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Hello [name]. All farming, like all politics, is local. But some changes and challenges are so big they impact everybody, with your local conditions determining how soon and how much you can respond.

The uncertain adjustments to more scarce—and more expensive—fossil fuels will ripple through agriculture and food economics for years to come. If the blip of high oil prices during the Carter years (1977-1981) boosted sustainable agriculture as a cost-saving alternative, imagine what will happen in the context of global warming, mainstream organics and tremendous advances in ecologically sound farming systems.

Per-acre costs for corn relying on purchased inputs for fertility and pest protection are up sharply this year, skewing what used to make sense on enterprise budgets. It’s a great time to explore cover crops that supply nitrogen and build soil.

When driving becomes too expensive to do casually, we’ll all re-think how we grow, transport, process and buy food. One futurist with a long history of assessing the limits of our global resources believes local food will become commonplace, and the ‘burbs will be re-fashioned as they become increasingly unsustainable.

While the strict rules for using manure on U.S. organic farms offer much more protection than its unregulated use on other farms, organic farmers shouldn’t be importing just any manure—even though organic rules would allow them to. What’s injected into your neighbor’s cattle or fed to her confinement chickens ends up in that manure, so it pays to ask questions.

Got thoughts….about our Farm Locator? We’ll reward you with a Rodale Book Store discount if you share them with us. If your farm or food-buying business is listed on the Farm Locator, click here. If you're not listed, but have used the Farm Locator to find farmers and/or businesses, click here.

Greg Bowman
Online Editor

     

Fresh today from The New Farm®
   

Ethnic goat marketing made simple: the right goat, at the right weight, on the right day, slaughtered the right way
One farmer's discoveries on filling a cultural niche with food, and managing the expectations that come attached.

 
   

Livestock inputs make importing manure a concern, even for composting
Organic farmers are safe under NOP rules but need to know what they’re getting and how to manage it.

   
   
“Grazing taller” captures benefits for pasture, cattle and building soil
Observing impacts underground, across seasons and at milking, this dairyman is figuring out how to solve global warming while improving quality of life.
   
   
Small is beautiful…and profitable
Urban farmers in Philadelphia demonstrate that you don’t need a whole lot of land—or fancy equipment—to see black.
 
   
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
Pasture access comment deadline looming...final NOP rule published...farmers resist eviction...susainable ag students get marketing lesson...benefit for Big Easy farmers market...organic programs on campus.

ag policy perspectives
Are you confused about WTO trade liberalization numbers?
Daryll Ray provides some insight into where those numbers come from and how to sort through the hype.

Dear oil will favor local, seasonal food as distant sources lose competitive edge
Long-term scarcity will put cities, suburbs, global trade under stresses they weren’t created to endure.

   
   

at the rodale institute®
   
   
intern journal
No farm is an island
A Rodale Institute intern ponders organic agriculture’s lessons of cause and effect.
 
   

sustainable in senegal
Milk and yogurt production, Ourossogui, Matam region
Fulani women learn holistic cooperative development and enterprise skills to generate value-added revenue, and to inspire other small-scale farmers in the region—including their daughters—with options for economic development.

   
   
one farm to another
Cultivating your cultivation techniques
Keeping your weeds in check means keeping your tools honed, your eye on the fields and some new tricks up your sleeve.
   
   

dr. paul's research perspectives
The world has changed
A look at nitrogen and corn economics.

   
     
 
   
   
     
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