What a difference a month makes—for the worse for the storm-ravaged
Midwest, for the drier in the Southeast and southern California,
but for the better here in the Mid-Atlantic as farmers ventured
out onto unusually cool May soils.
Antibiotics in organics:
The energy, time and emotion already expended in debating nearly
all aspects of the USDA National Organic Program show that for all
it may or may not accomplish, the nation’s farmers, eaters
and other observers talking about it desperately care what organic
A new chapter in this debate is unfolding as a prominent veterinarian
calls for change to allow strictly limited antibiotic use for the
good of the cows. He maintains that the North American organic community
cares too much about marketing a perfect image for organic dairy—and
must shift its focus to care more about cows, instead.
The goal—when the livestock standards were hammered out prior
to October 2002—was to have organic dairy cattle so healthy
that the rare animals treated with an antibiotic should be banished
from the milking herd. That’s the rule, and it’s not
good for cows or farmers—or for eaters who might come to believe
antibiotics can be so nearly banned in organic dairy without significant
costs to cow comfort, farmer conscience and organic integrity.
According to the organic dairyman who represented all dairy producers
in Canada in negotiating their new organic standard, this strict
limitation isn’t even necessary in 2007, given increased consumer
concern for responding to animal welfare.
Many thanks: From
Mexico, The Philippines, New Zealand and Japan; from four Canadian
provinces; from many of the lower 48 and Hawaii, nearly 100 generous
readers contributed almost $5,500 in our first-ever fund drive this
spring. We’ll accept whatever else comes in over summer, and
launch our “Celebrate the harvest” effort this fall
to tackle the balance in our $20,000 reader-support goal for 2007
to keep NewFarm.org strong.
Now, go farm and enjoy the foods of the season wherever you are.
PS: For the curious and competitive among you, the states tied
for the most donors this spring were California, Maryland, Minnesota
and Pennsylvania, each with six gifts from farms, companies, nonprofits
or individuals. Thanks to all.