The University of Tennessee hs launched a new organic and sustainable crop production program at its Knoxville East Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center.

As part of the initiative, the university has converted the 90-acre facility into an organic crop production research and demonstration unit, according to a news release.

The unit currently has 21 acres under cultivation, with 14 acres of various organic vegetable crops and cover crops in plots that are transitioning to certified organic production. I

It typically takes three years for ground to become certified organic under U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines.

Organic farming systems largely exclude the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. The start of the transition is the date when the last excluded substance was applied to the fields.

The unit includes three high tunnels that will extend the growing season for certain crops.

 The university also has compiled numerous resources on organic production at http://organics.tennessee.edu/.

Also linked on the site is the eOrganic community.

This effort is a national community of Extension professionals who coordinate information about U.S. organic agriculture production including research and learning modules from land-grant universities. 

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