Two men standing together in the middle of a wheat field, both looking down at the laptop computer in the hands of the man on the right

Oregon Tilth

Generating Soil Health Solutions

Program Contact

Dr. LaKisha Odom

Year Awarded   2022

Total award amount   $50,000

Location   Corvallis, OR

Matching Funders   The Organic Center

Training & Technical Support Advance Organic Agriculture

The $350,000 Organic Training for Agricultural Professionals Prize recognizes extraordinary contributions to training farmers, agriculture professionals and community organizations in organic production. In selecting the 2022 prize winners, The Organic Center and FFAR prioritized farmer-led projects with the potential for expansion and multi-regional impact. Organizations were also selected based on their project’s ability to increase diversity, equity and inclusion among participants and on the extent to which they included measurable, in-person and online knowledge exchange between farmers and organic agriculture professionals. Applicants were required to match the award amounts.

Why this research is important

Organic farming is poised to be part of the climate change solution; organic farmers do not rely on fossil-fuel intensive synthetic inputs to manage pests or increase soil fertility and use farming techniques that sequester carbon in the soil. However, more work is needed to understand specific strategies organic growers can adopt to mitigate climate change, while managing the negative effects climate change is having on their farms through drought, flooding, invasive pests and extreme weather events.

Transitioning to organic farming can be confusing, costly and labor-intensive. This partnership with The Organic Center provides a much-needed opportunity for agriculture professionals to educate more farmers about organic farming best practices so we can sustainably meet consumers’ growing demand for organic products and support thriving farms. LaKisha Odom, Ph.D.
Scientific Program Director Soil Health

Details About this Research

Increasing Education for Certified Organic Producers and Those Interested in Transitioning to Organic Farming

Oregon Tilth offers education programs for certified organic producers and those interested in transitioning to organic production practices. In addition to farmers, Oregon Tilth has strategically focused on building an organic farming support network with agriculture professionals at state and federal agencies, universities and other organizations. This award supports the continued success of Oregon Tilth’s conservation, transition and farm viability education and trains additional farmers and agriculture professionals in organic certification, organic regulations, production practices and profitability tools. It also facilitatse the convening of organic certifiers to explore ways to streamline linkages between USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service support and the organic certification process.

Training farmers and agricultural professionals in organic certification, organic regulations, production practices and profitability tools

Conservation: To convene a group of organic certifiers to explore ways to streamline the linkages between NRCS support and organic certification.

Transition: To provide more one-on-one support to producers interested in transitioning to organic.

Farm Viability: In collaboration with Oregon State University (OSU), Oregon Tilth has created farm viability programs to support the profitability of organic farms. Crop-specific cost information is foundational to operating viable farm businesses, yet many farmers don’t have these vital business records. The Know Your Cost To Grow (KYCTG) online curriculum and cost calculation app they developed with OSU helps producers develop and utilize cost information.

To expand the reach of this innovative program, Oregon Tilth is training agricultural professionals to incorporate KYCTG into their programing so they can directly support more farmers. With this prize, Oregon Tilth expands its one-on-one Business Technical Assistance to certified organic producers with a focus on providing the support needed to overcome internal business management challenges.

How This Research Contributes to Our Mission

This research develops and deploys the latest technology and knowledge to help farmers build and maintain healthy, productive soil and to protect farmers’ livelihoods and the environment, while increasing productivity.

Matching Funders

The Organic Center's mission is to convene credible, evidence-based science on the health and environmental impacts of organic food and farming and to communicate the findings to the public. The Center is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) research and education organization operating under the administrative auspices of the Organic Trade Association.

Connect: @OrganicCenter

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