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Practical Training for On-Farm and Collaborative Plant Breeding: Scaling up Seed Production

Join us for a series of six webinars in January and February 2023. on organic plant breeding for independent plant breeders, farmers interested in selection, regional seed companies and plant breeding students. The webinars will be led by the Organic Seed Alliance and collaborators on a NIFA OREI funded project on collaborative plant breeding project in the Upper Midwest. Although the content will be targeted to the Upper Midwest, much of the material will be relevant to other regions as well. Participants will benefit from online interaction with independent breeders, seed company breeders and farmer breeders from around the U.S. Webinars will be interactive and accompanied by an online resources section. All presentations will take place at 11AM Pacific, 12 Mountain, 1 Central and 2 Eastern Time. Registering just once will allow you to attend all the webinars in the series!

Recordings and additional resources from this series are available at

  • January 10, 2023: Goal Setting and Breeding Project Design. This webinar will explore the early stages of developing a breeding project, identifying the market need for certain traits, articulating clear goals, and designing the project to efficiently achieve the goals. We will cover how to set up organizational systems and use tools such as SeedLinked to streamline data collection. Participants will also learn how to connect with on-farm trial sites and partners.
  • January 17, 2023: Selecting High-quality Breeding Material. This webinar will include how to vet and access breeding material from a variety of sources, and how to define criteria for selecting parents. Specific topics will include using the National Plant Germplasm System and international genebanks, accessing germplasm from other breeding programs, how to write and negotiate Material Transfer Agreements, and best practices for intellectual property protection.
  • January 24, 2023: Management Considerations for Seed Quality. Participants will deepen their understanding of seed-borne diseases and techniques for control. This webinar will include resources and protocols for seed testing in public and private labs, organic-approved seed sanitation procedures, and seed treatment options using hot water or steam. Experts on seed pathology will be presenters and review content. This will be especially relevant to the Upper Midwest, since cold springs and humid summers present challenges in organic seed production.
  • January 31, 2023: Getting to Variety Release. This webinar will provide participants with strategies for navigating the process of variety release and commercialization. It will also include considerations about producing and selling seed in-house versus licensing to a larger seed company. We will cover how to make connections with seed companies, intellectual property options, and how to approach royalty agreement negotiations. Presenters will include representatives from company licensing offices as well as independent breeders with successful licensing agreements.
  • February 7, 2023: Scaling up Seed Production. This webinar will include how to create an enterprise budget for seed production at different scales, including how to do a cost/benefit analysis for producing seed in-house and selling retail, selling wholesale to larger companies, or licensing a variety and letting a third party handle seed production. It will cover how much stock seed to produce for seed company partners to trial, how to maintain breeder and stock seed, how to contract seed production including example contract terms, how to find organic seed production partners and how to conduct quality control for seed produced under contract.
  • February 14, 2023: Data Management and Analysis. Specific topics will be determined based on the interests of the regional network of the collaborative breeding project. They will likely include tracking pedigrees, managing crossing blocks, early generation nursery data management, understanding genotype by environment interactions in multi-locational trials, and how to get the most out of the data analysis tools provided through SeedLinked, and resources for more advanced analysis.

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About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Ag Extension (funding opportunity no. USDA-NIFA-OP-010186), grant no. 2023-41595-41325 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Extension Foundation. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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