Organic Farming News and Trends

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Organic farmer sows wisdom:  The key to Khosla's certification system, "Certified Naturally Grown, " is inspection by fellow organic farmers, rather than government inspectors. Khosla's program encourages farmers to find solutions to their problems from other organic farmers. It encourages selling and buying locally. It promotes crop diversity, rather than single-crop production. Times Herald-Record, New York, Jeremiah Horrigan, July 31, 2006

Moving beyond organic:  Beneficial Farm and Ranch Collaborative provides a uniquely Western alternative to industrialized organic agriculture. In addition to being raised without chemical pesticides and fertilizers, "Beneficial" farm products have an advantage because they are grown fresh in the region, and because Beneficial farmers are committed to improving farm and soil conditions, which translates into better nutritional profiles in foods, according to Hobbs. The Pueblo Chieftain Online, Pueblo, Colorado, Hal Walter, July 30, 2006

Benefits, drawbacks of "no-till" farming:  One possible drawback: with no-till farming a farmer might have to use more herbicides to control weeds. Liebig said he thinks the benefits outweigh that drawback. That's our show. Special thanks to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. We're Block and Byrd for Earth & Sky.

Program #4,956 of the Earth & Sky Radio Series, Hosts Deborah Byrd and Joel Block, July 30, 2006

Will Chase: Farmer making a packet out of knobbly crisps - The success of his hand-fried, straight-from-the-field crisps in the past four years has changed Chase's life. "I want to be a serial entrepreneur," he says in an office that used to be a potato warehouse and is now a crisp factory. Guardian Unlimited, UK, Business, The Jane Martinson interview, July 28, 2006

MSU Starting New Program for Organic Farming:  Michigan State University is harvesting a new crop of certified organic farmers. The school already has an organic farm, now a new program to certify students in organic farming will start in January. WLNS.COM 6 News, Lansing, MI, July 27, 2006 Lansing State Journal, Matthew Miller, July 26, 2006

Grapes bring life to desert ranch:  Cadiz - The organic table grape harvest began in mid-June and is just winding down. The juice grape harvest is under way and will run through August. Raisins, which dry right on the vine for maximum flavor, will be harvested in August and September. The Desert Trail, 29 Palms, California, Kelly O'Sullivan, July 26, 2006

The green machine:  Lee Scott is no tree-hugger. But Wal-Mart's CEO says he wants to turn the world's largest retailer into the greenest. The company is so big, so powerful, it could force an army of suppliers to clean up their acts too. Is he serious?  Wal-Mart's purchases of organic cotton have eliminated millions of tons of chemicals, Scott says. Today, Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stock a range of organic-cotton products - baby clothes under the Baby George brand, teenage fashion, and a line of bed sheets and towels., Fortune Magazine, Marc Gunther, July 26, 2006

Beetle Patrol: Corvallis, Oregon farmers are cultivating predator-prey relationships and reducing the need for pesticides by adopting new pest management strategies that encourage beneficial insect populations. KVAL 13 Eugene News, Dawn Marie Woodward, July 25, 2006

Character revealed - Farmer proves mettle in rescue attempt: Mulberry opted for organic, at first for the money. Now it’s about the quality of relations it builds between everyone involved in the relay of produce from dirt to dinner The Times News Online, Twin Falls, ID, Ashley Smith, July 25, 2006

Growers Can Make More Money by Going Organic:  It looks like Minnesota grain farmers could make more money by switching to organic grain crops. That's the conclusion of a four-year study being announced today at the American Agricultural Economics Association's annual meeting in Long Beach, Calif.  USDA Agricultural Research Service, News & Events, Don Comis, July 25, 2006

DOST introduces cheap organic fertilizer to boost export: TABUK, Kalinga (24 July) -- Being told to go organic, farmers here are also lured to shift on low cost sources of organic fertilizer and means to produce feeds. Going back to the adoption of village technology on fertilizer and feeds production generic among rural folks, is still one of the cheapest strategy to increase agriculture production and boost export. PIA (Philippine Information Agency) Press Release, Peter A. Balocnit, July 24, 2006

Down on the Farm: The Goodwins, who live in Minot and rent a summer campsite on Woodbury Pond in Litchfield, learned how Chandler's organic farming methods protect the environment and provide healthful produce. Kennebec Journal, Augusta, Maine, Betty Adams, July 24, 2006

Organic Farming, Answer to Farmers' Suicides?  Nagni, Uttaranchal - As the phenomenon of mass suicides by farmers turns into a major national issue, small cultivators in this sub-Himalayan state are demonstrating that the way forward to sustainable agriculture may lie in sticking to traditional methods. Common Dreams News Center, Inter Press Service, Bharat Dogra, July 24, 2006

Sanchez: What media missed on organics: Media forgot to mention that it was here in Negros Occidental - the country's sugarbowl - that two years ago, the country was first able to export organic rice to Switzerland. And that the exporter was none other than Negros Greenshoppe, the marketing arm of the NGO, the Broad Initiatives for Negros Development (Bind). Sun.Star Bacolod, Benedicto Sanchez, July 24, 2006

Natural label catches on:  "Certified Naturally Grown" relies on networks of local farmers that adhere to chemical-free standards and sell locally. After barely four years of existence, more than 400 small farmers across the United States sell their produce as Certified Naturally Grown — making it the biggest of almost 20 similar programs worldwide. Another 200 are awaiting inspection, and applications are doubling every year. Poughkeepsie Journal, New York, Aaron Munzer, July 23, 2006

Ryots gain from organic farming:  HYDERABAD: Hundreds of farmers in 10 districts have reaped rich dividends from the confidence reposed in organic farming, which enabled them to save more than Rs. 4.5 crores by effectively using natural products and avoiding pesticides. The Hindu, Andhra Pradesh - Hyderabad, India, July 23, 2006

Experts tout benefits of no-till farming:  Proponents say soil will get better and better each year using a no-till method because the life under the soil - things like fungus and earthworms - is not being disturbed and destroyed each year. The Derrick, Leigh Protivnak, July 22, 2006

Spraying stirs worry - Organic farms in Yolo concerned about direct hit: As government officials continue to stress that the dosage of chemicals used is harmless to people, another group that undeniably has something to lose is paying close attention to the plans -- organic farmers. Sacramento Bee, California, Eric Stern, July 22, 2006

Organic goes mainstream: Organic milk, nuts, cheese, vegetables, eggs, meat and cereals that were normally relegated to health food aisles now compete with conventional items for shelf space at the local supermarket.  Proving that organic has become mainstream, a chain of supermarkets stocking only organic or natural foods has opened in Sydney and Melbourne. One News, AAP, New Zealand, July 21, 2006

Conservation plan leads to financial help on the farm:  “I started practicing no-till conservation 10 years ago,” Friesenhahn reports. “My yields are equal to or better than anyone else in the area (Knippa, Texas).  My maintenance repairs have gone down to about one quarter of what they were 10 or15 years ago. I don’t have any wind or water erosion, so I’ve saved soil and I’ve cut my water usage in half. Southwest Farm Press, Dee Ann Burkes, July 17, 2006

Town practices a 'higher' level of organic farming:  Welcome to the world of biodynamic agriculture, in which the universe-sun, moon, stars, the planets-creates a heavenly "life force" essential to the growth of crops without the application of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Sun.Star, General Santos, Surallah, South Cotabato, July 17, 2006

Go back to the basics:  Organic farming is not the only solution to the problems contributing to the farm crisis. However, it is the only one within the farmer's control. In the last 10 years, the cost of living has risen dramatically, but the price of cotton has fallen. That's why the rural economy is collapsing. The Hindu Magazine, India, Dionne Bunsha, July 16, 2006

Organic farming takes root in Banks:  Weil, 30, is part of Alabama's emerging sustainable agriculture movement that is pesticide- and chemical-free. He works with nature rather than fighting it. In 2000, Weil founded Red Root Farm on four acres of his grandmother's land. Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama, Trish O'Kane, July 16, 2006

Organic farming thrives in Southeast Minnesota:  Eleven years ago, Hedin, 39, bought into a land cooperative and began growing organic produce to sell at local farmers’ markets. After paring their crop diversity down to about a dozen, he and Rhys Williams, who joined the farm in 1998, have 12 full-time employees at Featherstone Fruits and Vegetables. Their best customer, at least by volume, is Whole Foods — the world’s largest retailer of organic products. Winona Daily News, Brian Voerding and Chris Hubbuch, July 16, 2006

GM Potato Crops to Produce Vaccines:  German researchers obtained this year permission to plant genetically-modified potatoes that produce vaccines and proteins on an outdoor plantation. World Grower, Amsterdam, Netherlands, July 13, 2006

A hundred thousand points of light - Farming without fossils: In a world on the cusp of fuel shortages, one enterprising collection of British farmers have come up with a solution they claim is practical, profitable – and close to home. They’re growing their own. Green Futures, Trevor Lawson Reports, July 13, 2006

Their chosen fields:  The number of women running farms increased 86 percent in the United States and 83 percent in Florida between 1978 and 2002, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Floridian, Dan Dewitt, July 13, 2006

Bringing a Living Wage to the Farm:  A few courageous individuals who want Americans to radically rethink the food on their plates are trying to boost farm worker wages. AlterNet, John Feffer, July 12, 2006

Stalk locally grown food with guide:  Georgia Organics, a nonprofit group, has produced its first guide to markets, farms and restaurants. Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Elizabeth Lee, July 11, 2006

Farmers see growth in more 'natural' crops:  There are an estimated 250 certified organic farms in Michigan and 10,000 across the country. Lansing State Journal, Jeremy W. Steele, July 10, 2006

Rain or shine, farmers’ harvest holds local appeal:  After selling his chemical- and pesticide-free fruits and vegetables at the Milford Farmers Market every Saturday for 28 years, Mitchell knows better than to worry about how the rest of the season will turn out. The Telegraph, Eric Parry, July 9, 2006

Painful growth spurt for organic foods:  As big farms enter expanding market, some fear corners may be cut to increase output.  Instead of pesticides and chemicals, the 2,000-acre organic farm boasts insect condos and plants interspersed among the lettuce rows to attract the good bugs and repel the bad ones., Janet Forgrieve, July 8, 2006

Apple farmer Jim Rider wins award for years of innovation:  Rider farms about 75 acres of specialty organic apples and 80 acres of cut flowers on several ranches near Corralitos — one ranch has been in the family for more than 100 years. Rider's wife, Barbara, and brother, Dick, help him manage the two family businesses., Santa Cruz Sentinel, Emily Saarman, July 7, 2006

Look good, save the earth:  Cotton may be natural, but it's far from planet-friendly, explains Josh Sims. Now a band of idealistic designers is creating cool organic clothing for fashionistas with a conscience. Independent Online Edition, UK, July 6, 2006

A new crop of farmers:  Five friends in their 20s are making a go of their organic farm, supplying baskets of vegetables to about 250 clients and selling their wares at two weekend markets. The Gazette, Montreal Canada, Julian Armstrong, July 5, 2006

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