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Hi, [name]. It’s been a busy week for us, updating the
web site with new features:

  • We now have a weekly poll that lets you cast your vote on a new topic each week. This week: How helpful has your local extension agent been for you as an organic or sustainable farmer? You’ll find the poll on the home page.
  • We also have a search, now, which will make looking for articles by topic a lot easier. It’s in the black navigation area at the right of all pages.
  • We’re hard at work on a new feature: The Farm Locator. Available later in May, this feature will allow you to use easy online form to create a page about your farm, with a picture, if you have a digital photo. All of these farm entries will be searchable by county and state, type of operation, or by what you grow. BENEFIT? It allows you to promote your farm to restaurants, brokers, retailers, farmers markets, consumers, and other farmers.
  • We now have an archive of our email newsletters in the black navigation area at the right of the page called “newsletters.”
  • For those who want to support our site by donating to The Rodale Institute, which funds this venture, there is now access to a donation form from the “support the site” link in the upper right corner of every page.

But the area where we’ve been busiest is in the TALK discussion forums.

Here are some of the questions you’ll find on the forum that you can
chat about with other New Farm readers. When you click on the link, you'll see the posted message in question. To participate, you'll have to click "log in" at the top of the page. Just a warning: We tested the links below, and all of them work on some email services, but only some of them work for other email services. We can't explain it. So, if they don't work for you, just go to the talk section of the site and browse around.

  • Francisco and Marisol from Chile, on the Value-Added Products Forum: "Please include some farmstead cheese-making recipes. We're small organic farmers, and love your web site. It has helped us a lot starting our own CSA, Chilean style.”
  • Steve Fulton, on the General Marketing Forum: "I'm a certified organic farmer in NH. 2002 was my first commercial year. My main crop was edamame. I'd like to have a conversation with you on marketing and sales of edamame. Also, how do you harvest them?”
  • Elsita Boffi de Schulte from Argentina, on the Insects Forum: "I would like to know about organic pest control against ants. We have a 16 hectare pecan farm. We use worm compost to help trees grow, and are doing really well, but ants are a serious problem the first 3 years.”
  • Jean Clark on the Seeds Forum: "I haven't been able to find the lettuce seed 'Jericho,' produced by Pennington as mentioned in Mr. Devault's high value farming article. Pennington Seed was of no help. Are there any other sources of this seed know? Any help would be appreciated. I garden in Virginia -- hot summers."
  • Al Castro on the Rice Forum: "I'm a farm supervisor and own some hectares of land here in Occidental Mindoro, which is one of the rice granaries here in the Philippines. I'm currently having a problem with our rice when rainy season comes. I want to know of the newest mechanical drier for rice. I have been looking for a drier which is efficient, dries rice in a short period of time.”
  • Tam Pak Suew from Malaysi, on the Rice Forum: "I'm currently planting 100 hectares of organic rice in Malaysia. I would like to exchange and share experiences with other organic rice farmers in the rest of the world."
  • Prairie Girl on Cut Flowers Forum: “Help! I'm getting conflicting information about how to get successful germination from baptisia seeds. One source says seed into shallow furrows but don't cover. I tried this with zero success. Another source says scarify and soak in warm water for 24 hours. I'm nervous about trying this until I get some feedback from others. What has worked for you? Thanks!”
  • Tom, on the Organic Grain Growers Forum: “I am in my second year of transitioning to organic on corn and soybeans. I seeded down some land to alfalfa, figuring it would be ready to be certifed in 3 years. Now a soybean contract has come up that is too good to pass up so I am changing acres around. My question is, I have about 30 acres of second year alfalfa that I want to put back into crop production, since it will be chemical free ( I hope). would it be best to put it into corn or soybeans? Thank you for any advice anyone can provide.”
  • Greg Bowman on the Organic Grain Growers Forum: "Is it true that Fieldale Poultry of Baldwin GA (the company behind the recent infamous organic grain requirement exemption) really can't find any suppliers of certified organic corn and soybeans, as the company maintains in the most recent issue of the Georgia Farm Bureau News?"
  • NDCurt on the Soil Health Forum: “Has anyone used chickling vetch as a soil builder/forage crop. It is being sold here as a crop that doesn't take too much moisture and one that will produce alot of N and 4000# of forage in 70 days. Too good to be true?? Vetchs typically don't overwinter very well here and although this is being sold as an annual I'm skeptical. I sure could use the forage and the N.”
  • Lots of questions about no-till on the Soil Health Forum: Ever since we ran an article by soil scientist Ray Weil extolling the virtues of no-till for soil health, we've gotten lots of letters from readers asking about how to make it work in practice—how to deal with weed pressures, how to make it work in a small market farm, etc. You’ll find these questions on the forum.
  • Ian Campbell from southern Ontario, on the Weeds Forum: "Read with interest the piece on Gary Zimmer's weed control presentation . I've been trying to find information about effective ways of controlling quack (twitch) grass. Most weed control discussions don't touch on this. It is by far the biggest weed challenge in our organic operation." We’ve also got a lively poison ivy forum cooking.
  • NDCurt on the Biodiesel Forum: “A local radio call-in was talking about biodiesel as one part of a shift in energy sources and I tried to find out how much oil could be produced on an acre of sunflowers. Didn't get an answer. Do you know? At the 5% level which they are selling a lot of around here a little will go a long way. Why can't they go to higher levels? Oil company pressure??”
  • Marlene Smazenko on the Factory Farms Forum: "My neighbors and I live in fear of hydrogen sulfide and other gases from 3 mega hog farms with lagoons within 2 miles of our home. What are our options? Our local politicians turn a blind eye. Our healthy is suffering."
  • Patrick in Indiana on the Sustainable Hogs Forum: “I'm new to the pork field and got a bred Tamworth gilt last winter for a really good price. I'm happy to say that she farrowed fine and was a good momma to her piglets (all raised out on pasture, thank you). Well now, I need to know 2 things. 1st – What’s the best way to tell when she is coming into cycle for breeding 2nd - how much different is performing AI on a pig compared to cattle?”
  • Greg Reynolds in Minnesota, on the Ag Policy Forum: "I'm looking for information on why 'get big or get out' was or is sound advice for farmers. There are people at the state and federal levels of government who certainly think that fewer, larger farms is the way to go. When I look at the research, large farms are only slightly more profitable than the smallest farms. Average sized farms can take better care of the land, create more jobs and support their communities in ways that a factory or corporate farm can never do. Large commodity farms subsist on cheap oil and government payments. CAFOs are slow motion manure spills; they create antibiotic resistant bugs ... you know the story. So my question is, why was it ever thought that get-big-or-get-out was a good idea? And why do people think that it is a good idea now? Any ideas?"
  • Ken Johnson, a nutritionist at a small feed mill in Pennsylvania, on the General Livestock Forum: "A customer asked me to research the use of diatomaceous earth (DE) as a dewormer for livestock. Where can I find recommendations on dosage, treatment interval and usefulness?"

SOME OF THE NEW ARTICLES THIS WEEK:

 
   
   
     
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