Our Thanksgiving thanks to you: After
all the blithe, vague talk in recent weeks about moral values--which
has given me a mental rash I just can't seem to scratch--the stories
in this issue of New Farm are a strong fresh breeze clearing out
the moral puffery. These farm profiles (and almost every profile
we've ever written, for that matter) demonstrate in so many different
ways the hope, joy, faith, humility and other enduring values that
motivate organic and sustainable farmers to keep their hands in
the soil and their hearts in their communities. The farm families
we meet and profile are creative, energetic, passionate and diverse.
All of us at New Farm and The Rodale Institute would like to give
thanks now for the privilege of meeting and writing about these
folks, whose stewardship of the land and vision for the future are
a constant inspiration to us. Thank you.
A turkey day PS: Almost
1,000 readers came looking for turkey information on The New Farm
web site in the past two weeks--and found our heritage turkey piece
from last year. (We know this because we have software that can
track the number of visits to a page, and show us the most visited
pages in a given time period.) It kind of shocked us, and made us
feel a bit remiss. So next year we pledge a NEW turkey production
piece. We may even run it in mid-summer, when it could actually
do you some good.
A special sneak preview for newsletter
subscribers: Two weeks ago I announced that in early
December we'd be launching the first version of our economic modeling
tool, which we've named FarmSelect™. We've
put the tool through its paces with a group of farmers, farm educators
and farm economists, made improvements in it, and now it's ready
for testing by a wider audience. As a special benefit to loyal New
Farm readers, we're offering you an opportunity to check it out
and give us feedback, if you're so inclined. Information on how
to get to FarmSelect is listed below.
So, what is FarmSelect? It's an easy-to-use tool that lets you
do side-by-side comparisons of the economics of organic versus conventional
management on your farm. In this first version, FarmSelect allows
you to compare conventional and organic management in one year for
either corn or soybeans. All you do is enter your zip code and field
size. We use real-time cash prices, USDA county yield averages,
and real yields for organic crops to give you a detailed report.
But best of all, we let you add your own yields and prices to get
a better picture of the economics of your own farm.
By mid-January of 2005 you'll also be able to ...
- ... experiment with key production costs, adding your own numbers
for seed, fertilizer, hired labor and much more.
- ... model multiple crops in multiple fields for a year, giving
you a picture of the whole-farm economics of the two systems.
- ... compare two organic crops side by side, or two whole organic
farms side by side.
- ... compare the economics of organic versus conventional in
very wet and very dry years.
Finally, before the end of 2005, you’ll be able to test a
five year organic rotation to see how it performs over time economically,
compared with the conventional approach ... or another organic system.
If you like the results, you’ll even be able to print out
a financial plan you can take to your lender.
HERE'S HOW TO TAKE A LOOK AT FarmSelect:
All you have to do is click
here. You'll be asked for a user name and password.
Enter the following:
- User name: preview
- Password: news
If you have feedback to share with us--and
I certainly hope you do--send it to my attention at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris Hill, Executive Editor
Flower machine: Can
this woman really be responsible for 20,000 bunches of cut flowers
See below for more.
Andy Griffin's word for the week:
Don't take the fantasy out of farming ... but don't
check reason at the door, either.
See below for more
High desert success. 3
acres of green gold in the Four Corners area.
See below for more.
Garden of Eden? Lush
gardens and orchards arise from nothing in the desert of southern
See below for more.