incorporate biodynamics into your farm operations, specific biodynamic practices that can nurture and enhance the seeds that you grow, what is needed to become certified biodynamic, and where market opportunities are emerging.
Speakers: Thea Maria Carlson, Biodynamic Farmer and Co-Director of the Biodynamic Association; Beth Corymb, Meadowlark Hearth; Jim Fullmer, Biodynamic Farmer and Co-Director of Demeter USA; Marjory House, Biodynamic Farmer and Consultant with Sero Biodynamic Seed
Seed Production in Cages – Challenging, Fun, and Rewarding
Caged seed production can be both challenging and rewarding. Although disease, pest control, and pollinator management can be difficult, the isolation they provide allows for diverse seed production and eliminates the threat of cross pollination with neighboring crops and weedy relatives. This session will illuminate challenges and successes of caged seed production highlighting several crops, and discuss some of the options for cage construction and pollinator management covering a range from small cages for breeding work to larger scale production. Speakers will share their experiences in using cages and managing and raising flies as pollinators for isolation and quality seed production.
Speakers: Shaina Bronstein, Vitalis Organic Seeds; Jen Cody, Growing Opportunities Farm Community Coop; Laurie McKenzie, Organic Seed Alliance; Chris Thoreau, FarmFolk CityFolk; others TBD
Funding and Commercialization Options for Participatory Organic Plant Breeding
Growth in on-farm and participatory breeding projects is manifesting a diversity of new and improved varieties for organic farmers and seed companies. Yet most farmer-participatory projects are either supported by grants or conducted by farmers through personal investment. A growing number of independent farmer-breeders and participatory projects aspire to commercially release new varieties and seek revenues to support ongoing breeding and variety stewardship activities. This workshop will explore case examples and lessons learned from such efforts striving to support the economic and logistical aspects of on-farm plant breeding and varietal release.
Speakers: Micaela Colley, Organic Seed Alliance; Walter Goldstein, Mandaamin Institute; Claire Luby, Open Source Seed Initiative; Theresa Podoll, Farmer Breeder Club and Prairie Road Organic Seed; Tom Stearns, High Mowing Organic Seeds; Pete Zuck, Johnny’s Selected Seeds
Taking Tomatoes Totally Organic
Tomatoes are an interesting crop. They are the poster child for what is wrong with our current system of mass production, long distance shipping, and ever-increasing shelf life. On the other hand, they are one of the easiest crops for amateur breeders and seed savers to experiment with, leading to a wide diversity of backyard breeders, farmer breeders, small seed company, and public-sector actors. Several collaborative efforts bring together diverse stakeholders to improve disease resistance, productivity, and flavor of tomatoes in organic systems including the Tomato Improvement for Organic Agriculture (TOMI), the Northern Organic Vegetable Improvement Collaborative (NOVIC), and a north-central SARE funded project. Presenters will cover basic techniques for tomato breeding, highlight promising varieties evaluated in field and high tunnel environments, and share strategies for selecting for flavor engaging farmers, consumers, and chefs.
Speakers: Jim Myers, Oregon State University; Jared Zystro, Organic Seed Alliance and University of Wisconsin-Madison
The Grain Revolution: From Seed to Plate (or Pint)
A growing demand for regional, organic grains with superior culinary qualities is inspiring a movement of participatory breeding projects that engage stakeholders along the food-chain. Hear the inspiring stories and creative breeding strategies of collaborative grain development projects in France and the US. An action-research project in the Northwest of France aims at the “renaissance of minor cereals” (spelt, einkorn, rivet wheat, buckwheat, and rye) fostered with networks of diversified actors and local food chains. In the Pacific Northwest Region of the US two programs are engaging farmers, millers, bakers, and brewers to develop culinary and agronomic qualities and markets for regionally produced oats, barley, wheat, and spelt.
Speakers: Veronique Chablis, Le Courrier de l’environnement de I’INRA (INRA) and DIVERSIFOOD; Stephen Jones, Washington State University; Brigid Meints, Oregon State University
Building Robust Seed Systems Across Canada: A Model for Bolstering National Seed Security
The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security, a program of USC Canada, has been supporting a national movement to build resilient seed systems in Canada since 2013. Through developing a series of strong regional, national, and international networks with farmers, seed producers, researchers, and partners from civil society, government, and the private sector, The Initiative focuses on conserving, enhancing, and creating new seed biodiversity in Canada. This session will provide an overview on how these networks have been built to support: on-farm research, including a national participatory plant breeding program and research to improve domestic vegetable seed production; biodiversity conservation, including support for community seed collections and in-situ seed conservation efforts; and capacity building, including institutional training and farmer-to-farmer knowledge transfer, financial support for scaling up and diversification of regional seed systems, and efforts to integrate seed into national agricultural and climate policy frameworks. The success of these programs is a direct result of taking a collaborative, farmer-led, solutions-based approach that has bridged sectors and geographies in an attempt to build a national seed system that is resilient to climate change and food security challenges.
Speakers: Abir Dey, The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security; Iris Vaisman, Prairie Organic Grain Initiative; others TBD
Community Seed Systems: New Networks to Build Synergies Among Seed Stewards
A movement of Community Seed Banks (CSBs), seed networks, and seed exchanges is growing in response to restricted access to genetic resources and to the expansion of on-farm seed saving and participatory breeding. Most initiatives aim to address the loss of agricultural genetic diversity and to enhance access to seeds adapted to local conditions that the market does not provide for adequately. Leaders of two projects will share experiences assessing and establishing seed conservation and exchange programs — the European DIVERSIFOOD project and the Community Seed Network (CSN). Presenters will share visions for the future of seed exchanges along with results of a recent survey of European CSBs. Learn about a new unique web platform designed by CSN to help make community seed work visible at an international scale. Presenters will engage in discussions about how vibrant models of community seed systems bolster seed security and enhance biodiversity in the West and globally.
Speakers: Lee Buttala, Community Seed Network and Seed Savers Exchange; Veronique Chable, Le Courrier de l’environnement de I’INRA (INRA) and DIVERSIFOOD; Stephanie Hughes, Community Seed Network and USC Canada
Systems-based Plant Breeding: Adding New Dimensions to Resilience
Current agriculture is contested and under pressure to comply with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, aiming not only at ecological but also at societal resilience. To what extent is the plant breeding sector engaged? What can or should plant breeding contribute to issues such as ecosystem services, food sovereignty, and social justice? These goals are complex and require an integrated approach and a co-learning process to navigate through a diversity of future directions for the plant breeding sector. Additionally, the organic sector is challenged to make further progress to become societally more relevant while focusing on the Sustainable Development Goals.
Speakers: Edith T. Lammerts van Bueren, Wageningen University and Louis Bolk Institute
Building Relationships from Seed to Fork
A movement of community engagement in seed is building as we dig deeper into the origins of our food and strive to invite broad participation in envisioning an ecologically healthy and flavorful food system for the future. Exciting collaborations are connecting people not only to farmers but also to the breeders and growers of the seed at the root of our food system. Discussions will focus on relationship-building seed initiatives led by seed companies, universities, and non-profits that are engaging farmers, breeders, eaters, chefs and others in the supply chain. Presenters will share stories from the field and kitchens. Join us at the nexus of flavor and organic adaptation.
Speakers: Ken Greene, Hudson Valley Seed Company and Seedshed; Lane Selman, Oregon State University; Lindsay Wyatt, Johnny’s Selected Seeds
How to Succeed with Regional Seed
Regionally adapted seed is vital to a more sustainable seed system. Long-time leaders of the seed movement will advise on how to conserve and promote regionally adapted seed, and will explore strategies to foster regional varieties and bioregional diversity into the future.
Speakers: Isaura Andaluz, Cuatro Puertas; Ken Bezilla, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange; Daniela Dutra-Elliot, Hawaii Seed Growers Network and Leeward Community College; Ken Greene, Hudson Valley Seed Company and Seedshed; Bill McDorman, Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance; Jared Zystro, Organic Seed Alliance and University of Wisconsin-Madison
Seed Sovereignty Experiences from the Agricultural Biodiversity Community
The Agricultural Biodiversity Community (ABC) is an international group of advocates who passionately believe that promoting agricultural biodiversity is essential to addressing the world’s most pressing challenges. The small-scale farmers in their networks — the custodians of diverse seed selected and adapted by generations — are finding their genetic heritage rapidly eroding in the face of urban migration, centralized marketing and distribution, and the power of giant seed conglomerates. Panel members from Asia and Africa will discuss efforts to develop local organic seed production and distribution, to fight for seed policies that protect farmers’ rights, to explore IP alternatives that incentivize farmer adaptation and breeding work, and to link heritage varieties with markets and consumers.
Speakers: Zacharia Makanya, Participatory Ecologic Land Use Management (PELUM); Krishna Prasad Govindaiah, Sahaja Samrudha; Ramanjaneyulu GV, Center for Sustainable Agriculture – India; others TBD
Behind the Scenes: Why Seed Companies Drop Beloved Varieties
Frustrated growers who have come to rely on a beloved variety for dependability and market demand often wonder why a seed company would drop a popular and successful variety. The reasons are diverse and can include challenges with seed production (low seed yields, disease, or pollination issues), sales volumes, and inventory management. Breeding companies are continually developing new varieties with better flavor profiles, improved yield potential, disease resistances, as well as more reliable seed vigor and production. Grower participation in the variety development process is critical to ensure that the grower’s preferences are heard, as well as to keep growers at the cutting-edge of the most appropriate varieties for their systems. Learn about the decisions seed companies face when managing varieties, and the role that growers can play to be involved.
Speakers: Heron Breen, Fedco Seeds; Jan van der Heide, Bejo Seeds; Adrienne Shelton, Vitalis Organic Seeds; Pete Zuck, Johnny’s Selected Seeds
Organic Hybrid Seed Production in the U.S. – Methods and Case Studies
New and alternative models of organic hybrid seed production in the US are being explored by both seed growers and seed companies. This workshop will discuss some of the unique opportunities and challenges in specific crop categories. Case studies in hybrid tomato, cucurbit, and corn seed production will be presented and explored to highlight the basic principles of managing hybrid crops, specific techniques used, and economic considerations.
Speakers: Jeffrey Block, Gro Alliance; Jason Cavatorta, EarthWork Seeds; Tom Stearns, High Mowing Organic Seeds; Bill Waycott, Nipomo Native Seeds
Microbial Hitchhikers on Seed: Friend or Foe?
During their lifetime, plants are colonized by a diverse assortment of microorganisms. Some of these microorganisms can be transferred to a plant’s progeny via vertical transmission as seed is produced. Microbes that are vertically transmitted during reproduction could be beneficial, helping seedlings establish, acquire nutrients and withstand biotic and abiotic stress. Others could be plant pathogens, negatively affecting the yield and productivity of crops. Even worse, some could be enteric pathogens, capable of causing gastrointestinal illness and even death in humans. This workshop will provide an overview of how microorganisms are vertically transmitted via seed, research being conducted to better understand how and which types of microbes are transmitted to a plant’s offspring via seed, and practical approaches to prevent transmission of harmful plant and human pathogens on seed.
Speakers: Dan Egel, Purdue University; Jim Myers, Oregon State University
Cultivating Diversity in the Organic Seed Movement: Resilient Seeds and Diverse Communities
Diversity in the seed movement is important for plant genetic resources, but also applies to the communities of stewardship as well. Panelists working with diverse cultural communities will explore collaborative efforts to protect seed and how cultural values can guide the seed and food justice movements. Presenters will share current to preserve culture and build diversity in seed stewardship including efforts from the Indigenous Seed Keepers Network; the Second Generation Seeds project, working with Asian American farmers in the Bay Area of California; Truelove Seeds, a collaboration with urban and rural farmers committed to community food sovereignty and preservation of ancestral foodways through seed keeping; and Seedshed, an initiative focused on seed justice and cross-cultural seed work. The panel will engage in discussions exploring the following questions: Can we envision the Seed Commons and coordinate collaborative efforts to care and protect for our seeds that is in right relationship with a diverse array of voices from unique cultural communities? How does the food justice movement have a place within the organic seed movement? How can this seed work help us embark upon regenerative forms of economic development and production techniques that are alignment with cultural values of the communities we are working with?
Speakers: Ken Greene, Hudson Valley Seed Company and Seedshed; Kristyn Leach, Namu Farm and Second Generation Seeds Project; Owen Taylor, Seed Keeping Project and True Love Seeds; Rowen White, Indigenous Seed Keepers
Intellectual Property Rights and Public Plant Breeding: Opportunity or Oxymoron?
Public plant breeding programs are meant to develop seeds that are kept in the public domain and available for interested farmers and researchers. However, years of declining federal investment in cultivar development have nearly brought the industry to a standstill, and public researchers today must have financial sustainability in the forefront of their minds. How can these two equal needs – to collect royalties and research investments while simultaneously keeping cultivars in the public domain – be balanced? This session will discuss working models and other action-oriented findings coming out of the Intellectual Property Rights for Public Plant Breeding Summit, hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Participants will learn how they can improve the sustainability of public plant breeding programs both on the ground at their own institutions as well as through policy advocacy.
Speakers: Julie Dawson, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Michael Sligh, Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA; Bill Tracy, University of Wisconsin-Madison
The Intersection of Plant Breeding and Federal Policy
With Farm Bill debates heating up, this session will help people in all parts of the movement better understand how their needs with regard to seed are translated into policies at a federal level. This will be an informal discussion on how the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) and other policy groups advocate for legislative change. Participants are encouraged to ask questions regarding the Farm Bill process and its content – there are no dumb questions! We aim to build a bridge between the needs of stakeholders and policy makers on Capitol Hill. This session will include a short presentation on Farm Bill priorities that impact seed and breeders and how stakeholders can support these policy proposals. The balance of the time will be facilitated as a roundtable discussion and Q&A.
Speakers: Kanika Gandhi, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition; Michael Sligh, Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA
Private Sector Solutions to Increasing Organic Seed Usage
Despite tremendous strides in increasing the availability of organic seed, further incentivizing its use is critical for the organic seed sector’s continued expansion. Ongoing efforts to increase the sourcing of organic seed include: improving the regulatory requirement; providing training and education; investing in organic plant breeding and seed research; and developing organic seed databases. This interactive session will cover current seed policy discussions within the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and broader organic community, including a 2017 NOSB proposal to update the organic seed regulation and strengthen guidance for certifiers. The session will emphasize private sector solutions for increasing organic seed sourcing by further developing the relationship between processors, organic growers, and seed providers. Audience members will be encouraged to share perspectives, experiences, and solutions to inform ongoing policy discussions and decisions focused on strengthening organic seed systems.
Speakers: Heron Breen, Fedco Seeds; Gwendolyn Wyard, Organic Trade Association; others TBD
Addressing Intellectual Property Rights in Organic Seed Systems
The proliferation of restrictive intellectual property rights (IPR) that inhibit farmers’ and breeders’ ability to save, exchange, and improve seed is a challenge to the development of organic varieties. Patents are now regularly being issued on many varieties. Although organic seed of certain patented varieties is now being offered by a number of companies, the IPR status of these varieties is not always known and indicated in catalogs, and farmers and gardeners may not know they are buying use-restricted seed. This session provides an update on how IPRs are affecting the organic seed community and what farmers, seed producers, and freelance breeders need to know about these practices.
Speakers: Jack Kloppenburg, University of Wisconsin-Madison; CR Lawn, Fedco Seeds; Frank Morton, Wild Garden Seeds; Jim Myers, Oregon State University
Emerging Technologies in the Development of New Plant Varieties
With a growing understanding of genetics and biochemistry, new technologies are changing our ability to develop new plant varieties. These techniques present the organic community with the challenge of determining which technologies are in line with organic principles and which should be excluded. Claims that newer techniques, such as gene editing, should be allowed in organic agriculture have been met with skepticism. This panel discussion will explain techniques being discussed here in the US and internationally in the context of organic regulations. Participants are invited to weigh in with their own questions and perspectives.
Speakers: Brian Baker, Cornell University; Julie Dawson, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Edith T. Lammerts van Bueren, Wageningen University and Louis Bolk Institute; Jim Myers, Oregon State University
Protecting the Genetic Integrity of Organic Seed
The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) continues to grapple with how to best protect the genetic integrity of seed used in organic systems. Keeping genetically engineered (GE) material out of organic and other non-GE seed remains a challenge to seed producers and farmers. The NOSB is gathering input to inform a proposal on the topic for their upcoming spring 2018 meeting. Some questions that remain unanswered include: What are the best sampling procedures and testing methods? Who bears the brunt of testing costs and the consequences of rejected seed? What, if any, threshold is appropriate and feasible for unwanted GE material in organic and other non-GE forms of seed? NOSB member Harriet Behar will be facilitating this workshop as a listening session to hear first-hand from the organic seed community on how best to address this problem.
Speakers: Harriet Behar, National Organic Standards BoardRegister Now