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Learn How to Grow Seed and Breed New Organic Varieties

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 11, 2017

CONTACT
Cathleen McCluskey, Organic Seed Alliance, [email protected], (360) 472-0247

Learn How to Grow Seed and Breed New Varieties
August training will teach specialty crop farmers how to breed and produce organic seed

Arcata, CA — Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) will host a hands-on training in Davis, California, this August. The event will teach farmers and students the fundamentals of plant breeding, and the basics of seed biology and organic seed production. Space is limited so interested participants are encouraged to register early.

When: August 10, 2017
Where: The classroom component will take place at the University of California-Davis, Bowley Science Center in Davis, California. The field component will be held at the UC Davis Student Farm in Davis, California.
Cost: $25 includes training and catered lunch
Register: Click here or visit www.seedalliance.org/events

This training is designed for vegetable farmers with a strong interest in developing new organic varieties and producing seed using organic farming methods. Jared Zystro of OSA, and Julie Dawson and Bill Tracy of University of Wisconsin-Madison will provide hands-on instruction on the basic principles and practices for evaluating, developing, improving, and maintaining both cross-pollinated and self-pollinated plant varieties on their farm, including making crosses. Participants will also receive a brief overview of seed biology, how to manage population size and isolation distances and seed production, harvesting, cleaning, and storage best practices.

The course is intended for farmers, researchers, and agricultural students. Prior experience in seed growing is recommended. Participants are encouraged to review OSA’s publications and tutorials at www.seedalliance.org/all-publications before the course.

This event is being supported by Gaia Fund and the Organic Research and Extension Initiative grant, part of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Awards #2014-51300-22223 and 2015-51300-24157.

Organic Seed Alliance advances ethical seed solutions to meet food and farming needs in a changing world

This hands-on training will teach farmers and students the fundamentals of plant breeding, and the basics of seed biology and organic seed production.

Seed Breeding and Research

Diversification is a central tenet of any good risk management plan, whether applied to business and finance, or food and farming. In agriculture, biological diversity is key to ensuring success: having a variety of well-adapted crops not only reduces the impacts of extreme weather, pests, and disease, it also protects against price fluctuations in the market. Today, however, we are increasingly losing diversity where it counts the most – our seed stocks.

Historically, control over our national seed stocks and breeding research laid in the hands of our country’s farmers and land-grant institutions. However, over the last several decades, the development of our seeds, the foundation of our national food supply, has become increasingly consolidated and privatized. Because our investment in public plant breeding has not kept pace with the expansion of privatized research, innovation and growth has been stifled, our national seed stocks and breeding research has become less diverse, and our food supply less secure.

By supporting public plant breeding research, we can better ensure that all farmers have access to high performing, locally adapted seeds – no matter where they farm or what they grow. Expanding publically-supported, farmer-driven research and plant breeding will also give farmers more choice and control, allowing producers viable alternatives to privately-owned corporations, which typically focus less on breeding, and often prohibit the saving and replanting of their seeds through restrictive contracts and legal stipulations.

The farm bill should invest in the resiliency of our food system, expand opportunities for innovation and new markets, and bring choice and diversity back to agricultural research and seed breeding. By investing in farmers’ most foundational tool – the seed – we can help to ensure a sustainable and robust American food system for years to come. This bill should keep American agriculture competitive and resilient by:

  • Choice: Expanding quality seed options, giving farmers the freedom to choose what and how to grow.
  • Sustainability: Ensuring the security and sustainability of our food system through research that furthers crop diversity.
  • Efficiency: Improving coordination and transparency to make strategic public and private investments.

Seed Breeding and Research Diversification is a central tenet of any good risk management plan, whether applied to business and finance, or food and farming. In agriculture, biological diversity