Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Organic Production & Certification Class for New & Transitioning Growers begins in January

Organic Production & Certification Class for New & Transitioning Growers begins in January

A class for farmers wanting to begin or transition to

Commercial-Scale, Certified Organic

Production Of Vegetable and Fruit Crops

Have you heard about expanding sales opportunities for Organic growers? Perhaps you feel that your farm is too small to break into the conventional commercial vegetable market? Do you have some land that has been idle for a few years, and now are looking to put it into potentially profitable production? Do you want to farm more sustainably? Answering yes to any of these questions may mean that the upcoming class series on Organic Production is right for you. Whether you eventually choose to become a Certified Organic producer or not, the classes will be filled with information on proven techniques for successfully growing vegetable, small-fruit, and field crops while building your soils’ health and foregoing the use of synthetic chemicals on your farm.

This class series is geared toward growers who are already set-up for commercial scale production (e.g. - 1-acre of ready-to-be-certified-organic field land or more), and wish to enter the expanding Certified Organic Market, but smaller-scale growers are welcome, and many have found past versions of this class to be helpful as well. Topics covered will include soils & fertility, disease identification & control, insect identification & control, weed management, post-harvest handling, certification & record-keeping, and marketing to wholesale buyers.

The clasess will meet on Wednesdays, from 6:30-8:30 PM, at the Watauga County Agricultural Conference Center during the winter and early Spring of 2012.

Participating growers will receive books on organic agriculture, weed management, disease identification, and organic pest control, plus resource CD’s with additional information on organic production.

Cost: $50 – Class limited to 20 growers


· January 18 – Introduction to Organics & Certification, and Marketing to Wholesale buyers

· February 25 – Planning Your Organic Crops & Rotations

· February 1 – Soils & Fertility in Organic Systems

· February 8 – Weed Management in Organic Systems

· February 15 – Disease Management in Organic Systems

· February 22 – Tying Together Crop Rotation, Soil Fertility, and Weed & Disease Management Into One Coherent System

· February 29 – Insect Management in Organic Systems

· March 7 – Post-Harvest Handling for Selected Crops & Food Safety Considerations

· March 14 – Marketing Organic Crops & Certification Paperwork Wrap-up

· March 21 – Snow Date

· March 28 – Snow Date

· April 4 – Snow Date

Due to the likelihood that one or more of these classes may have to be cancelled due to snow, ice, or other inclement conditions, farmers enrolling this class should reserve their Wednesday nights through April 4, 2012. With luck, the class will be completed by mid-March, but one has to be cautious in these mountain winters…

For more information, call the Watauga County Cooperative Extension office at (828) 264-3061, or e-mail Richard Boylan at

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