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Hello, [name]. More great research results from The Rodale Institute: Sorry to toot our own horn again, but a toot by any other name would be called "sharing valuabale research on the benefits of organic production." Can we help it if our 23-year-old Farming Systems Trial is starting to yield extraordinary new results? Anyway, in September the American Journal of Alternative Agriculture published a paper by three people on our research staff showing that organic yields outstripped conventional yields by as much as 100 percent in six drought years between 1988 and 1999. Check out our summary of the data. I think you'll be amazed.

ACTION ALERT!!! The Conservation Security Program (CSP) is a 2002 Farm Bill initiative to provide financial assistance to farmers who are solving key natural resource and environmental problems by adopting sustainable practices and systems. As Kevin Brussell of the Land Stewardship Project writes in an op-ed piece featured on our web site (see below), "CSP would reward farmers for diversifying into such enterprises as grass-based livestock, hay, and cropping systems that include more small grains such as oats. It would begin to correct the bias of current farm policy, which penalizes farmers like us for growing anything but a few specified row crops." Unfortunately, the Bush administration has dragged out implementation for so long that this critical program is now in danger of losing its funding. PLEASE ACT NOW to send a letter to your congress person insisting on full funding for the CSP.

Lisa is back: Lisa Hamilton, responsible for our series on Japanese agriculture, is back this week with a beautiful profile of Full Belly Farm, located just west of Sacramento, California. Full Belly is an extraordinary farm that redefines what it means to be a family farm. Despite its 35 full-time workers, 15 retail accounts, 15 wholesale accounts, 650 member CSA and three farmers’ markets almost year ‘round, Full Belly still has the heart and soul of a family farm. Check it out by clicking here.

Coming next week: Next Friday we'll bring you ...

  • Jeff Moyer's monthly column on what's happening here at The Institute's 333-acre research farm. We'll also share some of his answers to the many questions he's received by email over the last few months.
  • An extraordinary piece by Mark Schonbeck that offers a wealth of practical details on no-till cover crop systems for organic vegetable production. The advice he shares in such detail is based on research by Virginia Tech horticulture prof Ron Morse, who has been working for 24 years on soil-conserving systems for producing vegetables in the hilly Appalachian region.
  • The next installment in our series on Japanese farming--a profile of Yasuo Tarumi, a farmer on Japan's southern island of Kyushu. Mr. Tarumi's years of farming, incredibly, span pre-World War 2 to the present. He has passed through natural farming, through chemical farming and back again.

Also coming up: the conference season! We'll be sharing with you the valuable, practical contents from dozens of workshops our writers attend in Washington state, South Carolina, Vermont, Iowa, Delaware, Montana, New York, Pennsylvania ... and much much more.

--Chris Hill, Executive Editor

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

 

Full Belly Farm: Eggplant seeds drying in preparation for next season

     

Fresh today from The New Farm®
     

Susanna’s Costa Rican Sojourn: Part 1, Beginnings

How strip mine spoils and organic soils shaped
a young woman’s resolve to farm in nature’s image

Through a slow odyssey from joyful childhood years on a family farm to an intellectual understanding, in college, of the environmental and social value of small-scale farming, Susanna Meyer has unexpectedly found herself to be… a farmer. And now she's on the road in Costa Rica, trying to glean lessons she can bring back to an urban farm in Pittsburgh.

 

Costa Rica Sojourn:
Below: Farmer Susanna, the early years.

     

OP/ED
Conservation Security Program: The best disaster insurance tax money can buy

Two midwest farmers argue that funding the CSP will encourage the kind of healthy, diversified farming that commodity supports put the axe to.

 

Conservation Security Program

 

     

TRANSATLANTIC FARM TOUR: Crossing Canada with Don Lotter

The good life of a small-scale Ontario dairy farmer depends on being part of a dynamic coop

Odelia Osthaus likes her herd at its current size. She likes the life she and her children lead. … and the savvy marketing and smart management of the OntarBio organic farmers’ coop make it all possible.

 

Ontario Dairy

     

TALKING SHOP: IOWA
Ecology Initiative of the Leopold Center
for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa

British ecologist lays out blueprint for influencing public policy to favor sustainable ag

Jules Pretty, author, ag scholar, and aggressive proponent of a new way to farm, argues that if we hope to change anything, we must make clear to policy makers the steep costs of conventional ag while documenting the social and environmental benefits of sustainable production.

 

Jules Pretty

 

   

DR. Don Research Update

Part 3 in our series on weed management research

"Plant community assembly theory as a framework for approaching weed management." Sounds like a mouthful; is a mouthful. But it's an extremely important way of viewing weed control--tracking weed populations over time, and understanding all the variables from cultivation to cover crop that influence them.

 

DR. Don on weeds

 

     

OPPORTUNITY!
$62 million awarded to New York CREP program

The FSA answers FAQs on CREP participation

Interpretation: New York's Farm Service Agency answers questions about who's eligible for a little piece of the $62 million pie that New York has been awarded for its Conversation Reserve Enhancement Program.

  New York CREP
     

The latest ag news

Government policy major barrier to sustainable practices; no new restrictions for Atrazine;
two Oklahoma towns blown away by wind farm benefits

 

Check out our latest news on the home page

     
 
   
   
     
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