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Hi, [Name]. As we sit here buried under a foot of snow it is hard to believe that spring is right around the corner, but the next growing season is upon us and that means conference season is coming to a close. In this edition of the newsletter we are paying tribute to the time we dedicate each year to learning from each other. Find out what had people talking at sustainable conferences around the country, read commentary on the issues of concern as the nation heads to war and learn what events are still ahead.

Or go directly to for complete coverage of the conference season along with all the information you need to keep discussions lively until spring.


Around the country
From Virginia to New York to Iowa the concerns among farmers seem to be the same, how do you support a family farming? And the experts seem to be in agreement: find a niche, grow it organically and market, market, market.

Check out Talking Shop for detailed reviews of various sustainable ag conferences held this winter.
Talking Shop

Talking Shop: Dr. Kathleen Delate, was just one of many presenters out this winter.

Workshop by satellite
The discussion on the USDA National Organic Standards continues outside conference walls next month. We tell you when and how you can eavesdrop on a nationally-broadcast satellite panel discussion by industry experts (including our very own certification answer team chair, Jim Riddle) and have your questions answered live.
Organic Standards Satellite Broadcast

Need certification help now? Ask Jim Riddle and the rest of The New Farm® Answer Team your questions directly. This month in Certification Help we answer your questions about arsenate treated wood, transitioning to organic milk production, warehouse certification and certified organic beef in the retail markets.
Certification Help



A nation with one thing on its mind
From planned sessions to impromptu discussions in the halls there was no escaping talk of war and homeland security on the conference circuit. The February 3rd Gleanings column stresses the importance of a local food source especially as we head into a time of increasing uncertainty and concern over the safety of our food supply.


Action Alert:
Put "Environmental Quality" back into EQIP
This program is meant to reward environmental incentives but proposed rules could make it pay for factory farms rather than reward the hard work of family farmers who are actually improving the their watersheds. Act now -- before March 12 -- to save EQIP.

Fighting back for 100% Organic feed: A recent bill carrying a rider that allows livestock producers to feed thier livestock conventional feed and still label the products organic was passed into law. Contact your senators and representatives now and let them know you want this rider removed. Click here to find out how


Hotter than a hog on a summer day
Contrary to popular belief, conference season doesn't end with the melting of the snow in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Early June welcomes the much-anticipated, third annual Sustainable Hog Farming Summit. Posted on the site for your convenience is event registration and lodging information as well as a list of sponsors.
Sustainable Hog Farming Summit


A New Crop of Columns

Final Word:
In this week’s column Alan sounds off about congress’s blow to the integrity of the organic standards, the incompetence of US’s specialty trade representative to the WTO, and the absurdity of realigning Europe along a "with us or against us" policy.

Nuts & Bolts & Dreams:
So You Want to Be a Farmer?: 25-year-old Don DeVault talks about how farming crept up on him and the lesson's he has learned.
Specialty Cut Flower Corner:
Good Beginnings . . .: Melanie's secret for starting off on the right foot and the answer to a question many of you had about the last column.
Letters from New York:
Providing for Ourselves: The Martens explain why the only way to be really self-sufficient is to be part of a community.
From One Farm to Another
Two degrees below zero and I've got to think about crop rotations and weed pressure!: Jeff laments about the cold and plans ahead for 2003.
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