- Author: Alison L Kent
Organic certification is almost complete for over 8 acres within the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center. The acreage also has an apiary extension/teaching field laboratory with flowering pasture. The U.S. organic market is relatively new, with the USDA only adopting national standards for organics in October 2002. Trends in organic farming show that the vegetable and fruit market has grown about 50% since 2011. Farmers are often willing to make the transition to organic farming because they can command much higher prices for their produce, though the organic certification process can be lengthy and rigorous. In response to the increasing demand for organic farming, KARE's 8 acres were identified in 2006 to develop a field for meeting organic protocols.
An organic alfalfa research project evaluating seeding dates, weed pressures, companion planting and cultural practices for weed control and yield data was recently successfully completed. This year, an organic alternative to conventional soil fumigation for crown gall control in walnut nursery settings has been initiated. Anaerobic soil disinfestation is being evaluated as a novel approach for control of soil borne pathogens.
Kearney’s Research Advisory Committee welcomes research proposals from those interested in working on alternatives to conventional growing methods. See Research Proposal Forms for more information on applying for research funds.