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Hello. Back to school: It’s fall, and a growing number of high school juniors will be considering colleges where sustainable farming is taught and or practiced. One of the nicest trends in this arena is the growing number of affordable and practical programs in sustainable farming at two-year colleges. One of those is Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) in Pittsboro, NC, whose program includes work on a student farm, a farm internship, and courses in basic farm maintenance, small business skills, biological pest management and plant and soil science. It has become a real harvest ground for future organic farmers. Click here to read more about CCCC.

In the next month we’ll be featuring other stories and resources for students hungry to learn more about who’s offering training in organic and sustainable production, including a listing of college and university programs throughout the U.S. and the scoop on Canada’s new undergraduate organic farming major (at the University of Guelph in Ontario).

Getting our goat: When I asked folks in the last newsletter if there were any topics they were interested in reading more about, I got several responses from readers asking for more information on goat production—both meat and dairy.

It probably shouldn’t have surprised me—one of our most-read items this past year was a directory of meat goat resources. And as it turns out, we have a wonderful piece on Patches of Star goat dairy we were planning to publish this week anyway. Talk about service!

Assistant editor Amanda Kimble-Evans does a great job of capturing the history and feel of Elly Hushour’s goat operation, based near Nazareth in eastern Pennsylvania. Elly backed into the goat dairy business when she went shopping for raw goat milk and came home with a doe and two kids. Since then the operation has gradually expanded to a dairy herd of 62, cheese making, 60 meat goats a year, and a thriving breeding stock export business. Click here to learn more.

Also on the goat front, senior writer Laura Sayre followed up on a letter we got from Kentucky Goat Producers Association president Ray Bowman— getting him to talk about his perspective on the rapid growth of the meat goat industry in Kentucky … and the U.S. Click here for more.

How to manage an organic dairy herd: As most of you already know, the demand for organic milk far-outstrips production, and large dairy suppliers are scrambling to locate farmers interested in transitioning to organic. We’ve been talking to our friends at Organic Valley about this problem ever since the Upper Midwest Organic Conference in February. They’re working hard through their own networking to identify and assist producers in making that transition. Together, we decided it might be helpful if New Farm spread the word about organic dairy management by reprinting some of the practical articles written by Organic Valley’s veterinarian, Dr. Paul Dettloff—one of only a handful of conventionally trained large-animal veterinarians who have reoriented their practices to meet the needs of organic producers.

Most of these articles have only been distributed to the farmers in Organic Valley’s dairy pools. We hope they’ll give all you conventional folks out there a taste for what’s involved in organic dairy management. Our first article in this multi-part series provides an introduction and overview to organic producers … and those considering making the switch. Click here for more.


Chris Hill, Executive Editor


A passion for goats
Elly Hushour may have stumbled into farming, but her passion for her herd and a dedication to the three M’s—milk, meat and marketing—has turned her stumble into a stride as Patches of Star Dairy continues to grow.
See at left for more.

The real future of farming
Hundreds of Boston young people are being transformed from consumers into producers.
See below for more.

The real future of
farming, part 2

A North Carolina community college is turning out committed, well-trained organic farmers.
See at left for more.

How to manage an organic dairy herd ...
In the first in a series, Organic Valley vet Dr. Paul Dettloff gives an overview of what's involved in organic dairy herd health.
See at left for more.


Fresh today from The New Farm®

Organic farming to safeguard the FIRST environment
Ecologist and writer Sandra Steingraber talks about her late father's conversion to organic farming .... and the frightening link between agricultural chemicals, birth defects and other developmental abnormalities.

In a beautiful and impassioned address to the Eco-Farm conference this year—just 10 days after her father died of cancer—Sandra Steingraber spoke eloquently of the delicate and complex developmental process that begins when a human egg is fertilized. She spoke of the indisputable knowledge we now have that fetuses—and infants—are uniquely susceptible to even the most minute levels of agricultural chemicals common in our environment. Sandra has graciously agreed to let us reprint her address in two parts.

This week, in part 1, Sandra details the profound effects these chemicals can have on the viability of eggs and sperm. In part 2 she’ll describe the developmental disruptions that can occur as the fetus begins to grow and take shape.


Steingraber address

Above: Sandra Steingraber selling organic tomatoes in 1970.

SARE updates a classic: PART 3
A marketing wizard learns to farm
How a Washington, DC, suburbanite with a degree in classical guitar became a recognized leader among organic farmers in Rhode Island, a driving force behind the state's thriving farmers’ markets, and an accomplished vegetable grower.
  SARE profile

Cultivating the soil, cultivating youth
On a 31-acre farm 12 miles outside of Boston, The Food Project is busy transforming 132 paid young people and 2,000 volunteers each year from consumers into producers. The young workers grow tons of food, market it through a farmers' market, CSA and catering business, and give back through a variety of community service projects. It has transformed the young people ... and those who work with them.


Boston Food Project


Speaking of transforming young people ...
Yigal Deutscher, who wrote our series on farming in Israel, has written us a beautiful letter of thanks for all of the stories we've published from young people, passionate about organic farming, who've traveled the world sharing their experiences on farms from Thailand to Costa Rica. They transformed his life, he says, and they speak to all of those passionate young dreamers out there who "will find inspiration in the stories and go out on their own with new confidence." Anyone who cares about the future of organic farming will want to read his heartfelt letter.
  Yigal's letter

CASE STUDY: Tierra Wools, Part 2

From fleece to finished product
In part one, we described the hard work that goes into raising and marketing heirloom lamb. Transforming Churro wool into rugs and tapestries--the focus of this installment--requires more hard work, from shearing and washing to spinning, dyeing, weaving and managing the Tierra Wools' retail store.

At right: Naturally-dyed yarn was a hard sell in the beginning, but now 70% of the wool products sold by Tierra Wools are colored with natural dye.


Tierra Wools



Why Soil Health Matters
You have more at stake than next year's yields ...

In 1994, NewFarm.Org's managing editor Greg Bowman interviewed four soil scientists about the links between soil life and regenerative, organic farming. Their insights are as relevant and practical today as they were then--and all of them are still active in the field. You'll recognize their names. Enjoy!
At right: Where have I seen that face .... ?


Soil matters



Reader Q&A

Reader Commentary

Ask Jeff


Commodity payments running wild;
corral them today.

A new bill titled the Rural America Preservation Act of 2005 includes a commodity subsidy reform provision that would limit any one farm to no more than $250,000. While $250,000 may still seem high, had this provision been in place in 2003 it would have resulted in a $68 million in savings from Riceland alone. If concerned farmers do not act TODAY commodity programs will continue to grow out of control while funding for conservation programs is slowly eliminated. Limit commodity payments; save a conservation program. ACT TODAY!
  Action alert
Ag Policy Perspectives:
The agricultural aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
The immediate impact in direct damage to crops is obvious, says Dr. Ray. Not so obvious will be the cost of up to two million bushels of grain stranded in barges on the Mississippi, or the big rise in not just fuel prices, but in agricultural chemicals made from or with petroleum products.

  Ag Policy Perspectives
Research Update
Breeding a more sustainable potato
Wisconsin researchers focus on disease resistance and organic performance in potato varieties.
  Research Update


Wanted: Bulk shallot sets; land to rent in CA; mountain farm in NC, GA or TN; cornmeal gluten in NJ; a good “gasohol” recipe; wheat for survival food in Louisiana; information on breeding European nightcrawlers; used poultry processing equipment; bulb crates in bulk quantities.

For Sale: English Babydoll rams or mini-sheep; a Pecan farm in South-Central Texas; a variety of organic grains in a variety of locations; fall feeder pigs; a Bush Hog Ro-Till subsoiler/strip tiller; easy-to-hatch African grey parrot eggs.

Events: Oregon Tilth's Annual Fall Conference – free to members that register by October 31. The “Great Markets, Great Cities" International Public Markets Conference is running from October 28-31 in D.C., registration is open now.

Opportunities: Farm manager for organic CSA with dynamic mission near Philadelphia; internship at a small organic farm in northern California; New Entry Sustainable Farming Project in Lowell, Massachusetts needs a Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator; a faculty position for organic ag coordinator has opened up at Washington State University.




Been to our bookstore lately? Check out featured titles on temperature climate permaculture, finding real food, organic veterinary care, getting into goat dairying, and the links between agrichemicals and human developmental abnormalities. Plus new reviews:

REVIEW: Rural Renaissance
Heading up country
John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist blaze a trail into rural America. MORE >

REVIEW: EcoVillage at Ithaca
Better living through community
From Liz Walker, an inside history of a pioneering project in upstate New York. MORE >

Have a book recommendation for us? Let us know by emailing senior writer Laura Sayre at

Check The New Farm home page for the latest news. Enjoy.
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