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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
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.
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.”
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?”
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
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."
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.”
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
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!”
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.”
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?"
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.”
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.
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??”
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."
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?
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