Well, the Internet just got smarter about organics, and so can you.
“Transition to Organic” is the name for a expanding
toolkit of online resources from The Rodale Institute. These farmer-centered
- Highlight the benefits of organic farming.
- Assist with decision-making to assess economic risk and potential.
- Show how to convert a farm to meet organic certification standards.
Jeff Moyer, farm manger at the Institute, is your guide as you
learn about the principles and practices of organics in the Transition
to Organics course. You can work at your convenience, in any
order, through modules on soils, crops, livestock, marketing and
certification. Moyer shares his 30 years of experience in pioneering
organic grain systems at the Institute, and invites many other farmers
from across the United States to share the details of their organic
successes and challenges.
We’ve put the Organic
System Plan worksheets (developed by our friends at ATTRA) online,
allowing you to apply the principles in the course to your own farm.
This plan is the first step toward certification, and helps you
organize an orderly consideration of all aspects of farm conversion.
We are privileged to present two of the Midwest’s top livestock
writers this issue… Gearld Fry of Rose Bud, Arkansas, is a
veteran livestock breeding specialist, honing in on basic nutrition
and selective breeding for success on pasture. He shouts a wake-up
call for cattle producers to turn away from several generations
of wrong-headed trends to claim what knowledge remains on how to
breed healthy, resilient animals… No one has spent more time
in small-town sale barns, at poultry swaps or on out-back hog farms
than eastern Missouri’s Kelly Klober. He’s tickled to
document the resurgence of tightly-crafted hog enterprises that
fit snugly among other parts of mixed-type farms, focusing on thrifty
traditional breeds for direct sale as top-quality meat or coveted
market hogs destined for the show ring.
Debt to Scotland:
Besides a photo of a winsome Scottish Berkshire barrow in Klober’s
story, farmer Chuck Smith of Kentucky reports success with a traditional
Scottish breed of sheep, Border Cheviots. They tend his vineyard
and charm visitors to his on-farm meals and wine cellar.
Yes, we face a pile of uncertainties in 2008. But learning new
ways (and re-discovering old ways) to grow healthier, tougher, smarter
animals for caring, well-informed customers is a great way to improve
coping skills and resilience of farmers and the communities who
depend on—and support—them.