BOWLING GREEN, Mo. – University of Missouri Extension is offering a nine-part webinar series on organic production of specialty crops.

The series, which runs Sept. 26 to Nov. 28, begins with an overview of the organic certification process. Other topics include soil and fertility and management of weeds, insects and diseases in organic systems. There also will be individual classes on organic production of tomatoes, leafy greens and berries.

“MU Extension horticulturists work with many fruit and vegetable growers who have an interest in organic production,” says MU Extension horticulturist Justin Keay. “Some want to work towards USDA organic certification, while others are interested in implementing organic practices but not seeking certification.”

Because organic growers have fewer effective crop sprays to deal with insects, diseases and weeds, raising crops organically requires an increased emphasis on integrated pest management (IPM) practices.  “IPM involves thorough planning to prevent the problems that may come, rather than a reactive ‘see and spray’ approach,” Keay says.

“Adopting and integrating IPM practices into crop production systems is a keystone of successful organic producers,” he adds. “It is a systems approach that involves an understanding of the life cycle of pests and the farm as an ecosystem, rather than a ‘do-nothing’ approach that some may associate with organic production.”

Attendees will walk away with a deeper understanding of what is required to successfully produce organic crops, Keay says.

This series will be held 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesdays via Zoom. To register, go to or call the MU Extension Center in Jefferson County at 636-797-5391 by Sept. 24.

There is a fee, but scholarships are available to Missouri Beginning Farmers to cover a portion of the registration cost. Scholarships can be redeemed at registration. Call Keay at 573-324-5464 for more information.

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