organic dairies in grazing spotlight
Whether the organic mega-dairies in arid western states
can, or are able to, meet the anticipated more stringent
grazing standards being prepared by the National Organic
Program continues to engage organic community.
A recent article in the Rocky Mountain News (Full
story) highlighted the status of Aurora Dairy of
Boulder, Colorado, as it attempts to secure additional
grazing access for several thousand cows—an effort
its detractors say will strain the definition of sustainability
simply because of the scale of such an operation in
a semi-arid environment.
In a response
sent to the paper and awaiting publication, Aurora
chief executive officer Marc Peperzak said Aurora is
adding forage acreage in collaboration with farmers
in the region. He didn’t say how much acreage
is being added in 2006, but one freshly fenced example
is shown below on a farm north of Fort Collins as it
looked earlier this summer. Matsuda Farms has some 265
acres of forage crops dedicated to Aurora Dairy, according
to farm owner Dave Matsuda. After the initial plantings
of triticale were grazed, they were followed with sorghum,
sometimes no-tilled into the triticale stubble and sometimes
planted after light tillage. Irrigation is limited this
summer to one week on, one week off, he reports.
To follow the dialogue between Aurora Organic Dairy
executives, organic watchdogs and dairy farmers as it
unfolds, you can join the Odairy electronic mailing
group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Odairy/.
when will the eggplants be ready?
If that’s your question—or a question you
have to keep answering for every crop yet to come this
season—there’s a new ready reference that
gives some help. Farm Aid’s “Ask Laura”
has posted six regional guides, each listing 24 vegetable
crops from arugula to zucchini.
Even though these are general predictions, they can
help people new to seasonal eating see how things vary
across the country. More accurate guides for all produce
should be available from your state cooperative extension
service. And, as Laura says: "To be sure, ask a
In a reversal of the growing claims to patent-improved
plant properties, the University of Hawaii has given
up its rights to three strains of disease-resistant
taro developed by traditional breeding techniques.
Activists argued that kalo (the local name
for taro) as the "elder brother" of the Hawaiian
people should not be owned. "UH did not invent
taro, and they had no right to own it or license it
to farmers," said taro farmer Christine Kobayashi.
story from The Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Circulated
by GRAIN, www.grain.org/about.
rule comments due Aug. 10
The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is proposing
changes to its definition of what constitutes a claim
for grass (forage) fed livestock and meat products.
The proposed revised definition reads as follows: "Grass
(Forage) Fed – Grass (annual and perennial), forbs
(legumes, brassicas), browse, forage, or stockpiled
forages, and post-harvest crop residue without separated
grain shall be at least 99 percent of the energy source
for the lifetime of the ruminant species, with the exception
of milk consumed prior to weaning. Routine mineral and
vitamin supplementation may also be included in the
Written comments should be submitted by Thursday, August
10, to Martin E. O'Connor, Chief, Standardization Branch,
Livestock and Seed Program, AMS, USDA, Room 2607-S,
1400 Independence Avenue, Washington, DC 20250-0254.
Comments may also be sent by fax to 202-720-1112, by
e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org,
or via the Internet at www.regulations.gov.
Comments should refer to Docket No. LS-05-09.
text and discussion of the previous 80-percent proposal.
trade/local food directory issued
What a concept! Fair trade for US farmers, too. Family
Farm Defenders (FFD), in conjunction with the Wisconsin
Network for Peace and Justice (WNPJ) and with financial
support of the Wisconsin Community Fund (WCF), has just
published the first-ever local fair-trade directory
for the state.
The 50-page directory includes listings of family farms,
locally owned retailers, coffee shops, restaurants,
bakeries and sweat-free apparel stores, as well as bioregional
recipes, nutritional information and educational sidebars.
for Sustainable Agriculture gears up for Farm Bill debate.
As the country faces a new Farm Bill, the National
Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture is recruiting for
its newsletter to inform readers about how they can
help shape federal policy that makes sense for both
people and the land.
The National Campaign unites a diverse nationwide
network of hundreds of groups and individuals to support
legislation that fosters a sustainable food and agricultural
system, one that is economically viable, environmentally
sound and socially just. Your voice is just one phone
call, letter or email away.