Experiential Education to Form an Extension Organic Production Team in Georgia

2010 Annual Report for ES08-094

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2008: $18,692.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2011
Region: Southern
State: Georgia
Principal Investigator:
Julia Gaskin
University of Georgia

Experiential Education to Form an Extension Organic Production Team in Georgia


We continued training members of the Sustainable and Organic Production Team and conducted training for NRCS personnel.


The initial organic systems production trainings were so successful; we were requested to hold a similar training for Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) personnel. Many NRCS personnel are dealing with increased questions and interest in the EQIP and other programs due to funds being designated for organic production, but they have little experience with organic production. On March 23 and 24, the Sustainable and Organic Production Team conducted a training for 17 NRCS personnel. The first day was in the classroom. The second day, the participants visited several organic farms in the area.

A second training on Organic IPM was held June, 2, 2010. This training leveraged funds from the SARE PDP grant with those from a USDA IPM grant. The training was attended by members of the Sustainable and Organic Production Team, 2 NRCS personnel, and a garden manager from the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. The group met at the Screven County Extension office and heard an overview on organic IPM approaches, and then presentations on organic disease control and biological insect control. We also reviewed an organic IPM worksheet and other resources that were available.

The group then traveled to Walker Farms, a certified organic farm in the area. Relinda Walker gave an overview of the farm and showed the group the pollinator/beneficial insect habitat she had planted along the solid set irrigation lines. The group used sweep nets to catch insects that were identified and discussed potential methods for control. We also walked the field and looked for diseases and talked about potential methods to reduce disease pressure. Finally the group looked at an organic cover crop seed production area that is part of a grant by the Organic Farming Research Foundation.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

The evaluation of the Organic IPM indicated a 20% increase in knowledge after this classroom training. NRCS reports most of their personnel used the Organic Systems Training through increased knowledge and writing more organic contracts.


Jerald Larson

County Agent
Fort Valley State University
Emanuel County Extension PO Box 770
Swainsboro, GA 30401
Office Phone: 4782371226
Jonathan Tescher

Farmer Liaison
Georgia Organics
200-A Ottley Dr
Atlanta, GA 30401
Office Phone: 6787020400
Marc Thomas

Extension Specialist
Fort Valley State University
214 C.W. Pettigrew Center
Fort Valley, GA 31030
Office Phone: 4788256296
George Boyhan

Extesnsion Specialist
University of Georgia
Department of Horticulture 1111 Miller Plant Science Bldg
Athens, GA 30602
Office Phone: 7065422471