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Conducting On-Farm Variety Trials to Manage Risk for Organic and Specialty Crop Producers Part 2

Join eOrganic for a 2-part webinar on how to conduct on-farm variety trials to reduce risk on organic and specialty crop farms. The goal of this two-part webinar series is to provide horticultural crop and small grain growers with the skills and information necessary to conduct effective on-farm trials, and manage risk in crop variety and seed sourcing decisions. These webinars include new perspectives from organic certifiers, updated methods for conducting simple and effective on-farm trials, and an introduction to new user-friendly online data analysis tools. This webinar series is open to all, but most appropriate for growers with at least two seasons of production experience. The webinars take place on March 20 and April 11, 2018, and they are free and open to the public. Advance registration is required.

Find the recording and an on farm variety trial toolkit at

About the Webinars

Identifying optimum genetics through variety trials is an important risk management tool for organic producers. Well-suited varieties provide farmers with crops that perform optimally in particular climatic and management conditions, withstand pest and pathogen pressure, and meet market demands. These webinars are offered through a collaboration between Organic Seed Alliance, University of Wisconsin- Madison, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES), and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency.

Webinar 1: Trial planning, planting, and management. March 20, 2018

This webinar will introduce farmers to the practice of variety trialing, detailing the reasons one might choose to conduct trials and how to plan a trial with a scope, scale, and focus appropriate to the growers’ needs. This session will also cover seed sourcing, and important considerations for trial planting and management.

Webinar 2: Trial evaluation, analysis, and interpreting results. April 11, 2018

This webinar will focus on record-keeping and trial evaluation, as well as analysis and interpretation of final results. This session will introduce participants to some intuitive techniques for keeping data organized, and user-friendly online tools to aid in analyzing information collected and drawing conclusions from trial results.

About the Presenters

Micaela Colley is the Program Director of the Organic Seed Alliance. She leads OSA’s research and education programs focused on organic seed production and organic plant breeding.

Dr. Julie Dawson,Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin- Madison. She is Assistant Professor for Urban and Regional Food Systems in the Department of Horticulture at UW-Madison. Her research focuses on variety trialling and breeding for organic systems in the upper Midwest.

Jared Zystro, Research and Education Assistance Director, Organic Seed Alliance. Jared manages regional organic seed system development in California, conducts participatory breeding projects and variety trials, and teaches farmers about seed production and plant breeding at workshops, conference, and field days, and collaborates on other projects throughout the country.

Kitt Healy, Midwest Research and Education Associate, Organic Seed Alliance. Kitt manages OSA’s research and education programming in the Midwest region, and is an outreach associate in Dr. Julie Dawson’s lab at UW-Madison.

This material is funded in partnership by USDA, Risk Management Agency, under award number RM17RMEPP522C027/4500075447.

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