- Fruits: melons
- Vegetables: cucurbits, sweet corn, tomatoes
- Education and Training: extension, networking
- Farm Business Management: cooperatives
- Production Systems: organic agriculture
We anticipate two short-term outcomes of this planning grant. First, we will increase interaction among farmers, extension personnel and researchers by organizing an advisory board committed to facilitating research and refining outreach activities related to organic vegetable crop production. Second, we will use information collected in a survey of vegetable farmers in Indiana and input from the advisory board to develop and prioritize research and outreach goals. These goals will be used to guide the research and outreach efforts of our newly formed Organic Research Unit. Thus, we will increase collaboration among farmers and university personnel and the impact of farmer knowledge and needs on the development of research and outreach activities. The long-term outcome of this project will be to provide farmers with relevant information on farm management systems and practices that will 1) allow conventional farmers to assess the merits of transitioning to organic agriculture and 2) enable organic farmers to optimize their management practices and productivity.
Project objectives from proposal:
A survey will be developed and distributed to organic and conventional vegetable growers in Indiana with the assistance of the Indiana Agriculture Statistics Service (IASS). The survey will focus on the following areas: knowledge of conventional farmers regarding organic agriculture, interest of conventional farmers in transitioning to organic, current management practices and perceived barriers to transitioning. We will ask growers about current weed management practices and the relevance and effectiveness of current research and outreach efforts. The results of the survey will be presented to an advisory board consisting of farmers, researchers and extension personnel. The advisory board will use the survey results and group discussions to develop and prioritize research and outreach goals.