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Hello. Here are the results of last week’s poll: “Has your local extension agent been helpful for you as an organic farmer?”

  • Very helpful: 27 percent
  • Moderately helpful: 14 percent
  • Slightly helpful: 22 percent
  • Not at all helpful: 29 percent
  • A downright impediment: 6 percent

Not bad! We expected extension agents to fare even worse. To caste your vote for this week’s poll, “Is certification worth it?”, click here to go to the New Farm home page.

And, oh yeah, enjoy this week’s new offerings ...

Fresh today from The New Farm


The Bechtolds keep their dairy operation
simple ... and survive

Ken and Julie Bechtold make aged, raw milk cheddar and colby on their north Jersey farm. No milk pipeline, vintage cheese vats, aging instead of pasteurization: It all adds up to no debt, a decent income, and great cheese.

Are small farmstead creameries
the wave of the future?

Eight cows. One farmer. Many happy customers and a rural New York community with a new dairy operation in a time of terrible milk prices. This is Sam and Denise Hendren’s story. Sam left his huge family dairy of 1,100 cows in Ohio for the joy of eight organic Jersey cows and making cheese.


Bechtolds' Dairy

Hendren's Dairy



The price, processing and production challenges of growing coffee profitably & sustainably in Guatemala

Don Lotter visited three midsized shade-grown plantations and a variety of small growers. He found that many of the innovations in growing and processing coffee are coming from the medium scale certified growers. Features a slide show of the trip!


Guatemala Coffee



How do you define YOUR CSA? asks Julia Wiley of Mariquita Farm in CA

CSA is such a loose concept that you can make yours whatever you want it to be, as long as there's a community to support the concept. Try to characterize what you're about in 5 short phrases. It will be the beginning of a press release about your farm. PLUS: what’s happening this month on the Mariquita farm, marketing- and production-wise.

Wanted: Consumers seek like-minded farmer looking for long term CSA relationship

The Philadelphia area's newest organic farm, Pennypack Farm CSA, started as a consumer dream. And it only took three years of hard work to make the dream come true.


Mariquita CSA

Pennypack Farm CSA


Living and learning one farm at a time

Beyond the Green Revolution to Regeneration

Mulchan Haria may not have followed the family into traditional medicine, but his gentle touch and chemical-free remedies have nursed a parched, depleted earth back to full health and earned him the title "Doctor" among his fellow farmers in western India.


Mulchan Haria




Answers to your certification questions

Does compost made using earthworm castings have to meet the NOP compost temperature requirements? Do strawberry plants need to be organic? Is there a certain level of GMO contamination that will still allow a crop to be designated as organic? Can animals in organic systems be vaccinated, for example, with C&D, tetanus, etc.? Is there a difference between natural and synthetic compounds in how they are evaluated for possible use in organic production?




Why turn U.S. agribusiness loose in Iraq after
what it's done to U.S. agriculture?

Over the past 40 years of American agriculture based on increasing production and export-based policies, farmer numbers have decreased from around 20 percent to less than 2 percent of the population. Do we really want the newly appointed senior ministry adviser for agriculture in Iraq, Dan Amstutz, to subject Iraqis to the same “solution”? asks Jim French of the Prairie Writers Circle.


Iraqi farming



A late spring has Jeff chomping at the bit

Rodale Institute farm manager Jeff Moyer is ready to try out the retooled planter for planting no-till through vetch with minimum disturbance. And he's looking forward to the new pole barn, which will let him store more high-dollar hay and straw.

  Jeff Moyer


In the forums there are new questions, and new answers:

  • On the general crops forum, “Treegunman” asks about the best and most cost effective way to stake tomatoes.
  • On the compost tea forum, Elaine Ingham talks about turning compost leachate into compost tea.
  • Linda Kerr from New Zealand identifies a good source for Jericho heat resistant lettuce seed, and mentions other good heat resistant varieties.
  • Lots of help for combating quack grass on the weeds forum.
  • Honeyhill Farm asks for help with finding the right seeding plate for sunflower seeds on the cut flowers forum.
  • In the Anything Goes forum, Jessica asks if it’s possible to grow sweet potatoes in the Seattle area.
  To go to the forums,
click here


Something new for journalists and the curious

You’ll find a “press room” now under “search” at the right of the home page, containing info web traffic trends, reader demographics, the New Farm mission, contact sheet, press clippings, links to email newsletter back issues, and much, much more.

  The Press Room


Haven’t registered for the hog summit yet?
It’s not too late to sign up for this exceptional conference on sustainable hog production and factory farms. Click here for the latest information.

Recent news ...
92% of consumers favor labeling GM food; factory-farm lagoons linked to sickness, medical, government sources believe; music festival and local food advocate join together to bring farmer's market to concert

New research ...
Organic foods show higher rates of natural anti-oxidants; new research shows crop mixtures -- different varieties of rice planted together -- reduce plant disease.

The Final Word from Alan Guebert ...
It's been a COOL week—ACGA poll confirms concerns over GM corn, support for COOL; finally, a COOL study on labeling benefits.

Letter from Ontario ...
GMO in food: The story we are not telling


Hog Summit

Recent news

New research

Final word

Letter from Ontario


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