Colloquium: Advances and Critical Issues in Breeding Cultivars for Organic Cropping Systems and Developing Methods of Organic Seed Production

To bring together researchers across the U.S. conducting cultivar development for organic systems, organic cultivar trialing, and organic seed research, allowing for the dissemination of information and the opportunity to forge new research directions and collaborations.
Organic crop production requires inputs and practices that emphasize holistic approaches for soil and fertility management as well as disease, insect, and weed control.  Organic growers are increasingly looking for crop cultivars that are well adapted to organic growing conditions that exhibit desirable yield potential and market qualities demanded by the organic consumers, including superior nutrition and exceptional flavor.  Plant breeders have increased the yield potential of horticultural crops in conventional production systems, but many organic growers either rely on 19th or 20th century heirloom varieties that often lack the productivity, disease resistance, and other quality traits incorporated into contemporary varieties, or they choose to grow unadapted contemporary varieties bred specifically under and for conventional production conditions.  Among the critical issues facing organic growers today is the need for improved cultivars developed for and optimized specifically for organic production systems.  Recent research findings have shown that cultivar performance may differ markedly between organic and conventional systems.  Over the last 3–5 years, several funding sources have increasingly focused on this issue as a priority area for organic agriculture research and development. Several research projects in this field have completed their initial phases, thus providing a solid foundation of data and insights on which to base this timely and pertinent colloquium.  This forum will allow attendees to obtain a broad perspective on the state of cultivar development for organic production and its approaches and methodology, as well as future prospects.  It will focus primarily on vegetable crop breeding, and other crops to a lesser extent.  The major topics include: genetic gain through selection in organic environments; models for farmer-breeder partnerships; unique traits for enhanced organic variety performance and marketability; variety trial experimental design and participatory methods; developing cultivars resistant to GMO contamination; and open-source models for germplasm development.  In addition, attendees of this colloquium will also have the opportunity to network with other researchers with similar interests in this important field, thus better positioning their research to be competitive in forthcoming grant funding opportunities.  Strong support from other working groups (WG) further substantiates the importance and timeliness of this colloquium.  To date, confirmed co-sponsorships include the Vegetable Breeding WG, Seed and Stand Establishment WG, and Local Food Systems WG.
Monday, July 22, 2013: 2:00 PM
Springs Salon F (Desert Springs J.W Marriott Resort )
2:30 PM
Breeding for Traits Unique to Organic Production Systems
Philipp W. Simon, USDA; John P. Navazio, Organic Seed Alliance
3:00 PM
An Evolutionary-participatory Approach for Breeding Self-pollinating Cereals in Organic Systems
Kevin Murphy, Washington State University; Arron Carter, Washington State University; Stephen Jones, Washington State University
3:30 PM
The Value of Farmer-based Participatory Plant Breeding for Organic Systems
Micaela Colley, Organic Seed Alliance; John P. Navazio, Organic Seed Alliance; Jared Zystro, Organic Seed Alliance
4:00 PM
See more of: Colloquia