Project Title: Advancing Organic Agriculture in the Mid-South
Winrock’s Advancing Organic Agriculture in the Mid-South project takes a research- and evidence-based approach to generate and share practical information to farmers who are interested in transitioning to, and/or becoming certified organic producers. Focusing on the three mid-Southern states of Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee ── where organic production lags behind much of the rest of the country the project addresses challenges unique to farmers and crops grown in the region, including problems with weeds, insects, and diseases. Through controlled scientific trials on cropping and management, the project will demonstrate successful organic systems on farm-scale plots in the three states, and will offer training and education opportunities both to the public and to farmers who want to transition to organic production, helping to guide them through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) organic certification process. The project will create a “community of practice” for new organic farmers in the Mid-South, a space to share ideas, learn about practical production and marketing strategies, and mentor new farmers transitioning to organics. The approach aims to increase the comfort level and practical knowledge of producers as they explore organic farming, increasing the likelihood that they will enter organic production. The project is conducted in collaboration with USDA’s Ag Research Service, the University of Arkansas, the University of Missouri, the Natural Soybean and Grain Alliance, and Tennessee-based Agricenter International.