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  • Author or Editor: John P.G. McQueen x
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eOrganic is the organic agriculture community of practice (CoP) and resource area for eXtension. eOrganic’s primary community of interest (CoI) is organic farmers and the agricultural professionals who support them. The 250 members of the eOrganic CoP include farmers, researchers, certifiers, and extension/other agricultural professionals. eOrganic’s mission is to build a diverse national CoP and use web technologies to synthesize existing information, emerging science, and practical knowledge into information resources and training materials for its CoI. eOrganic strategies to achieve that mission include collaborative publication, stakeholder engagement, community development, project management, evaluation, and fundraising. eOrganic’s public site currently offers 240 articles, 250 videos, 80 webinars and broadcasts, and 100 frequently asked questions (FAQs). eOrganic CoP members have answered more than 1000 “Ask an Expert” questions. eOrganic authors collaboratively develop articles in eOrganic’s collaborative workspace, which undergo review by two anonymous reviewers and National Organic Program (NOP) compliance review. eOrganic will offer online courses in 2012. eOrganic stakeholders evaluated eOrganic articles and videos in 2010 and overall they stated that they were relevant, science-based, and useful. Three quarters of webinar and broadcast participants said the webinar improved their understanding of the topic, and 83% said they would recommend the webinar to others. Sixty-nine percent of webinar survey respondents stated that they changed practices or provided others with information as the result of the webinar. eOrganic surveyed active CoP members in 2011. Members view eOrganic as important because it is the only national organic agriculture resource with direct ties to university research and they considered all of eOrganic’s core activities important. eOrganic is supported by small grants from eXtension and subawards in more than 20 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) research/extension projects. To enhance its financial sustainability, eOrganic will work to solidify its partnership with NIFA programs and diversify its funding sources to include course fees and underwriters.

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The objective of this study was to determine if there are growth differences in geranium (Pelargonium ×hortorum ‘Maverick Red’) produced in fresh or aged douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) bark (DFB). A second objective was to document nitrogen (N) immobilization and decomposition rates of fresh and aged DFB to better understand the cause of growth differences. A series of experiments to measure plant response, N draw-down index (NDI), and percentage of cumulative carbon (C) loss were conducted on fresh and aged DFB. Geranium plugs were transplanted to containers filled with fresh or aged DFB. Treatments were arranged in a 2 × 3 factorial with two DFB ages (fresh and aged) and three N fertilizer rates (200, 300, and 400 mg·L−1). Plant growth was affected by DFB age in that geraniums were smaller when grown in fresh DFB. N draw-down analysis demonstrated that a large fraction of N in solution was immobilized in fresh and aged DFB. Carbon loss, measured as a gauge of bark decomposition, was not affected by N rate or bark type. Similarities in C loss between fresh and aged DFB agree with the similar N immobilization potential (NDI) in the two materials.

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