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New finding from The Rodale Institute®: Organic farming combats global warming … big time

Hello. Sorry for the delay in getting back to you with new stories. (Don't worry; we'll pick up again with regular new stories and updates starting next week.)

Here's one of the reasons for the slow-down: I and New Farm Managing Editor Greg Bowman were in Senegal, West Africa for over a week in early October meeting with farmers and people who work with farmers there. We're plotting out our strategy for a French language version of the New Farm web site that will feature farmer profiles and solid, practical information on farming techniques based on our 17 years of research and training efforts in Senegal. The web site will launch in mid-2004.

We're also in the thick of preparing project plans for three major federal grants we received. These grants will pay for development of:

  1. a vastly expanded and improved on Organic Price Index, with prices for more products and from 15 different regions of the country.
  2. the Transition to Organic online course we've been promising for the last year.
  3. a fabulous, easy-to-use tool we're calling the Simulator, which will allow farmers to analyze a wide variety of variables and costs when considering a transition to organic. The tool will help farmers analyze the releative economic benefits of organic versus conventional systems over time, or even compare two different organic approaches. Our goal is to produce a tool that will provide multi-year analysis of an individual farm's yields and economics ... and allow farmers to experiment with changes in key production variables in order to determine which production techniques and rotational sequences are right for their operations.

New finding from The Rodale Institute®: Organic farming combats global warming … big time


On October 10, The Rodale Institute® announced new findings based on data collected over the last 23 years from its long-running comparison of organic and conventional cropping systems. Our data confirms that organic methods are farm more effective than conventional agriculture at removing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the air and fixing it as beneficial organic matter in the soil.

In fact, if all cropland in the U.S. were converted to organic production, not only would we totally eliminate the one trillion pounds of CO2 that conventional agriculture currently emits into the atmosphere. We would actually build up a carbon credit in the soil -- the equivalent of one trillion pounds of CO2.

It's an incredible finding, and there are all sorts of ways to visualize the scope of what's possible. Try this on for size: if 10,000 320-acre farms converted to organic production, they would store so much carbon in the soil that it would be the equivalent of taking 1,174,000 cars off the road ... or reducing the car miles driven by 14.62 billion miles. That's 2,437,000 round trips between NYC and LA not taken!

The process of fixing carbon in the soil is called carbon sequestration, and Laura Sayre does a great job of explaining it and its significance to the environment in our feature article. Enjoy.


--Chris Hill, Executive Editor

Don't forget to check out our latest Organic Price Index.


Goofy signing ceremony represents major new public private collaboration to combat global warming with organic farming!



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