Mark Schonbeck has worked for 29 years as a researcher, consultant and educator in sustainable and organic agriculture. He has participated in on-farm research into mulching, cover crops, minimum tillage, and nutrient management for organic vegetables; and participated in a USDA Conservation Innovation Grant, Integrating Sustainable and Organic Agriculture into NRCS Programs. He is working with OFRF in a review of USDA organic research, funded through an OREI analytical grant Taking Stock: Analyzing, Assessing and Reporting Organic Research Investments – 2002-2014.
Mark offers individual consulting in soil test interpretation and soil, crop, and weed management for sustainable farmers, and provided this service to VABF members participating in three Specialty Crop Block Grants on organic squash and tomato production (2008-15). He helps edit the VABF quarterly newsletter, and serves as policy advocacy liaison between VABF and National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.
Virginia’s Organic Future: Research
Mark Schonbeck will summarize results of an analysis of 13 years of USDA funded organic agriculture research, conducted by Organic Farming Research Foundation. How well did the Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) and Organic Transitions Program (ORG) address organic research priorities, particularly for Virginia producers? Did projects engage producers as active partners in research and outreach? Were practical tools and information effectively delivered to producers? After panel members Doug Pfeiffer (VA Tech Extension) and Harbans Bhardwaj (Virginia State) share their perspectives on organic research in Virginia, we will have an open discussion of these endeavors and future organic research priorities – come share your perspectives and priorities.