Published on 03/31/16

Weekend organic farming workshop features research-based resources for new farmers

By Merritt Melancon

University of Georgia organic agriculture experts and economists are teaming up to present the Organic Farming Workshop to provide farmers with new ways to maximize the ecology and economical sustainability of their farms.

The workshop will run Saturday and Sunday, April 16-17, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at UGA’s Durham Horticulture Farm in Watkinsville, Georgia, just outside Athens.

The two-day workshop will focus on the challenges and promises of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s organic certification, business planning, resources available to small farmers, and hands-on training in disease and insect management and other sustainable farming practices.

Sustainable farming is about more than being able to reliably produce a crop. Certified Naturally Grown and organic farmers have to consistently produce a profit if they want to turn their passion for working the soil into a sustainable business.

Organic production has seen a 10-fold increase in production in Georgia over the past 10 years. There continues to be unmet demand for organically produced vegetables.

This program is designed for the beginning and intermediate grower. Beginners will learn about starting a business as well as the basics of growing organically. This will include information on certification. Intermediate growers will be able to round out their skills and gain some field experience with the help of UGA experts.

“We brought together experts from every area of sustainable production, from integrated pest management specialists and plant pathologists, to farm economists and marketing experts,” said George Boyhan, UGA horticulture professor and workshop organizer. “This is a great chance for new farmers to learn the basics of organic farming and an opportunity for experienced farmers to see what’s involved with the process of becoming organically certified.”

This rare, two-day workshop costs $150, with lunch and snacks provided. Participants need to register by Wednesday, April 6, by downloading the form from

Contact Boyhan at or (706) 231-4137 with questions. A full list of topics covered during the workshop is available at

Merritt Melancon is a public relations manager with UGA's Terry College of Business and previously served as a public relations coordinator for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and UGA Extension.

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