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Hello [name]. Call it free (thinking) enterprise or health-based capitalism or the rise of a sustainable consciousness, but some good things are happening to counter agri-business—and agri-education—as usual.

Consumers who believe that really fresh, unprocessed milk is better for them than milk that has been pasteurized and homogenized are finding ways to buy it. They and the farmers who work with them to provide a safe and healthful product have to contend with increasingly hostile (in some cases) state regulators. Their cooperation and determination to find a way to continue farmer-direct buying relationships—whether it’s raw milk or grass-fed beef or livestock without radio tags—signal a rising force in the U.S. food economy.

Swelling demand for an organic college education that will make students competitive agriculturally as well as economically is creating more options in land-grant schools across the U.S. Any assessment of the commercial vitality of the organic sector shows it’s a growth area, and faculty with organic confidence and competence are leading the way.

Faced with increasing research that shows the long-term impacts of agricultural chemical residues on children, young parents are thinking more carefully about what their families eat. Buying food produced organically and in other ways to limit environmental impact by fertilizers and pesticides is a common-sense choice for limiting developmental damage from environmental contamination.

Getting the global picture on ag subsidies for commodities is another driver to “Make Trade Fair” as world trade rules are debated. Supporting family farmers in the U.S. and in developing nations—such as Senegal, West Africa—means building ways for the market to cover the costs of sustainable production.

We cover all these stories of emerging good news this month, and want you to tell us what looks promising in food and farming where you live. Read. Reflect. Write.

Enjoy spring, wherever you are.
Greg Bowman
Online Editor

     

Fresh today from The New Farm®
   

Organic U
Washington State University introduces organic ag major, a sign that this school is leading the pack as land-grant universities begin “greening up.”

 
   
Convinced of its dangers, health officials cry “Pasteurize!”
Farmers find strong income source from producing raw milk for health-driven customers despite regulatory complexity.
   
   
Local farm talk links U.S., West African farmers
Agronomist seeks shift to fair trade rather than free trade that causes imbalances.
   
   
Getting your farm on the web on the cheap
The Weltons run a 1-acre specialty vegetable farm and are used to maximizing space and resources. When it came to creating their farm's first webpage, they learned less really is more.
   
   
from the archives
Flowers are forever…
…in their customer appeal and market demand. Your careful work and planning now will determine the value of flowers you can sell later.
 
   
Reader Mail
You ask, we answer. Questions from all of you answered by all our expert contacts; from Jeff Moyer (our farm manager) to worm gurus, to other farmers.
   
   

News & Views
Avian flu workshop... Britain goes organic... more NOSB seats to fill... OCIA farmer of the year announced... Pipeline threatens organic farm... Meatrix II bashes dairy CAFOs... Organic dairy, ingredient rules contended.

ag policy perspectives
Economic viability of the farm sector
Why does it include a spouse’s paycheck?

   
   
     

at the rodale institute®
   
   
Plans for no-till roller free for the downloading NOW!
Rugged yet elegant design lets crafters turn metal into dynamic tool for saving fuel, cutting chemicals and applying crop rotations.
 
   
intern journal
Planting plastic jugs brings a smile
Rodale Institute intern contemplates where she’s been and what she’s learning.
   
   

sustainable in senegal
Livestock fattening,Thiawène, Diourbel
Village women’s group pioneers and teaches how “kept” sheep and goats can improve soil, boost yields and provide much-needed income in dry Diourbel region.

   
   
one farm to another
First taste of the NOSB: organics is alive and well
Determination to testify showed strong farmer commitment to keeping organics organic.
   
   
dr. paul's research perspectives
Through choices private and public, our children’s future is in our hands
Ag chemicals in food and water are having profound, generational impacts through subtle effects.
   
     
 
   
   
     
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