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Hello. Riches galore ... The ethics of wildcrafting. Organic grain farmers in MN rescue an abandoned processing facility. Getting a handle on the organic octopus. A farmer/grocery chain compost collaboration. Three generations of organic grain farmers in Canada. Reader mail. Book reviews. Research. News. See below for details.

Let's ask Jeff. Jeff Moyer is the farm manager here at The Rodale Institute. He's been farming organically for 27 years, and has been managing the research trials here for the last 23 years. The guy knows organic farming, and he gets lots of emails from readers of his monthly column asking for practical help with cover crops, or weeds, or equipment purchases.

We've decided to make these email exchanges a more regular part of New Farm, starting with this installment. And to make things even more interesting, and helpful, we've invited folks from The Institute research team to add their insights. Check out their advice this week on battling velvet leaf and oversowing winter grains to establish pasture. You'll find links on the New Farm homepage under Reader Mail.

And the winner is ... Two weeks ago we announced that farmers on our Farm Locator listing would be eligible to win a beautiful New Farm hat. We're handing out one a week for the forseeable future--and we have our first winner, Mary Lu Lageman of Grailville Farm. To find out more about her farm and the Farm Locator, go to the New Farm homepage.

Speaking of hats ... When we graced the web site with a photo of dapper Dave Wilson (one of our researchers) sporting a New Farm hat, we got lots of emails from folks asking if they could buy the hat, even if they didn't win it in the Farm Locator drawing. And the answer is now YES. The hats are available on our store for a special price of $14.95 (normally, $19.95). They're 100 percent organic cotton, and they look great even on folks like myself who don't do hats well. To go directly to the hat sales page, click here.

The farmers market season is almost upon us, and that means the GRASSROOTS OPX--featuring prices and observations from local farmers markets around the country provided by dedicated volunteers. Now, all we need is the volunteers. We're looking for at least one hundred folks around the country--for at least two farmers markets in every state--who will commit to gathering prices once a week throughout the market season. For more on this opportunity to help other New Farm readers, click here.

--Chris Hill, Executive Editor

Don't forget to check out our latest Organic Price Index.


Would you trust this guy to help you plan your crop rotation? For more, see "Let's ask Jeff," at left.

By popular demand
, the New Farm hat is now available for sale in our online store.

What to do when the weather kicks you when you're down. See below: Shameless self-promotion.


Fresh today from The New Farm®

Consolidation BLUES

The organic octopus
Phil Howard's "Organic Industry Structure" chart has got a lot of people talking.

Who should own organic?
In her keynote address at the Upper Midwest Organic conference, CSA pioneer Elizabeth Henderson argues that the rapid expansion of organic agriculture presents us with tough choices.


Consolidation blues

Organic octopus

Henderson keynote


Crossing Canada with Don Lotter

Three generations of cereal farmers in Saskatchewan grow organically on 3000 acres

Small by Saskatchewan conventional farming standards, the Bodera farm is large for an organic farm in the region. Father, son and grandson have been growing flax, wheat, barley, oats and mustard organically since 1989.


Three generations


A one-time lawyer trades in his legal practice
to nurture and harvest wild medicinals

Ginseng, goldenseal, black cohosh, skull cap, snake root … Eastern Ohio’s Bruce Buren makes a decent living off of what most farmers dismiss as weeds and wasted land.

Wildcrafting: A “simple” life full of complex
ethical and practical considerations

An ethical harvester of wild plants ponders the best way to preserve and protect the wild plants he values and depends on.


Wildcrafting profile

Wildcrafting ethics



NOW is the time for
shameless self-promotion
He can't plant, cultivate or harvest--the fields are a swamp--but Mariquita's Andy Griffin can sell shares and hustle publicity.


CSA Journal


VALUE-ADDED: Earthwise Processors, Moorhead, MN

Market makers
Four years ago, a group of farmers in northern Minnesota were having trouble accessing markets for their organic grain crops. So they bought a processing and storage facility in their own backyard.


Market makers



Act before April 13!
The time is NOW to even the fields.

Re-write the GMO rules

The USDA's Animal and Plant Health inspection service has issued a call for comments on environmental impact statement it is developing for genetically engineered crops and organisms. The comment period has been extended to April 13. Send your comments today!

The ongoing CSP saga
We recently asked you to write the Secretary of Agriculture to complain about restrictive rule changes covering the Conservation Security Program. That petition is still awaiting a decision. In the meantime, we thought you might enjoy the comments that innovative Iowa dairy farmer Francis Thicke made about the CSP before a USDA listening session in Des Moines in February.






PASA: Farming for the Future, State College, PA
Grocery store to farm: recycling food waste into compost
Pennsylvania pioneers a permit that diverts tons of trash weekly from the landfill and turns it into “black gold” for farmers…and that’s only the pilot project!

ECO-FARM Conference, Monterey, CA
State and regional certifiers weigh in on
National Organic Program

Some parts of implementation of the federal Organic Rule are working, agency leaders say, but there’s plenty that still needs fixing

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking nominations to fill five upcoming vacancies on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). The deadline is June 14, 2004. For more information, click here.

Innovative Farmers of Ohio, Mt Vernon, OH
Careful preparation and planning urged for
farmers seeking transition to profitability

IFO president Charlie Eselgroth urged farmers in Ohio to prepare to take new steps toward sustainability to weather the inevitable challenges to come.

Innovative Farmers of Ohio, Mt Vernon, OH
Sustainable farming’s pioneer couple share the basics from their Iowa farm
Dick and Sharon Thompson want the insights from their 37 years of hard work, head scratching and research to encourage other farmers to adopt and adapt for greater sustainability.


PASA Compost

Eco-Farm NOP

Innovative Farmers of Ohio

Dick & Sharon Thompson





Each week in this space we answer several of your questions. We'll also respond individually to each of your queries, even if they don’t make the pubic posting. And, starting this week, we're featuring reader commentary and Ask Jeff. Keep the comments and questions rolling in.

Looking to start a small organic fruit farm in the south. Where can I go for help?
I work for a small rural paper, and I'm tired of printing press releases. Can I reprint stories from New Farm ... and are there other good free ag story sources?

Mendocino County shouts a collective “no” to GMOs: This commentary grew out of an email conversation with Susan Grelock, one of the initiators of Measure H.

ASK JEFF: The Rodale Institute’s farm manager, Jeff Moyer, answers your hardcore farming questions

How do I manage the velvet leaf in my corn?
When do I over-sow my winter grains?





Check the home page for the latest news, a new Dr. Don research update and a new Final Word from ag curmudgeon Alan Guebert. Enjoy.

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