September 10, 2019

Hilton, Baltimore, MD

Strategic partnerships to build a scaffolding for prioritizing research projects to address the top needs of the organic community

 For more a map of where the event will take place inside the Hilton, click here.

9:00-9:15am                  Welcome, Opening Remarks and Introductions

9:15-10:15am                 Organic Research Opportunities

Researchers will set the stage for how the direction of the organic industry could be advanced through additional research by discussing the advances that have been made because of past scientific studies, and what would be possible with additional research focus and funding. Topics will focus on synergies between soil health, climate change, weed ecology, and breeding within the organic sector.


Brise Tencer, Organic Farming Research Foundation


Steven Mirsky, USDA, ARS

Erin Silva, University of Wisconsin

Jim Myers, Oregon State University

David Suchoff, North Carolina State University

10:15-10:45am               Break

10:45-11:45am               Advancing Organic in the Field

Farmers and extension agents will examine the challenges that they face on the farm that could be addressed by research.  They will discuss the value of past research and examples of research that have helped production, while focusing on systems-based questions that would enhance their ability to holistically manage weeds with techniques that combine organic-specific breeds and soil health.


Dan DeSutter, DeSutter Farms

Heather Darby, University of Vermont / The Darby Farm

Matt Fry, Fair Hill Farm

Doug Crabtree, Vilicus Farms

11:45-12:00pm               Update: GRO Organic Voluntary Research, Promotion, & Edu. Program

This brief session will provide an update on the effort to advance a voluntary industry-invested organic research, promotion and education check-off-like program, referred to as “GRO Organic”. This is a private-sector initiative that will be collaboratively designed and implemented by organic stakeholders, with an opt-in strategy that pools resources to collectively address critical needs across the organic sector.

12:00-1:00pm                Lunch

1:00 – 2:00pm               Sector-wide Collaboration

Industry involvement has launched the success and increased the impact of many organic research projects. Private-public partnerships, industry funding of extension, and full-chain level communication is critical for the success of organic research. This session will be feature panelists sharing their perspective on the value of research engagement, and ways that research could drive the organic industry forward.


Britt Lundgren, Stonyfield

Mike Menes, True Organic Products

Logan Peterman, Organic Valley / CROPP Cooperative

2:00 – 3:30pm               Break-out Discussions

Discussion groups will synthesize the information presented in the panels with participant knowledge and experiences to identify areas that will enable advancement of the organic sector as a whole. Each group will have representation from multiple organic groups and areas of expertise to facilitate holistic approaches to these issues.

Breakout Rooms:

Group A           Key Ballroom 2    

Group B           Key Ballroom 3    

Group C           Key Ballroom 4     

3:30-4:00pm                  Breakout Group Summaries and Concept Presentations

Groups will summarize outcomes from their discussions and present their concepts to the rest of the convening participants.

4:00-4:30pm                  Interactive Concept Selection

Convening participants will select concepts that they believe will have the greatest impact in shifting our understanding of how to overcome challenges to the organic sector, and that they would be interested in investing in.

4:30-5:00pm                  Synthesis Discussion and Development of Recommendations

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