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New from New York, Iowa and Mississippi!


Happy holidays. A trip to Japan to visit farmers there and the holidays have delayed us in getting this email out to you. Lots of great new stories to browse through now, and many plans for the new year, including a column on sustainable basics for beginning farmers (many of you asked us for this). The column will be written by New Farm® magazine editor George Devault and his wife Mel, with occasional help from their son. We'll also be launching our discussion forums in the next month and a half, adding our first book store entries, and launching a series of questions and answers about certification and the new NOP standards.

I'd like to thank all of you who sent in comments, suggestions, questions and stories in the last two months. We have read them and will eventually respond to each of you. However, the unexpected volume of responses caught us by surprise. We've hired two assistant editors who will begin in mid-January, which should help us keep up with your questions. Keep your thoughts and questions coming, and enjoy the new stories we've added. I especially like Mary-Howell and Klaas Martens' new piece about the importance of community.

Until January.

Chris Hill, Executive Editor

Fresh today from The New Farm

The gift of community
The Martens, who farm over 1300 acres organically in upstate New York, reflect on the critical importance to organic farmers of a supportive community that counteracts the trend in rural America toward bitter competition and isolation. AND THERE'S MORE! They also offer 6 keys to successful weed management.
 Letter from NY


< Community celebration: Members of New York Certified Organic enjoy their first winter meeting of the year. NYCO members have been supporting each other for 10 years now. The Rodale Institute's Bill Leibhardt, mentioned in the story, is at the far left.


Success with organic cotton in Mississippi!
This is the first in a new series of occasional stories called Talking Shop. Lots of interesting ideas get shared at conferences and field days around the country, and wherever possible we plan to have a writer attend these events on report on issues and successful farm operations. Your ideas for events and writers are welcome. Anyway, in this first offering, we report on the first statewide sustainable ag conference in Mississippi history, and profile cotton farmer Steve Mckaskle, an organic cotton trailblazer who has beaten weevils, doubters with persistent experimentation.

Talking Shop


John Ikerd's farm economy state of the union address
In part three of this series, sustainable guru Ikerd describes the emergence of a new breed of farmer in America more interested in community, collaboration and stewardship than a cancerous and desperate hunger for growth at any cost.

John Ikerd

Pioneers of Iowa Sustainable Farming, Part 4
In the final installment of this series, we profile Ron and Maria Rosmann and sons, who have built healthy relationships with their western Iowa customers through organic grain and meat.

 The Rosmanns

Dispatches from Dairyland
Pennsylvania dairy farmer Brenda Cochran describes the breakdown of disaster support programs in their county, and its impact on already anxious dairy farmers.


Dairyland Dispatches


Just WHO got milked?
The National Farmers Union president lays out the gross inequities in the current dairy market that are milking farmers and consumers while processors and supermarket chains are getting fat on dairy profits.

Got milked?


Dr. Don's Research Updates
Rodale Institute researcher Don Lotter describes recent research showing that organic rice production yields compare well with conventional ... and totally outperform conventional from an economic point of view. Don is in Costa Rica now, setting up a satellite office for New Farm® so we can begin covering sustainable farming in Latin America. Please send us any ideas or contacts you think would be useful.

Dr, Don


Vulnerable, but not powerless
Elizabeth Sawin of the Sustainability Institute argues that all the madness of the world--the warfare, toxins and climate changes--are not out of our control. We do have options, as farmers and citizens, she says.

Beth Sawin


The Final Word
Ag reporter Alan Guebert describes Europe's insistence on playing by its own food rules when it comes to feed additives and their environmental impact. He also talks about the resignation of Monsanto's CEO, and how his departure and Monsanto's poor performance telegraphed to consumers that big business had little stomach for the controversial technology and reinforced market misgivings on GMOs.

Final Word


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