OK. So it’s a cold April most places north of Dallas, but
be of good cheer because spring has always come—except for
the year of the big volcano, when it snowed in unusual places in
Yes, a fund-drive.
Maybe we caught you off-guard by sending you our
first fund-raiser appeal between our monthly updates. So here’s
a fresh take. We’re approaching 8 percent of the way to
our $20,000 goal, but our May 1 deadline is only 18 days away.
Thanks to those who’ve sent in the first $1,500 and change.
Now we need the rest of you to start investing in NewFarm.org.
We just need 370 more readers to send $50 to make this first effort
a success—and to know we have readers we can depend on.
Current big events.
Agriculture is riding new waves of change and challenge. Ethanol-torqued
demand for corn is pushing prices toward $4 per bushel and running
up other grains as well. Fertilizer costs are higher due to lower
supply and lots more corn going in. Bees are dying in droves coast
to coast, but why? We can’t predict the impacts of lower
crop pollination from fewer bees on 2007 food costs or of high
corn costs on all livestock producers—organic dairies, in
Yet within the agricultural community, farmers who are walking
the path toward sustainability in production and marketing have
some protection from these commodity-rocking dynamics. On-farm
fertility from healthy soil and cover crops diminishes fertilizer
sticker-shock. Relying significantly on pasture and forages for
feed reduces the financial hit from corn shifting to a higher-cost
input for the foreseeable future. Networking between the organic
grain and livestock sectors with farmers who want to even out
highs and lows for each other may produce some new models of risk
management. Maximizing long-flowering cover crops will support
alternative pollinators. New
research is expanding cover-crop benefits.
We also need to remember what we used to know. Retrieving disregarded
knowledge—in areas as diverse as Asian
Soybean Rust research of 30 years ago and cover-crop
experience in Texas from before World War II—is essential
to creating the resilient natural systems that can survive the
brittleness of industrial agriculture’s challenges.
PS: We’re serious
about the money thing. The Rodale Institute, our publisher and home,
is a nonprofit that needs durable, two-way connections with people
who care. We want you to show that you value this part of its mission.
Your fully tax-deductible donation will directly support NewFarm.org.
One reader wrote: “I can’t afford to give, but I can’t
afford even more not to give.” So he gave. Right choice.