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Organic Field Day Set at Carrington Research Extension Center

Steve Zwinger, organic research specialist at the Carrington Research Extension Center, discusses his organic trials during a field day at the center. (NDSU photo) Steve Zwinger, organic research specialist at the Carrington Research Extension Center, discusses his organic trials during a field day at the center. (NDSU photo)
Oat production and organic field pea variety development will be among the topics covered.

An organic plot tour and soil health workshop will be held during the North Dakota State University Carrington Research Extension Center’s annual field tours July 18.

The 58th annual field tour will begin at 9 a.m. with registration, coffee and a welcome. The organic/sustainable agriculture plot tour will depart at 9:30 a.m. The indoor soil health workshop will run from 1 to 4 p.m.

The Carrington Research Extension Center and U.S. Organic Grain Collaboration are hosting the tour and workshop. Invited speakers include Dan Barber, an author, chef and co-owner of Blue Hill, a restaurant in New York City, and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, a restaurant in Pocantico Hills, N.Y., and Fred Kirschenmann, a Distinguished Fellow at the Leopold Center and president of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills.

Kirschenmann is scheduled to speak on the future of organic agriculture and Barber will share a chef’s perspective on the use of local and organic grains. They’ll also provide their views on soil health and how it is related to food productions, nutrition, quality and taste.

The morning organic plot tour, “Feeling Our Oats, Giving Peas a Chance and Honoring Our Elders,” will focus on oats, field peas and local grains. Participants will learn about oat varieties and breeding from NDSU oat breeder Mike McMullen.

Other speakers and topics include:

  • Tom Rabaey, General Mills production research agronomist - oat production and current organic research
  • Other General Mills representatives - insight on consumer needs and wants related to oats and cereal grains
  • Jennifer Mitchell Fetch, research scientist for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada - organic oat breeding at the University of Manitoba, with the opportunity to view her oat breeding lines that are being developed for organic production
  • Steve Zwinger, organic research specialist at the Carrington Research Extension Center - oats for forage, with a look at an experimental oat line bred for forage
  • Noreen Thomas, Doubting Thomas Farms, rural Moorhead - marketing oats for local markets
  • Byron Lannoye, Pulse USA - organic field pea variety development, with a focus on new varieties developed exclusively for organic agriculture in a multiyear project through a collaborative effort by Pulse USA, the Northern Plains Sustainable Ag Society Farm Breeding Club and the Carrington center
  • Rich Horsley, NDSU Plant Sciences Department chair and barley breeder - cereal grains for local craft use

The soil health workshop will cover an array of topics, including livestock, cover crops, no-till, weed ecology, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and how field and garden production affect soil health.

Additional speakers include Marisol Berti and Greta Gamig, NDSU scientists; Darrell Oswald, a Wing rancher; Theresa Podoll, Prairie Road Organic Seed, Fullerton; and Hal Weiser, Natural Resources Conservation Service soil health specialist.

Other events the Carrington Research Extension Center is holding July 18 include agronomy, northern hardy fruit and livestock production tours in the morning. The tours will depart at 9:30 and run until noon. Topics for afternoon sessions include fruit production and agronomy.

For more information about the organic/sustainable agriculture program, contact Zwinger or Karl Hoppe, Extension area livestock systems specialist at the center and the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program’s North Dakota co-coordinator, at 701-652-2951, or email Zwinger at or Hoppe at

The Carrington center is 3.5 miles north of Carrington on U.S. Highway 281.

NDSU Agriculture Communication - 2017 - June 21, 2017

Source:Karl Hoppe, 701-652-2951,
Source:Steve Zwinger, 701-652-2951,
Editor:Ellen Crawford, 701-231-5391,
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