March 18, 2011
On March 16-18, USDA held its first ever Organic Farming Systems Research Conference to explore the agronomic, economic, ecological, and social dimensions of organic farming. The Conference participants included researchers, policymakers, farmers, ranchers and others interested in sharing information on organic farming systems research and shaping the future of organic research, with an emphasis on direct involvement of organic farmers and ranchers.
The agenda and list of speakers for the Conference, held in Washington, DC, is posted here.
The Conference keynote speakers included USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, who helped develop the National Organic Program as a Senate Agriculture Committee staff member, and Professor Douglas Constance of Sam Houston University who focused on the social dimensions of organic production and systems research. USDA Under Secretary for Research, Education & Economics Cathie Wotecki provided a warm welcome to participants on St. Patrick’s Day.
The Cooperative Extension System of the University of the District of Columbia teamed with USDA’s Economic Research Service to provide a livestreaming webcast of many of the presentations at the Conference. These presentations were recorded and will be available for viewing on Extension Systems eOrganic webpage.