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Learn about organic farming from university experts

Posted 1/4/2010

In a Jan. 12 webinar Dale Nordquist, Center for Farm Financial Management at the University of Minnesota, will describe the Minnesota Organic Farm Business Management Project and show three years of results of organic farm financial performance in Minnesota.

While there is anecdotal information about organic farm performance and profitability, documented information about production, financial performance and profitability on organic farms is scarce.

Since 2006, researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Farm Financial Management and their partners have been collecting and analyzing farm financial data on organic farms and integrating them into FINBIN, one of the world’s largest and most accessible sources of farm financial and production benchmark information.

The documented financial performance of participating organic producers will provide more accurate benchmarks to evaluate organic options. Organic producers and researchers can provide the data to agricultural lenders to help with credit decisions and to policy makers for insight into organic farm performance.

A Jan. 19 webinar will focuse on the basics of organic certification.

Thinking about getting certified, but don’t know where to start? Have questions about the USDA organic standards? National organic expert Jim Riddle, University of Minnesota, will explain the National Organic Program crop production requirements and certification process.

Jim Riddle has worked for more than 26 years as an organic farmer, inspector, author, policy analyst and educator. He was the first chair of the International Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA) and co-author of the IFOAM/IOIA International Organic Inspection Manual. He has trained hundreds of organic inspectors throughout the world. Jim served on the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Organic Advisory Task Force from 1991-2009 and was instrumental in passage of Minnesota’s landmark organic certification cost-share program. Since 2006 Jim has worked as the University of Minnesota’s Organic Outreach Coordinator. Jim is former chair of the USDA’s National Organic Standards Board and is a leading voice for organic agriculture.

The hour-long webinars are designed for growers, industry professionals, Extension professionals and anyone interested in organic farming. They are at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (1 p.m. CST, 12 noon MST, 11 a.m. PST)

Space is limited so reserve your place now.

eOrganic from eXtension is at http:www.extension.org/organic_production. It’s for farmers, ranchers, agricultural professionals, certifiers, researchers and educators seeking reliable information on organic agriculture, published research results, farmer experiences and certification. The current information is focused on general organic agriculture, dairy production and vegetable production. The content is collaboratively authored and reviewed by university researchers and Extension personnel, agricultural professionals, farmers and certifiers with experience and expertise in organic agriculture.

eXtension is an educational partnership of more than 70 land-grant universities helping Americans improve their lives with access to timely, objective, research-based information and educational opportunities. eXtension currently has 25 resource areas on the Web. The site has free learning lessons, answers to frequently-asked questions, news and a way to ask individual questions on “Ask an Expert.” Land-grant universities were founded on the ideals that higher education should be accessible to all, that universities should teach liberal and practical subjects and share knowledge with people throughout their states.

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