Rodale Institute

Kutztown, PA, United States

Rodale Institute

Kutztown, PA, United States

Rodale Institute is an American 501 nonprofit that supports research into organic farming.Rodale Institute was founded in 1947 by J.I. Rodale in Emmaus, Pennsylvania. When J.I. Rodale died in 1971, his son Robert purchased 333 acres and moved the farm to its current site in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. Wikipedia.

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News Article | May 2, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

In the introduction, University of Washington geologist David R. Montgomery writes that he never thought he'd write an optimistic book about the environment. Montgomery's first popular book, "Dirt," was about how erosion undermined ancient civilizations around the world in places like modern-day Syria and Iraq. Yet his new book, "Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life," is a good-news environment story. Available May 9 from W.W. Norton, it comes almost exactly a decade after the book that propelled Montgomery to pop-science stardom. During the years since, he has won a MacArthur Fellowship, also known as a 'Genius Award,' and published several books for general audiences. The success of "Dirt" also brought invitations to speak at farming conferences. Along the way, Montgomery met farmers who talked about successes in restoring health to degraded soils. "I kept running into examples of farmers who had restored fertility to degraded land," said Montgomery, a UW professor of Earth and space sciences. "So I started asking, what did you do? How long did it take? I began to recognize patterns among farmers who had been successful not just in restoring soil, but in restoring profits to their farms." At one event he shared the stage with Howard G. Buffett, Warren Buffett's farmer-philanthropist son, who stressed the importance of restoring health to U.S. soils. American soils are currently estimated to have lost about half their pre-agricultural organic matter -- a key ingredient in fertile soil. "What really impressed me was how he presented examples of real farmers who had restored fertility to their soil, showing the potential for what he called a 'Brown Revolution,'" Montgomery said. After that encounter, Montgomery set out to visit farmers around the world who were restoring their soil. The new book weaves a travelogue with history and science to tell of visits to farms in North and South Dakota, site of the famous Dust Bowl, as well as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Africa and Costa Rica. These farmers use technology ranging from hand-powered machetes to enormous modern no-till seeding machines. Seeing approaches that worked in very different situations, Montgomery sought out the common ground for building fertile soil as a consequence of farming. These farmers had all moved away from tilling their fields, which chops up worms, erodes soil and disrupts beneficial microbes. Instead they focused on boosting soil health, thereby bolstering a crop's natural defenses. "It boils down to a combination of three factors: Park the plow to minimize soil disturbance; grow cover crops, including legumes to get nitrogen and carbon into the soil; and grow a diversity of crops, so that you can break up the pest and pathogen carryover problem," Montgomery said. "Those three principles -- ditch the plow, cover up, grow diversity -- were common among the farmers that had restored degraded soils and returned profitability to their farms." He intentionally did not seek out "alternative" or "environmental" practices. Except for the Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania, the farms he visited were not certified organic. Most farmers were strongly motivated by economic worries and the skyrocketing costs of herbicides, pesticides and diesel. By nurturing healthier soils that can retain water, suppress pests and don't require as much fertilizer, pesticides or work of diesel-powered machines, they reduced their costly inputs by at least 50 percent and up to 90 percent. Beyond the economic payoff for farmers, adopting these practices also produces environmental benefits by reducing chemical use and sequestering carbon from the atmosphere to help counter climate change, Montgomery says. "I think there's a big opportunity to make conventional agriculture more 'organic-ish' by adopting this suite of practices," Montgomery said. "By moving away from high-disturbance, high-input agriculture you can reap many of the benefits of soil health without necessarily going fully organic." Montgomery's most recent book, "The Hidden Half of Nature," co-written with his wife, Anne Biklé, looked at the power of microbes in the soil and in human health. That book told the story of how Biklé nurtured microbial life to restore the soil in their home's yard, seeing results more quickly than they had imagined was possible. "This new book was my attempt to ask the question: Can soil be restored at scale? On real farms, not in some little yard in Seattle. Could it be done on real, commercial farms in the developed world, as well as on subsistence farms in the developing world?" His answer is a strong argument for yes. For more information, contact Montgomery at 206-685-2560 or bigdirt@uw.edu.


Zinati G.M.,Rodale Institute | Seidel R.,Rodale Institute | Grantham A.,Rodale Institute | Moyer J.,Rodale Institute | And 2 more authors.
Weed Technology | Year: 2017

A cereal rye cover crop mulch can suppress summer annual weeds early in the soybean growing season. However, a multi-tactic weed management approach is required when annual weed seedbanks are large or perennial weeds are present. In such situations, the weed suppression from a cereal rye mulch can be supplemented with the use of high-residue cultivators which can prolong the weed-free period during soybean growth. Research trials were conducted to determine the optimum timing of high-residue cultivation for weed control in rolled-crimped cereal rye mulches. Treatments included three cultivation timings with a high-residue cultivator: Early (3-4 wk after soybean planting (WAP)), intermediate (5-6 WAP), and late (7-8 WAP), a weed-free and no-cultivation control. Crop and weed measurement included cereal rye biomass, weed biomass, soybean population and biomass, and yield. Cereal rye biomass was 50% lower and weed biomass was three times greater in 2011 than in 2010 and 2012 due to 2011 being a dry year. There was no significant effect of cultivation timing on soybean population when compared to no-cultivation or hand-weeded treatments. While cultivation reduced weed biomass by 67% compared to no-cultivation, soybean yield was only improved by 12% in early and late cultivation treatments and 22% in intermediate cultivation treatment when compared to no-cultivation. Effective strategies for improving weed management by integrating the use of a high-residue cultivator in no-till organic systems could help existing organic field crop producers to reduce tillage while also encourage adoption of organic crop production by conventional growers who prefer reduced-tillage systems. Unlike traditional organic cultivation equipment, therefore, optimal timing of cultivation should be delayed several weeks in organic cover crop-based no-till planted soybean production as compared to the typical tillage-based approach to ensure both weed control and optimal yield. Nomenclature: Cereal rye, Secale cereale L.; soybean, Glycine max L. © Weed Science Society of America, 2017.


Douds D.D.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Carr E.,Rodale Institute | Shenk J.E.,Shenks Berry Farm | Ganser S.,Eagle Point Farm
Scientia Horticulturae | Year: 2017

Inoculation of vegetable seedlings with arbuscular mycorrhizal [AM] fungi during the greenhouse growth phase is both biologically and economically practical. Inocula may be purchased or produced on-farm. This work contrasted the fruit yield response of eggplant with and without inoculation with AM fungi produced on-farm at one farm in 2015 and two farms in 2016. Inoculation significantly increased the yield of fruit the first year by 18% despite no impact upon overall shoot growth measured at the end of the greenhouse period or at the end of the growing season. Inoculation resulted in an increase of one fruit per plant. There was no response in 2016 at one farm, but at the second farm, inoculation with AM fungi increased the yield of fruit 11% vs. that of seedlings receiving low P addition in the greenhouse and 6% vs. those receiving high P. Here, this response amounted to an increase of 1.3–1.5 fruit per plant. The response to inoculation appeared to be inversely related to the number of propagules of AM fungi in the indigenous community of the field soil. Routine use of inocula of AM fungi can increase the yield of eggplant with minimal change to the farmer's normal practices. © 2017


The Critical Role of Organics in U.S. Agriculture at the Organic & Non-GMO Forum Moyer, executive director at Rodale Institute, along with other sought-after industry experts, will examine the complexities of developing an organic or non-GMO supply chain at this second annual event, November 14-15 at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis. Minneapolis, MN, October 30, 2016 --( Moyer has been helping farmers transition from conventional farming to organic methods for nearly a lifetime with his work at Rodale Institute, which is committed to groundbreaking research in organic agriculture, advocating for policies that support farmers, and educating people about organic options. In 2015, he was appointed executive director at the Institute. Moyer is a past chair of the National Organic Standards Board, a founding board member of Pennsylvania Certified Organic, and serves on various other boards. He also is the author of “Organic No-Till Farming,” a publication that has become a global resource. Broadening the discussion to supply chain challenges, speaker Kellee James, CEO of Mercaris, a market data service and trading platform for organic, non-GMO and other IP agricultural commodities, will present “Global Supply and Demand Trade Flows in Organic & Non-GMO Ingredients.” She will provide a snapshot of organic and non-GMO demand, highlighting the gaps in the trade flow along the way, and presenting an outlook for solutions to satisfy this demand. Speaker Ben Allen of Trimble will add depth to the conversation about the supply chain during his presentation “Creating Solutions for Traceability Along the Supply Chain” on opening day of the conference. At Trimble, a leading provider of advanced location-based solutions such as GPS, laser and optical technologies, Allen is enterprise solutions lead for agriculture. His session will explore the importance of traceability along the supply chain and introduce some of the novel tools to accomplish this. Learn more at www.ongforum.com and claim a 15% discount on registration with the code: RELEASE. Also visit Oilseed & Grain Trade Summit, the event that is co-located with the Forum. Host of the event, HighQuest Group, based in Danvers, Mass., is a strategic advisory, conference and media company serving corporations, financial investors and governments across the global food and agribusiness value chains. www.highquestgroup.com Minneapolis, MN, October 30, 2016 --( PR.com )-- Jeff Moyer, keynote speaker at next month’s Organic & Non-GMO Forum, will draw upon his four decades of experience with organic farming to explore how it has changed the world, and now through science, points the way to a regenerative future. Moyer, executive director at Rodale Institute, along with other sought-after industry experts, will examine the complexities of developing an organic or non-GMO supply chain at this second annual event, November 14-15 at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis.Moyer has been helping farmers transition from conventional farming to organic methods for nearly a lifetime with his work at Rodale Institute, which is committed to groundbreaking research in organic agriculture, advocating for policies that support farmers, and educating people about organic options. In 2015, he was appointed executive director at the Institute.Moyer is a past chair of the National Organic Standards Board, a founding board member of Pennsylvania Certified Organic, and serves on various other boards. He also is the author of “Organic No-Till Farming,” a publication that has become a global resource.Broadening the discussion to supply chain challenges, speaker Kellee James, CEO of Mercaris, a market data service and trading platform for organic, non-GMO and other IP agricultural commodities, will present “Global Supply and Demand Trade Flows in Organic & Non-GMO Ingredients.” She will provide a snapshot of organic and non-GMO demand, highlighting the gaps in the trade flow along the way, and presenting an outlook for solutions to satisfy this demand.Speaker Ben Allen of Trimble will add depth to the conversation about the supply chain during his presentation “Creating Solutions for Traceability Along the Supply Chain” on opening day of the conference. At Trimble, a leading provider of advanced location-based solutions such as GPS, laser and optical technologies, Allen is enterprise solutions lead for agriculture. His session will explore the importance of traceability along the supply chain and introduce some of the novel tools to accomplish this.Learn more at www.ongforum.com and claim a 15% discount on registration with the code: RELEASE. Also visit Oilseed & Grain Trade Summit, the event that is co-located with the Forum.Host of the event, HighQuest Group, based in Danvers, Mass., is a strategic advisory, conference and media company serving corporations, financial investors and governments across the global food and agribusiness value chains. www.highquestgroup.com


Tonitto C.,Cornell University | Li C.,University of New Hampshire | Seidel R.,Rodale Institute | Drinkwater L.,Cornell University
Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems | Year: 2010

Ecosystem models are increasingly used to guide natural resource management policy decisions. In this study, we build on available agroecosystem policy modeling tools by testing two methodologies for applying the Denitrification-Decomposition (DNDC) model to naturally-drained, temperate grain cropping systems. We used long-term observations from the Rodale Institute Farming Systems Trial (FST) to validate the DNDC model for application to grain cropping systems on silty clay loam soils typical of mid-Atlantic farmlands. Based on modeling efficiency (EF), Theil's Inequality (U2), and correlation coefficient (r) metrics, the DNDC model showed moderate fit between observations and simulations at annual time scales for drainage (EF = 0.34, U2 = 0.12, r = 0.74) and nitrate leaching (EF = -0. 05, U2 = 0. 4,r = 0.86). Replication of observed seasonal water flux and nitrate leaching trends were difficult to capture in model simulations, resulting in a weak fit between observations and simulations for drainage (EF = -1.2, U2 = 0.89, r = 0.28) and nitrate leaching (EF = -2.5, U2 = 2.1, r = 0.3). Our comparison of observations and model outcomes highlights the challenge of scaling up belowground fluxes to farm or watershed scales. Ecosystem model representation of water transport generally assumes highly homogeneous soil conditions. In contrast, data from lysimeter sampling represents a small percentage of the total study area and is unlikely to capture average soil field properties. Additionally, our Rodale work highlights the limitation of biogeochemistry models which use vertical mass movement to describe water drainage and nitrate leaching. The application of the DNDC model to the Rodale FST demonstrates that model studies are not a simple substitute for field observation. The predictive utility of model outcomes can only be broadened through rigorous testing against long-term field observations. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Douds Jr. D.D.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Nagahashi G.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Wilson D.O.,Rodale Institute | Wilson D.O.,Kings Agriseeds Inc. | Moyer J.,Rodale Institute
Plant and Soil | Year: 2011

Producing nonmycorrhizal plants in the field is a challenge due to the ubiquitous distribution of arbuscular mycorrhizal [AM] fungi and impacts of chemical treatments upon nontarget organisms. A field plot was covered with ground cover fabric to prohibit plant growth and take advantage of the obligate symbiotic nature of AM fungi to selectively starve and remove them from the soil microbiological community. The decline in the AM fungus population was monitored through spore counts and most probable number bioassays. Response to inoculation experiments were conducted to contrast the response of Allium porrum L. to inoculation with in vitro produced spores of Glomus intraradices Schenck and Smith when plants were grown in the AM fungus-depleted soil vs. soil from an adjacent, cropped plot. Data indicated a strongly diminished, yet still viable population of AM fungi after 39 months of bare fallow. Plants grown in cropped soil showed no growth response nor increase in percentage root length colonized as a result of inoculation, while the response to inoculation of plants grown in the covered soil increased as the population of AM fungi declined below 1 propagule cm-3. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. (outside the USA).


Ullrich S.D.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Buyer J.S.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Cavigelli M.A.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Seidel R.,Rodale Institute | Teasdale J.R.,U.S. Department of Agriculture
Weed Science | Year: 2011

Weed seed persistence in soil can be influenced by many factors, including crop management. This research was conducted to determine whether organic management systems with higher organic amendments and soil microbial biomass could reduce weed seed persistence compared with conventional management systems. Seeds of smooth pigweed and common lambsquarters were buried in mesh bags in organic and conventional systems of two long-term experiments, the Farming Systems Project at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Maryland, and the Farming Systems Trial at the Rodale Institute, Pennsylvania. Seed viability was determined after retrieval at half-year intervals for 2 yr. Total soil microbial biomass, as measured by phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) content, was higher in organic systems than in conventional systems at both locations. Over all systems, locations, and experiments, viable seed half-life was relatively consistent with a mean of 1.3 and 1.1 yr and a standard deviation of 0.5 and 0.3 for smooth pigweed and common lambsquarters, respectively. Differences between systems were small and relatively inconsistent. Half-life of smooth pigweed seeds was shorter in the organic than in the conventional system in two of four location-experiments. Half-life of common lambsquarters was shorter in the organic than in the conventional system in one of four location-experiments, but longer in the organic than in the conventional system in two of four location-experiments. There were few correlations between PLFA biomarkers and seed half-lives in three of four location-experiments; however, there were negative correlations up to-0.64 for common lambsquarters and-0.55 for smooth pigweed in the second Rodale experiment. The lack of consistent system effects on seed persistence and the lack of consistent associations between soil microbial biomass and weed seed persistence suggest that soil microorganisms do not have a dominating role in seed mortality. More precise research targeted to identifying specific microbial functions causing seed mortality will be needed to provide a clearer picture of the role of soil microbes in weed seed persistence. © 2011 Weed Science Society of America.


Ryan M.R.,Pennsylvania State University | Smith R.G.,Pennsylvania State University | Mirsky S.B.,Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory | Mortensen D.A.,Pennsylvania State University | Seidel R.,Rodale Institute
Weed Science | Year: 2010

Community assembly theory provides a useful framework to assess the response of weed communities to agricultural management systems and to improve the predictive power of weed science. Under this framework, weed community assembly is constrained by abiotic and biotic "filters" that act on species traits to determine community composition. We used an assembly approach to investigate the response of weed seed banks to 25 yr of management-related filtering in three different row-crop management systems in southeastern Pennsylvania: organic manure-based, organic legume-based, and conventional. Weed seed banks were sampled in April of 2005 and 2006 and quantified by direct germination in a greenhouse. We also assessed the filtering effects of weed management practices and relationships between assembled seed bank and emergent weed communities by allowing or excluding weed control practices within each management system and measuring emergent weed community response. Germinable weed seed bank densities and species richness in the final year of the study were over 40 and 15 higher, respectively, in the organic systems relative to the conventional system. Seed bank community structure in the organic systems was different from the conventional system, and the relationships between assembled seed banks and the emergent flora varied. Primary tillage, weed control, timing of planting, and fertility management appeared to be the main filters that differentiated weed seed banks in the three systems. Weed life history, emergence periodicity, seed size, and responsiveness to soil fertility and hydrology appeared to be the most important functional traits determining how weed species responded to management-related filters. Our results suggest that management systems can exert strong filtering effects that can persist over relatively long (greater than one growing season) time scales. Legacy effects of community-level filtering might be more important than previously assumed, and should be incorporated into predictive models of weed community assembly. © 2010 Weed Science Society of America.


Douds D.D.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Nagahashi G.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Hepperly P.R.,Rodale Institute
Bioresource Technology | Year: 2010

On-farm production of arbuscular mycorrhizal [AM] fungus inoculum can be employed to make the benefits of the symbiosis more available to vegetable farmers. Experiments were conducted to modify an existing method for the production of inoculum in temperate climates to make it more readily adoptable by farmers. Perlite, vermiculite, and peat based potting media were tested as diluents of yard clippings compost for the media in which the inoculum was produced using bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum Flugge) as host plant. All produced satisfactory concentrations of AM fungus propagules, though vermiculite proved to be better than potting media (89 vs. 25 propagules cm-3, respectively). Two methods were tested for the growth of AM fungi indigenous to the farm: (1) adding field soil into the vermiculite and compost mixture and (2) pre-colonizing the bahiagrass seedlings in media inoculated with field soil prior to transplant into that mixture. Adding 100 cm3 of field soil to the compost and vermiculite produced 465 compared to 137 propagules cm-3 for the pre-colonization method. The greater flexibility these modifications give will make it easier for farmers to produce inoculum of AM fungi on-the-farm. © 2009.


Trademark
Rodale Institute | Date: 2013-03-04

hydroponic garden kit for home and commercial use comprising growing containers and also including hydroponic compost, fertilizers, seeds, substrate, drain components and instructional materials.

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