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Hello. It's tea time at New Farm. Compost tea may be causing a second Boston Tea Party in the world of organics. Is it a breeding ground for human health hazards or an ideal recipe for better yields and healthier plants? The debate on all sides is hotter than, well, the center of a compost pile, and wading through the mud-slinging may be harder than you think. Don't toss your bags of compost into Boston harbor just yet. We've got some level-headed reviews of the news and the research out there right now as well as information on where this discussion could be headed in the future.




On April 6, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) Compost Tea Task Force laid out its much anticipated recommendations for the handling of compost tea. Now National Organic Program (NOP) administrators must decide which of these recommendations to insert into the Federal Register as amendments to the NOP Final Rule. New Farm senior editor, Dan Sullivan, takes a look at the debate that has been brewing in the compost tea world.
Read more in Compost Tea Task Force releases long-awaited recommendations




Meanwhile, scientists have been seeking to understand the role of compost tea in agroecosystems. In the spring of 2003, The Rodale Institute™ and Pennsylvania State University launched a two-year study to gather hard data on compost tea's effectiveness for stimulating plant growth and suppressing disease, and to educate farmers and extension agents about its potential benefits--and hazards--as an organic material.
Read more in Compost tea research enters its second year



Fresh today from The New Farm®


Carrots to the core
Iowa organic farmer Gary Guthrie finds his niche with a long-season favorite. Through careful attention to variety selection and taste, Guthrie has put the flavor back into carrots, extended his growing season and boosted farm revenue.
Farming the fungi kingdom—organically
Ohio couple Thomas and Wendy Wiandt developed their mushroom hobby into a viable second career. In addition to marketing wild mushrooms from their 46-acre, organically-certified woods, the Wiandts propagate oyster, shiitake and lion's mane mushrooms. At Killbuck Valley Mushrooms, the fungi kingdom is the future.
Greenhouse Special
The Gandhi of greenhouses, Part II
Direct questions to the master of low-tech season extension yield direct, practical answers that anyone can use to build their own passive-solar greenhouse.

For the beginning grower

Fall Harvest: More than just mums
Spring has arrived in Pennsylvania and so has the fourth and final in Mel's four-season flower mini-series. If you haven't noticed, it's all about thinking ahead. Plan your fall line-up now and offer gorgeous autumn bouquets when everyone is tired of the same-old mums.

The worth of good work: An H2-A odyssey
Wisconsin vegetable growers Linda Halley and Richard de Wilde venture into new territory with the federal seasonal worker program. So far, so good.
A visit to the home of Teikei
Organic pioneer Elizabeth Henderson reflects on her 10-day trip to Japan to give presentations on CSA, visit farms and meet with Teikei (the Japanese version of CSA) farmers and members.

On-farm wind power: Part I of a three-part series
Generating electricity is a breeze…
...When you harness this clean and renewable resource for all your residential and farm-operation energy needs.


Hats off to the many sombreros of a farmer
Quack lawyer, truck driver, fake chef, and borderline carnival barker: all in a day’s work for a farmer like Andy Griffin … and once in a while he gets to contemplate nature.


Keep antibiotics out of organic livestock
One of the chief health claims of organic livestock is it is antibiotic-free. This point is becoming more and more significant as serious health concerns arise over antibiotic resistance in humans. At a time when the National Organic Program should be taking a strong stance on antibiotic usage it is giving in to the demands of large dairy operations by relaxing regulations.
Act today! Petition the NOP to take a strict stance on antibiotic usage for organic cattle.


Organic isn't perfect
Organic livestock rules reduce risky feeding, but tighter restrictions would improve safety.
The NOP regulation includes numerous requirements to minimize the risk that organic livestock, and livestock producing organic products, are not fed slaughter by-products. But acloser analysis of the regulation reveals some loopholes -- pathways whereby slaughter by-products, or animals fed slaughter by-products, could potentially enter organic livestock production systems. Time to close the farm gate before it's too late.

Beef producer's bid to test all its cattle for BSE denied
Creekstone Farms Premium Beef LLC, a privately-owned producer and processor, is threatening legal action against the U.S. Department of Agriculture over the agency's decision last week prohibiting Creekstone from voluntarily testing all of its cattle for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
AND . . .

New Mexico Organic Farming & Gardening Expo
Lessons learned in the Land of Enchantment
Our reporter gleans wisdom and know-how from workshops on Southwest greenhouse design, the best equipment for vegetable production, and sound reasons to view your farm as natural habitat.

NOFA-NY Conference
CSA Grower’s School
Steve Gilman discovers Advanced Training for Advanced Farmers who are Serious about CSA at the NOFA-NY Conference in January, and shares some of the insights and details with us.



When will the online classes be available? What will the cost be?

We are working to introduce and open a food-service facility encompassing Catskills Pie Kitchen which will use mainly organically grown fruit and ingredients sourced within our region. We are seeking interested parties to contact us directly to find out how they can share in the use and growth of this project. Can you reach out to your readership?

Check The New Farm 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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