UPDATED September 15, 2006

    USDA releases organic certification funds for farmers in 15 states

    Farmers tout omega-3 superiority of organic milk documented in UK university study

    SARE honors farmers for innovations in production, marketing

    Enviro group offers study guide “Exploring true costs of food”

    Chinese organic dairy opens to meet domestic demand for organic milk

USDA releases organic certification funds for farmers in 15 states

The USDA, through the Federal Crop Insurance Act, will make up to $1 million available to assist farmers who successfully seek organic certification. The money will be available in proportion to the number of organic producers in each selected state. The states, in turn, will reimburse each eligible producer for up to 75 percent of the individual's organic certification costs, not to exceed $500.

The states are: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Eligible applicants will have received certification or update of certification by a USDA-accredited certifying agent during the period from October , 2006 through September 30, 2007.

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Farmers tout omega-3 superiority of organic milk documented in UK university study

A three-year study sponsored by the Organic Milk Suppliers' Co-operative (OMSCo) in the UK found organic milk contained 68 per cent more omega-3 fatty acids on average than conventional milk.

OMSCo said the milk study, conducted independently by the universities of Liverpool and Glasgow from 2002-2005 and published in the Journal of Dairy Science, is the first to consider a cross-section of UK farms over a 12-month production cycle.

The UK’s Food Standard Agency has repeatedly refused to recognize that any organic food products are healthier than their conventional counterparts.

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SARE honors farmers in four regions for innovations in production, marketing

The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program awarded its 2006 Patrick Madden Awards awards at its August conference in Wisconsin.

Honored were Rex Spray of Mt. Vernon, Ohio, a pioneering cash-grain farmer (North Central Region); Edwin and Marian Fry of Anne Arundel County, Maryland, crop, livestock and dairy farmers (Northeast Region); Alex and Betsy Hitt, high-value market farmers from Graham, North Carolina (Southern Region); and Paul Muller of Guinda, California, who heads a team that runs a diverse operation with 80 crops, 40 workers and an 800-member CSA.

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Enviro group offers study guide “Exploring true costs of food”

The Sierra Club's Sustainable Consumption Committee encourages people to think about the environmental impacts of their consumption choices by providing specific information. They’ve launched a web-based study guide and video to provoke thought and discussion about the effects of food choices.

Suggested solutions to industrial farming’s downsides include: eat more vegetables, fruit and grains and less meat; look for meat that is produced in the least harmful way—grass-fed, organic, antibiotic- and hormone-free; buy organic whenever you can; and buy from small, local sources whenever you can.

The campaign is still unfolding, and the committee welcomes comments.

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Chinese organic dairy opens to meet domestic demand for fresh organic milk

The Beijing Guiyan Ecological Agriculture Development Company became China’s first organic milk production entity in August. It is located in Huoshaoying village in Northwest Beijing's Yanqing County, according to a story in the China Daily.

The farm features around 800 cows grazing in a sparsely populated area known for its good air quality. The cattle completed a six-month conversion process in July, complying with standards drawn up after an 11-member board studied other international organic dairy rules. The Chinese standards cover items including the production of feedstuff and forage, the cows' welfare, their diet, disease prevention and control, veterinary medicine usage, breeding and reproduction, and milk quality.

The dairy will enter the Chinese dairy market—the fastest growing food sector in China—charging a premium price for a high-quality product.

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