We are designing a series of online, interactive educational modules with a focus on the fundamentals of organic agriculture and how to transition to organic farming for agronomic and selected horticultural crops in the Upper Midwest region. We will use these e-learning materials, along with our decision case studies, as part of workshops, classes and training sessions. For examples of other e-learning modules we have developed, please see our All About Corn website.
Topics that will be covered in e-Learning Modules
- What is Organic? NOP guidelines, differences between conventional and organic, organic philosophy, who are organic farmers, and organic farming in our region.
- Resources for Transition: Finding organic seed and inputs, programs for transitioning farmers, and resources for questions.
- Crop Production: Widely-grown agronomic crops (corn, soybean, small grains, alfalfa, field peas, perennial grasses) and horticultural crops (peas, sweet corn, snap beans); production practices and marketability.
- Soil Health: Soil properties, organic matter, tillage, soil conservation, and soil testing.
- Soil Fertility: pH, organic fertilizers (green manures, animal manures, compost, others).
- Crop Rotation: Benefits of diverse rotations (soil health, weeds, insects), allowed rotations under NOP rules, recommended crop sequences, rotation examples for our region.
- Weed Management: Weed biology, cultural weed control, mechanical weed control, equipment, and scouting for weeds.
- Cover Crops: Benefits of cover crops, where to start with cover crops, management strategies.
- Certification and Record Keeping: Organic System Plans, working with certifiers, record keeping, and NOP regulations.
- Marketing: Developing market plans, how to decide which crops to grow, buyer specifications, transportation, storage, and contracts.
- And others!