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Organic farming has increased to a $6 billion industry in the U.S. and continues to expand 20% annually. In Iowa, organic acreage for all crops has increased from 13,000 in 1995 to 130,000 in 1999. Most organic farmers rely on crop rotations, compost, or manure applications, and cover crops to maintain soil fertility. In our trials at the Iowa State Univ. Muscatine Island Research Farm, a cover crop of hairy vetch (Vicia villosa) and rye was seeded in the fall and incorporated 2 weeks prior to transplanting `Lantern' pepper plants. Other organic and conventional soil treatments were applied at transplanting and at 3 weeks post-planting. Four replications of 40 peppers transplanted at 31 × 61-cm spacing under seven fertilization treatments were observed for plant growth and yields. The fertilization goal was to obtain equivalent nitrogen and calcium rates in the organic and conventional systems. Plants fertilized with the compost at 88 kg/ha N plus BioCal® (a liming industry by-product) were not significantly greater in leaf biomass than plants conventionally fertilized with equal amounts of N. All organic and conventional treatments had greater biomass and yield than the organic and conventional controls (no fertilizer), respectively (P = 0.05). Pepper fresh weight was greater in the vetch-strips treatment than in the vetch-incorporated, and the 44 kg/ha N compost treatment, but significantly less than the conventionally fertilized plants. Second year results demonstrated similar results to the 1998 trial where the greatest yields in the organic system occurred in the compost at 88 kg/ha N plus BioCal® treatment, demonstrating to organic farmers that comparable yields can be obtained in systems employing alternatives to synthetic nitrogen fertilizer.

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Poster Session 39—Organic Production 30 July 2006, 1:15–2:00 p.m.

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Homestead and organic farming systems are the main sources of commodities sold at farmers' markets in Hawaii. Consumers are attracted because the products are generally accepted as safe and of premium nutritional quality. Markets were frequented by many groups, including senior citizens. Two models were studied in urban and rural Hawaii, respectively, to determine the support systems that make then function properly with special attention to the postharvest technology component of operations. Innovative preparation, presentation, and display methods were observed for bananas, ethnic vegetables, and herbs. Homestead and organic farmers work in the mornings and strict use of shade is significant in maintaining freshness from produce temperature standpoint. Hawaiian fresh produce distribution models that emphasize grower participation as found in this study could rapidly expand the horticultural industry and reduce postharvest losses significantly if adopted by developing countries.

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We thank Fetzer Vineyards (Ukiah, Calif.), Robert Mondavi Vineyards (Rutherford, Calif.), the Univ. of California Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, the Organic Farming Research Foundation (Santa Cruz, Calif.) for their

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We thank the Organic Farming Research Foundation for funding this evaluation of summer cover crop species. We also thank Jane Frampton, Joe Difeo, and Tim Mathews for their technical support, and the staff at the Tidewater Research Station

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through grants from the Organic Farming Research Foundation, USDA-CSREES NESARE Program, and Massachusetts State IPM funds. Use of trade names does not imply endorsement of the products named or criticism of similar ones not named.

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New Mexico State University has designed a course in Organic Vegetable Production centered on a working CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Farm. This project, named “OASIS” (Organic Agriculture Students Inspiring Sustainability), was funded by a 3-year USDA Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) grant from 2002–05. The project has multiple objectives, including: to provide students with a multi-disciplinary experiential educational opportunity; to investigate the feasibility of small-scale organic drip-irrigated farming in the Chihuahuan desert; to demonstrate the CSA model to the local community; and to trial vegetable varieties. The class is co-listed in the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences and the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business. Recently, the class was adopted in the Honors College and also became part of the General Education (G) program at NMSU. The course meets twice a week during two 2-h class periods. In-class time is divided between lectures, active learning projects, and work at the 0.26-ha field plot. The class content covered by the instructors includes organic regulations, history of CSAs and organic agriculture, evaluating the profitability of CSAs, the production of specific vegetable crops, planting and harvesting procedures, and postharvest requirements. Guest speakers are also part of the regular class structure and have discussed various topics such as beneficial insects, tillage, cover cropping, and weed management. The “living classroom” allows for these lectures to draw upon the experiences of students working on the farm. Although the course presents several challenges, the hands-on experience gained by the students is considered to be invaluable.

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The Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) is dedicated to developing farming systems that are environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable. Established in 1994 at the North Carolina Dept. of Agriculture Cherry Farm near Goldsboro, CEFS has >2000 acres (1000 cleared). This unique center is a partnership among North Carolina State Univ., North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State Univ., North Carolina Dep. of Agriculture and Consumer Services, nongovernmental organizations, and other state and federal agencies, farmers, and citizens. Long-term cropping systems that integrate the broad range of factors involved in agricultural systems is the focus of the Cropping Systems Unit at CEFS. The USDA SARE program has provided funding to help establish a comprehensive long-term, large-scale experiment. Data collection and analyses include comprehensive soil and water quality, pests and predators (weeds, insects, and disease), crop factors (growth, yield, and quality), economic factors (viability, on/off farm impact, and community), and energy issues. Systems being compared are a successional ecosystem, plantation forestry/wood lot, integrated crop/animal production system, organic production system, and a cash-grain cropping system (BMP). An interdisciplinary team of scientists from almost every department from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, along with faculty from North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State Univ., NGO representatives, and farmers are collaborating in this endeavor. Challenges and opportunities in building collaborative teams and setting up such long-term trials will be discussed.

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