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Organic Broadcaster Online Issue 19.2 March/April 2011
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Table of Contents
- MOSES Organic Farmer of the Year: The Vetter Family
- Organic IPM Strategies for the Small Scale Apple Grower
- News From MOSES Getting ready for the Conference!
- MOSES Project Update What does MOSES do?
- Inside Organics GMOs Where do we go from here?
- USDA Dietary Guidelines Where's the organic?
- Book Review The Town that Food Saved
- Organic- it's worth it! & Organic Earth Day!
- Proof Positive MSU Organic Research
- Selling Organic Grain Use caution
- Organic Voices Preserving the wisdom
- Multi Species Feed Ration For farms with various animals
- Background on GMOs Inside Organics continued
- News Briefs
MOSES Organic Farmer of the Year: The Vetter Family
By Harriet Behar
MOSES is proud to announce the Vetter Family of The Grain Place as the 2011 MOSES Organic Farmer of the year. The family will be receiving the award and giving a presentation at the Organic Farming Conference on February 24 and 25 in La Crosse.
Driving on highway 14 east of Grand Island, Nebraska, you might think that field corn and soybeans were the only crops that could grow in the large fields unbroken to the horizon. That is, until you approach the Vetter family farm, known as The Grain Place, outside of Marquette, Nebraska. A windbreak of mixed conifer trees surround the farm, offering protection from wind and pesticides as well as providing an oasis of habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. This 280-acre farm, with its small fields and diverse rotations, is ever evolving and changing as the Vetter family is continually improving their systems.
The Grain Place History
Don Vetter, the patriarch of The Grain Place, took agriculture courses at the University of Nebraska after returning from World War II. Starting farming in 1948, he was one of the first in the area to try out the new technologies of pesticides and synthetic nitrogen fertilizers. While the yields did improve, Don’s keen sense of observation told him that things were not quite right in his fields. He saw negative effects on the soil and wildlife. He also noticed that the crops themselves were more susceptible to insect damage and to damage from the ever present prairie winds. He started to read materials published by Rodale Press, and some Biodynamic publications. Don’s son Dave remembers growing up with Sir Albert Howard’s literature around the house when he was in Junior High School. A holistic view of the farm as an independent organism that was developed in these early years is one that still guides the family.
The negative experience with synthetic inputs led the family to become early adopters of conservation rotations and organic farming practices. In fact, Don Vetter participated in Acres magazine’s first interview with Bill Graves. While he was heckled in some early farm meetings when he spoke about organic, or ignored when no one came, the neighbors no longer laugh at this successful farm. The Vetters have gotten neighboring aerial chemical applicators to be careful around their organic farm, but at times their fight against these toxic applications has been a lonely one.
The Second Generation
Don’s son Dave attended the University of Nebraska and received a degree in soil science and agronomy. He attended United Theological Seminary in Ohio where he enrolled in a dual career training program directed by Fred Kirschenmann. His work with Fred led him back to the family farm. This mentorship has lead to a lifelong friendship between these two visionary men. The understanding that without ecological justice, there cannot be human justice, underscores their belief in respecting the interdependency of all life.
A Diverse Farming System
Dave returned home to farm and started the organic conversion in 1975. Building a strong economic base for the farm has been a priority, and has led to continual experimentation with new crops and rotations. Mike Herman, Dave’s brother-in-law, currently does most of the farming, while Dave and Don are still involved in much of the decision making.
Over the years the Vetters have grown a wide range of crops not typically seen in the region, such as edible soybeans, edible dry beans, blue and white corn, popcorn, heirloom barley, flax, amaranth, lupines, sunflowers, and pasture. Though the acreage has not changed the Vetters have expanded from 6 fields to 18 fields on the farm, all separated by buffer areas. Fruit and nut trees are being planted in the buffer zones to increase biodiversity and add additional income. Pastures are rotated around the farm to support a cow/calf herd of direct marketed grass finished beef. The pasture breaks annual weed cycles for the subsequent row crops. Returning the land to row crop after a few years of pasture as part of a nine-year rotation breaks the pasture’s perennial weed cycle. Crop pests and diseases are managed effectively by the ecological services that the biodiversity and smaller fields provide.
Walking the land and seeing the soil tilth improve enforces the Vetters’ belief that they are doing right by the land and their family. As a model of sustainability the Vetter farm has hosted numerous farm tours for local, regional, national, and international groups. Nebraska agriculture and economic development agencies recognize the gem they have in their midst and they consider a tour of The Grain Place a must when they have international visitors.
These visitors can see how the soil soaks up water and is resilient through all kinds of climatic extremes. While neighbors have heavy clods and significant runoff after rain, the Vetters’ soil is resilient and absorptive. To work the soil they use a buffalo cultivator, spring tine harrow, and rotary hoe, and also do some ridge tillage, depending on the situation. They strive to manage their weed seed bank, but also see the benefits of having some weeds for nutrient recycling and biomass production. They have found that the benefits gained from having some weeds, and the accompanying biodiversity they bring, does more good than harm to their yields and overall profitability.
The Vetters continue to experiment with different irrigation methods. While center pivots are now the norm in their area, the Vetters have been able to use less water with surge irrigation. However, as soil texture and structure has improved they have questioned the effectiveness of the surge system to reduce water use and provide uniform water application. This has led them to experiment with about 60 acres of subsurface drip irrigation. The underground distribution system for irrigation is also used to deliver fresh water for the rotational grazing program. They are dedicated to doing more research to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their irrigation methods.
Value Added Products
A very important part of the farm is the grain processing plant, Grain Place Foods, located on the homestead. Over 3 million pounds of organic popcorn was cleaned and bagged on-site in 2010, some of it also grown there. This small but very diverse facility also processes other whole grains and manufactures a full line of rolled organic grains. Grain Place Foods also produces a variety of specialty pet foods including a full line of organic companion bird diets. Dave and Grain Place Foods work closely with customers on new product and process development. Long time employees say that if others say that it can’t be done, Grain Place will try to do it. The business employs many members of the local community as well as members of the Vetter family, and patriarch Don still goes into the office every day.
Dave has been a leader in the development of organic standards and the certification process, as an early president of OCIA International (Organic Crop Improvement Association). Many of the current NOP regulations started with standards that OCIA developed. Dave points out that the “95% Organic” and “70% or more organic, Made with Organic” labels were originally put in place by OCIA. In addition, this writer remembers Dave teaching a class of novice organic inspectors all about a new idea, the Transaction Certificate (TC) system. This was put in place to not just track the farm’s organic certification, but also the specific lot numbers and organic certification of each shipment. This system goes a long way to preventing fraud and providing transparent tracking of organic commodities. Dave says folks can either thank him or swear at him, depending on what they think of TCs. This type of system has been recognized by both the European Union and Japan as bringing integrity to the international trade of organic products.
Dave encourages farmers just transitioning to organic to put a strong focus on building their soils, since the farm’s success depends on that major resource. As the farm begins to mature into a functioning organic system, increasing biodiversity both within the crops and around the farm will continueto enhance the resources needed to provide healthy crops and profitable yields. Dave reminds us that if a farmer feels they have the perfect management system in place, they will probably fail. He recommends that we never stop observing, never stop experimenting, and never stop building upon the good work of enhancing your ecosystem, both below and above ground. There is nothing static about organic!
Congratulations to the Vetter family of The Grain Place for their commitment to the true spirit of organic farming, and for being selected as the 2011 MOSES Organic Farmer of the Year. Come honor and celebrate with the Vetters in La Crosse- Thursday, February 24th at 7 pm they will give a presentation about their farm, and Saturday, February 25th they will receive their award at a 10:30 am ceremony.
Harriet Behar is the MOSES Organic Outreach Specialist.
Organic IPM Strategies for the Small Scale Apple Grower
By Joe Pedretti
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is the science of combining cultural, biological, and chemical pest control methods to reduce reliance upon chemical inputs. Scouting for the presence of pests and monitoring the conditions that contribute to their growth are central techniques to IPM, since the use of chemicals should only be done if there is the potential of actual economic damage to the crop. Timing is everything- a little too early or too late and the effort (and money) is wasted. IPM is one of the success stories of the conventional agricultural world, greatly reducing the amount of pesticides used (especially the more toxic insecticide and fungicides) over the past 40 years.
Organic agriculture can gain from these IPM strategies, relying more on the cultural and biological pest control options, but also using natural pesticide inputs to minimize economic loss. IPM techniques can be applied to any crop, but they are vitally important to fruit and vegetable growers, due to the high value of the crops, the susceptibility of these crops to diseases and insects, and the importance of quality and appearance. Damaged produce may not store well or sell well. Organic consumers may be a little more forgiving than others, but even they will select the best looking produce given an option. For organic growers, IPM techniques have the potential to minimize economic loss, increase the volume of saleable produce, and reduce inputs. After all, even allowed organic pest controls can be toxic or can leave undesirable residues if used too frequently. If cultural and biological controls are not enough, it makes sense to use inputs at the optimal times for control and only if the economic damage justifies the use of the input.
In this installment of a series on integrated pest management for the organic grower, we will take a close look at basic pest management strategies for small scale apple production. Growing apples in the humid Midwest has always presented challenges. Apples are susceptible to many diseases and insect pests. Our humidity, rain, and warmth can produce ideal conditions for fungi in particular, the single greatest threat to apple producers. Prior to IPM techniques, apples were one of the most heavily sprayed crops. Even after the widespread adoption of IPM, conventional apples still require a lot of chemical inputs to produce a grocery shelf quality product. Apples are near the top of the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list of contaminated foods.
To help you create and implement a successful organic IPM program for your own farm, I sought out the assistance of Harry Hoch of Hoch Orchard and Gardens near Winona, MN. With a Masters degree in Sustainable Agriculture from the University of MN, his own certified organic orchard, and many years of practical experience, Harry has developed and refined an advanced IPM plan for his orchard. In this article, Harry makes suggestions for the beginner- strategies for the small scale grower looking to get into apples for the first time, or for those looking to improve their results.
Setting up the Organic Orchard
It goes without saying that proper siting and preparation are critical to success. There are many excellent books on apples and organic apple production. It is highly recommended that you read as much as possible about the basic care of apple trees before you begin. Harry suggests The Apple Grower- A Guide for the Organic Orchardist, by Michael Phillips. ATTRA also has a free publication on their website called Organic and Low-Spray Apple Production. Cornell University also has an excellent publication, A Grower’s Guide to Organic Apples available online at http://nysipm.cornell.edu/organic_guide/apples.pdf. MOSES has several relevant fact sheets, including Planning the Organic Orchard, Considering Risk Before Starting an Organic Orchard, and Resources for Organic Orchardists, all found at http://www.mosesorganic.org/productioninfo_resources.html
Harry points out that your choice of pest control strategies depends upon your goal as an apple producer. “As a small grower, you have to decide what quality of fruit is your goal,” stresses Harry. “Grocery store quality fruit requires an understanding of the newest techniques. Fruit for your own table may only need a minimalist approach. If you plan to sell to grocery stores or put fruit in a CSA box you need #1 quality fruit. If you put in fruit with apple scab, you will get bad feedback from your customers.”
Resistance is the Best Disease Control
Disease control for organic apples begins with choosing disease resistant varieties. Modern and antique apple varieties have varying degrees of resistance to apple scab and will require a fungicide program in an average year. Many books and most catalogs will now list disease resistant varieties. Harry stresses that beginners and those who want to minimize inputs should only choose apple scab resistant varieties, or better yet, choose varieties that were bred for field immunity to apple scab. The following scab immune varieties have proven to be hardy and productive on his farm in southeastern Minnesota:
Early August Harvest- “Pristine,” a yellow apple with good quality but poor shipping traits.
Late August Harvest- “Red-Free.”
Early September Harvest- “Prima,” a tart apple similar to “Haralson.” Resistant to apple scab but susceptible to cedar apple rust.
Late September- “Liberty.”
These varieties are “field immune” to apple scab, meaning that in a typical year they will not get apple scab even if the trees are not sprayed. Harry notes that “given ideal conditions, even the most resistant trees will get apple scab.” The apple scab fungus is also evolving. Orchardists are starting to see strains of scab that can infect even the varieties bred for field immunity.
Harry says that the increasingly popular “Honeycrisp” variety is only slightly resistant to apple scab and can be a tough tree to grow for beginners. If you choose this variety, plan on having to spray to guarantee a sellable fruit. Harry recommends that you avoid “Jersey Mac,” “McIntosh,” “Cortland,” and any apple with McIntosh genetics, as they are very susceptible to apple scab and need high levels of inputs.
Apple scab is the number one pest of apples. It is caused by the fungus Venturia inaequalis and causes more economic damage than any other apple pest. For that reason, it also requires the most monitoring and inputs. Susceptible varieties will require a rigorous spray schedule to produce grocery shelf quality fruit. Harry Hoch has a well developed monitoring and spray program for his orchard that you can read about in detail at the Midwest Organic Tree Fruit Growers Network website hosted by MOSES: www.mosesorganic.org/treefruit/newsletters.htm. See the winter 2010 newsletter article “Post-Infection Control of Apple Scab” by Harry Hoch for a look into Harry’s comprehensive program.
For beginners intent on producing sellable fresh fruit, start with some important cultural techniques:
•Remove wild apple trees, wild crabapple trees, and any unwanted susceptible varieties of apple tree to reduce the level of fungal spores in the immediate area. Harry recommends that anything within a couple hundred yards be removed if possible. Spores can travel up to a mile from their source.
•Rake up and remove all fallen leaves as soon as possible. Fallen leaves are a major source of fungal spores. The more leaves that are removed, the less inoculum in the immediate area.
•During a typical spring in the Midwest, Harry recommends a least a few sulfur sprays before every rainfall from bloom until mid-June. Use an NOP allowed micronized wetable powder sulfur. Check with your certifier or the OMRI Materials List for allowable options. Sulfur prevents the fungal spores from penetrating the leaf during periods of high humidity and moisture on the leaf, which are necessary for infection.
•Traditionally, orchardists have followed up with another spray of liquid lime sulfur after each rain. Harry uses advanced computer monitoring to determine which rains actually provided a long enough wetting period to allow infection. He only uses the post-infection lime sulfur spray if the computer model indicates a need. This allows him to drastically reduce the number of lime sulfur sprays. For the smaller scale orchardist, Harry recommends applying micronized sulfur before each rain event, and following with lime sulfur post infection spray. Following this spray program from bloom to mid-June should keep primary scab under control. With good early season control, good sanitation practices and a little luck with the weather, you should be able to eliminate the summer fungicide spraying. He does warn that this limited management does have risks, and in a wet year you will have more problems including the possibility of crop failure.
•Pruning is also important. An open structured tree with good airflow will have fewer problems with scab. Harry recommends taking a pruning course to learn proper pruning techniques.
Sooty Blotch and Fly Speck
Sooty Blotch and Fly Speck are less damaging, but important fungal diseases of apples. They are mainly a cosmetic issue. If you are mainly producing cider apples and fruit for personal use, do not worry about these diseases. Spraying is very difficult for the beginner to time correctly. Harry recommends removing wild brambles around the orchard, as they are a secondary host for these diseases and are often a source of infection.
Fireblight is a bacterial disease that attacks the tree through wounds in the tree’s bark. Overly fertilized trees with vigorous growth and young trees are more susceptible. Harry recommends that you source blight resistant varieties. Harry uses leaf wetness and temperature data loggers to determine if there is a need to spray for fireblight.
Beginners should cut out infected shoots- being careful to disinfect the pruners in between cuts. During pruning season, look for lesions on infected branches and remove them. Carefully apply fertilizers to avoid overly-vigorous trees. “Thick, black loamy soils plus fresh manure will push excess new growth, which will increase the possibility of a fireblight problem,” says Harry. He prefers to use composted manure for slow release nitrogen which also stimulates soil biology.
To control the coddling moth (CM), it helps to understand its mating behavior. The male is attracted to the female by the scent of pheromones. Once mated, the female lays eggs near the developing apple. Once hatched, the larva crawls until it finds an apple, and once there, immediately eats its way inside. Your opportunity to control this pest only exists before or just after egg hatch and before the larva enters the apple. Once inside, there is no way to prevent damage.
Pheromone traps are your first line of defense and your way of monitoring the need to spray. Pheromone traps “trick” the male into becoming stuck on a glue board that has been scented with the same pheromone used by the codling moth female. Seven male moths in one trap over the course of a week is the threshold for treatment. You will want to start trapping at petal fall and continue throughout the growing season.
A “rough plan” for treatment is to wait for two weeks after you see seven males in the trap and spray with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) or Pyganic™. This allows for the time that it takes the eggs to hatch. An even better way to time the spraying is by counting degree days. It takes 200 degree days to hatch out the eggs. The most effective treatment should be applied 200 degree days between the threshold count and the application. Degree days are not difficult to calculate. Take the high and low temperatures for the day, add them together and divide by two then subtract 50. This is the number of degrees accumulated for that day. (CM eggs will not develop when the temperature is below 50.) Track this daily number until 200 is reached, and then spray for the best results. The MN Department of Agriculture has an excellent Apple IPM Manual that Harry recommends to learn more about degree day calculations and IPM in general. It is available online at http://www.mda.state.mn.us/plants/pestmanagement/ipm/apple-manual.aspx
If coddling moth and other insects such as plum curculio are common problems, you should also consider using a kaolin clay product known as Surround™. Made of refined kaolin clay, Surround can be applied by backpack or other sprayer directly to the tree. The clay literally clogs up the insects’ orifices, making for a very inhospitable environment. The clay will even kill very small, newly hatched larvae of the coddling moth. The trick with clay is to get enough of the clay on the tree, and with enough coverage and thickness to discourage and/or kill insects. Some sources recommend three applications before you reach effective coverage. Surround™ can even be mixed with Bt and Pyganic for joint applications to reduce labor.
Make sure to pick up dropped fruit throughout the growing season. Apple trees will frequently drop infested fruit. If you allow the coddling moth to develop and emerge to become an adult, you are only adding to the problem. Remove and destroy dropped fruit as soon as possible. Harry recommends that the fruit be chopped up and composted or fed to livestock.
“Plum Curculio (PC) is the toughest insect to control organically. I use a combo of neem-derived products (Neemix and AzaDirect are two commercially available options) Surround, and fish oil, spraying from petal fall into early June,” says Harry. If you can live with a little damage here and there, Surround™, clay, and cultural techniques such as cleaning up dropped fruit and removing overwintering habitat may be enough management. If you want consistent #1 quality fruit, you will probably need to use neem. Some orchardists will combine neem oil with fish emulsion or compost teas as a time and labor saver.
The plum curculio is a weevil (small beetle) that damages fruit in two ways. After mating the female will look to lay eggs into a suitable developing fruit. She may make several attempts to do so, and each spot will show up as a crescent shaped scar on the fruit. Scarred fruit will not develop normally and will often have a warped appearance around each scar. When the female successfully deposits her egg, the larvae will also do internal damage, making the fruit unsellable.
Plum curculios overwinter in brush and woodlots near the apple trees. Keeping brush under control, and the orchards clean, will help reduce their populations.
Apple maggot is a summer insect pest of apples. The apple maggot is the larval stage of an adult fly. Once mated, the female apple maggot fly will search for a developing fruit on which she will lay her eggs. She has a strong preference for large, red, strong smelling fruit, which can be used against her. Many of you have seen the red plastic spheres hanging in orchards. These are traps coated with Tanglefoot™ sticky glue and an apple essence for smell. The combination is very attractive to the female fly which will land to lay eggs, become stuck and die. The traps, Tanglefoot™ and apple essence are readily available online.
“Good control can be achieved by placing red sticky spheres every 15 feet around the perimeter of the orchard. Put at least two spheres per large tree. At least once a week they should be checked and cleaned since dust, dirt, leaves and dead insects will cover it quickly,” advises Harry. Spheres need to be placed by July 15th and remain in the orchard until August 15th in the upper Midwest.
SurroundTM will help repel the female fly. It is possible to spray for the fly, but without proper monitoring equipment it is difficult to time the applications.
Other Pest Problems
There are also many “minor” pests for apples that can, under the right conditions, cause economic damage. It is highly recommended that you read as many resources as possible to prepare yourself for the common challenges in your area. Don’t forget that your county’s Extension Office can identify pests for you if you are unsure of what problem you are dealing with. Contact MOSES or reference the resources in this article for specific organic integrated pest management plans. Finally, remember to always check with your certifier to get approval on changes to your Organic System Plan and to verify that inputs are approved for use.
Additional Online Educational Materials
Midwest Organic Tree Fruit Grower’s Network http://www.mosesorganic.org/treefruit/intro.htm
Michigan State Horticulture- Organic Apple Spray Program http://www.canr.msu.edu/vanburen/organasp.htm
Grow Organic Apples- Holistic Orchard Network http://www.groworganicapples.com/
OrganicA- A Resource for Organic Apple Production http://www.uvm.edu/~organica/
Joe Pedretti is the MOSES organic education specialist.
News from MOSES
by Jody Padgham
I am writing this a week before we pack up and leave for the MOSES Organic Farming Conference. There is a lot of excitement in the air and activity in the office as we take care of final details. We’ve always called this the Broadcaster “Conference Issue,” as we gave out copies to everyone attending the OFC. Now that everyone will be getting a copy at home in the mail, the OFC distribution would be redundant, so most of you will receive this after the conference. We hope that if you were able to attend you had a great time, and if you couldn’t go this year, that you can join us there in the near future.
As always, there is a lot going on in the organic world. The approval of GMO alfalfa a few weeks ago has everyone in an uproar- as they should be. Harriet elaborates on her feelings about it in her “Inside Organics” column on page 3, with an expanded background on page 14. MOSES board member Melinda Hemmelgarn carries on the theme, expressing her frustration with the new National Dietary Guidelines, read about that on page 4.
Earth Day is coming up at the end of April, which may seem a long way away (certainly by looking at the snow banks it seems so...) but it isn’t too early to start planning events in your community that highlight organic and local food- look to page 6 for a few of our suggestions. We also offer great resources for educating others about why organic matters (page 6) and for your own learning from other organic farmers (Organic Voices, page 10).
I hope that your winter has been going well, that you’ve been able to get out to some of the great events that recharge for a season’s worth of inspiration.
MOSES Project Update
Just what is it that MOSES does? The organization has grown so much in the last several years that even those of us actively managing the work have to occasionally look at a printed list to grasp what all we do. In this new Broadcaster section we will give you regular updates on the activities and accomplishments of various MOSES projects. The following summary was based on one in the 2010 MOSES Annual Report, which you can view in its entirety at http://www.mosesorganic.org/annualreports.html.
MOSES Primary Projects:
Organic Farming Conference
The 22nd annual Organic Farming Conference will bring over 2,500 people to La Crosse to learn, talk, eat, and celebrate on February 24-26, 2011.
In its 11th year, the Organic University will host over 400 people for ten day-long courses on the Thursday of the OFC.
Organic Research Forum
Dedicated funding supports a workshop track and other activities at the OFC designed to bring the results of organic research to farmers, and to allow farmers to influence and comment on organic research.
Farmer-to-Farmer Mentor Program
In 2011, 23 mentees will learn from 19 mentors in the third year of this highly valued program. A past participant shares: “Thanks to the awesome mentor program which got me off on the right foot in organic and sustainable farming. This program gave me courage to keep going...before this I was confused, scared and nearly gave up.”
Rural Women’s Project
Over 1,000 women were reached in 2010 through numerous initiatives that support, educate and highlight women’s agricultural success. Look for more activities in 2011.
Grow Organic Initiative
MOSES organizes dozens of field days and brings resources to numerous conferences, farm shows and other events. Our organic specialists answer direct questions through our toll free Farmer Info line (888-551-GROW) .The monthly e-news offers updates on organic programs and activities. The regularly updated Upper Midwest Organic Resource Directory is available as a searchable database at http://www.mosesorganic.org /resourcedirectory.html. Dozens of fact sheets and other print resources, including the popular Guidebook to Organic Certification, are available in hard copy and from the website.
Farm Financial Management
A project funded by the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Project is now midway through its 3 years, with the primary products a book simplifying recordkeeping and financial management for farmers and a two-day training.
Midwest Season Extension Website
In a partnership with the MN Institute for Sustainable Agriculture and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, MOSES has developed a website with hundreds of resources, events, program listings and project reports at http://www.midwestseasonextension.org/
We will bring you regular updates in this column on these and other projects. Learn more at http://www.mosesorganic.org!
Inside Organics: GMOs – Where do we go from here?
By Harriet Behar
The USDA deregulation of genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa in January will now allow unrestricted planting of this crop across the United States. Leading up to the decision, over 200,000 comments were made by organic producers, exporters of conventional alfalfa, beekeepers, consumers, and others, expressing grave concern about GE alfalfa’s negative effect on our environment and on their specific areas of interest. The unsuccessful fight against the crop was lead in the courts by the Center for Food Safety and Geertson Farms. The decision should be seen as a rally call to sustainable farmers and consumers everywhere to become even more angry and vigilant in their resistance against the agricultural menace of GMOs.
The release of this new GE seed does not meet a need in agriculture, since weed control has not been a huge issue in alfalfa. In fact, cows need to eat long stemmed grasses! The Roundup Ready alfalfa is not approved for human consumption, but since there are not any anti-contamination safeguards, GMO alfalfa sprouts will soon be coming to a salad bar near you. The USDA plans to study how to protect the purity of alfalfa seed stocks from GMO contamination, AFTER the widespread planting of GE alfalfa. These “studies” will only tell us how much cross pollination we have already had between GE and nonGE alfalfa, not control it.
The USDA did complete a quite comprehensive 2,400-page Environmental Impact Statement which clearly stated there would be negative impacts, through contamination of the seed stock, to organic and nonGMO farmers from GE alfalfa. In response, USDA Secretary Vilsack put forward an option where there would be geographic distances between GE and nonGE alfalfa seed production, and management requirements to cut GE forages at 10% bloom or less. While it was gratifying to see the USDA consider the impact on those who do not want their crops genetically contaminated, the proposal put forward was a bone with no meat upon it. Who would be the bloom police? How could this actually be enforced? Farming is not done in a controlled environment and challenges such as rain, equipment failures, or even a child’s softball tournament might keep a farmer from harvesting their GMO alfalfa field at the mandated 10% bloom.
In the decision, Secretary Vilsack asked for a “coexistence” plan between nonGE or organic alfalfa production and GE alfalfa. We give him credit for recognizing that pollen from genetically engineered crops can cross pollinate with nonGE crops, causing damage and hardship to those who do not want to have these genetics on their farm. However, the USDA did not stand up to the biotech industry, and instead allowed uncontrolled planting of GE alfalfa, except for a few isolated areas to protect specific nonGE alfalfa seed stocks.
The biotech industry cannot be allowed any longer to pressure our government to approve these dangerous crops and life forms without doing long term studies on the environmental, social, economic, and human health impacts. Numerous studies have proven that these crops are not necessary and only serve to line the pockets of the already rich and powerful, at the expense of the collective future of our planet.
While challenges such as these can lead us to feel unempowered and depressed, we need to remember that nature has a supreme capacity for healing. As organic farmers, we know how to promote that healing. We know how we can bring life back to a dead soil and improve our environment to enhance wildlife while at the same time producing nutritionally dense and abundant crops. We can change the direction of agriculture, and we must.
A Plan for Action
The organic community, lead by the National Organic Coalition, has put forth to the USDA the following seven point plan to address GMO contamination prevention and promote farmer and consumer fairness in choice of what crops and foods they wish to plant and eat.
1. Establishment of a fully distinct and separate USDA public cultivar and breeds Institute to ensure that farmers have elite public cultivar and breeding choices that are not genetically modified and that germplasm collections are free of GMO contamination.
2. Creation of a Contamination Compensation Fund in FSA or RMA funded by GMO patent holders and based upon their strict liability. This would provide immediate assistance to all farmers and other supply chain participants contaminated by GMOs, pending further necessary remedies of law and equity. Such a Fund would establish costs associated with the prevention of GMO commingling and contamination from seed to table and would include both perpetual type costs as well as identity preserved price differential costs for organic and other non-GMO.
3. Ongoing GM crop regulation, including the complete elimination of deregulated GM crop status; including prior deregulations and on-going oversight and public evaluations of compliance and enforcement.
4. Comprehensive, independent, longitudinal studies on the health impacts of eating GMOs and on the environmental and socio-economic impacts of release prior to GM crop approvals.
5. Prohibition on the growing of GM crops that are deemed too promiscuous to prevent GMO Contamination.
6. Mitigation of food security risks associated with the concentration of any sector of our food system in the hands of a few companies or with the use of one food production technology or patented seeds or genotypes to the near exclusion of all others.
7. Institution of an immediate labeling protocol for all GM crops, products, and ingredients in close collaboration with other agencies as required.
Harriet Behar is the MOSES Organic Outreach Specialist.
Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 : What’s Included & What’s Missing?
By Melinda Hemmelgarn, M.S., R.D.
The latest edition of our national Dietary Guidelines was released on January 31st by the Secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, Thomas Vilsack, and Kathleen Sebelius, respectively. Every five years, the updated Guidelines purport to using “scientific evidence” to tweak recommendations for healthy eating to improve the health of Americans ages 2 and older. Predictably, the bottom line messages focus on ways to balance calories and get the biggest nutrition bang for our bucks. So why am I stark-raving mad?
Because I can’t find any recommendations to choose organically produced food!
With all due respect, did our honorable Secretaries miss the President’s Cancer Panel Report
(http://deainfo.nci.nih.gov/advisory/pcp/annualReports/pcp08-09rpt/PCP_Report_08-09_508.pdf) which specifically recommends choosing foods produced without pesticides and chemical fertilizers?
Was the research on antibiotic resistance – and the threats of routine sub-therapeutic antibiotic use in livestock -- not made available to those writing the report? (http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/solutions/wise_antibiotics/pamta.html)
How could the most current document on dietary advice have disregarded the scientific evidence supporting the advantages of organic food and farming ?
Personally, I prefer the Dietary Guidelines for Sustainability suggested more than two decades ago by Joan Dye Gussow, professor emeritus of nutrition and education at Columbia University’s Teachers College. The matriarch of sustainable food and agriculture advised relocalizing diets to promote long-term food security. She recognized that processed foods from industrial agriculture are not sustainable over the long term, and she had the wisdom to advocate for organic food because certification guarantees that the product has been grown, handled and processed without synthetic pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, irradiation, and genetically engineered ingredients.
The national Guidelines discuss food safety in terms of keeping hands and cooking surfaces clean, preventing bacterial cross-contamination, and avoiding temperature abuse. But food safety must also consider industrial farming’s contaminants, such as pesticide, hormone and heavy metal residues.
To their credit, the national Guidelines advise eating seafood to increase our intake of omega-3 fats, and warn pregnant and breastfeeding women against methyl mercury contamination. But shouldn’t vulnerable members of our society also be warned about pesticide residues?
After hearing Warren Porter, Ph.D., and Paul Winchester, M.D. describe pesticide-related birth defects and developmental disorders at the Beyond Pesticides meeting in Cleveland, OH, last spring, I’m convinced that women of child-bearing age deserve advice to choose certified organic foods.
Below are key consumer messages from the Dietary Guidelines 2010 report, followed by my brief commentary:
- Enjoy your food, but eat less.
- Avoid oversized portions.
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
- Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.
- Choose foods with less sodium.
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
Food Sleuth reality check:
1. Eating less and avoiding supersized portions makes sense. But the size of American dinner plates have expanded to accommodate swelling portions made possible by agricultural subsidies which support cheap calories from corn and soy. Worse, we humans are hard wired to drift towards perceived bargains: dollar menus, all-you-can-eat buffets, and free refills.
2. Consuming more fruits and vegetables is excellent advice. Unfortunately, access and price serve as barriers. I suggest adding a directive to establish, preserve and protect organic farmland, and establish school, community, hospital and institutional organic gardens.
3. Reduce dairy fat. Really? In my 30+ years as a registered dietitian I’ve come to draw a slightly different conclusion. Because toxins tend to accumulate in animal fat, I’m focusing more on the source of my fat. Granted, fat is a concentrated source of calories. However, I want the fat in my diet to carry beneficial omega-3 fats, from the milk, meat, butter and cream of grass-fed cows.
4. Consuming less sodium is easier said than done. Restaurant and processed foods are some of the worst offenders. By learning how to cook, we can prepare more nutritious, organic foods at home with less sodium.
5. Drink water instead of sugary drinks. Amen. But get your water from the precious public tap, not plastic bottles. Another reason to support organic food and farming: chemical-rich agriculture contributes to water pollution.
Farmers have the most important job producing the highest quality food to support our nation’s health and natural resources. Take a look at the revised Guidelines http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DGAs2010-PolicyDocument.htm and let me know what you think. Email me at: email@example.com
Let the Secretaries of Agriculture and Human Health know your opinion too. Remember, they work for us.
Joan Gussow’s “8 Simple Steps to the New Green Diet,” Healthy Child Healthy World: http://healthychild.org/live-healthy/checklist/8_simple_steps_to_the_new_green_diet/
Healing Foods Pyramid. Dietary advice with a sustainable focus:
Melinda Hemmelgarn is a registered dietitian and member of the MOSES Board of Directors. She lives in Columbia, MO where she hosts “Food Sleuth Radio.” Tune in: www.kopn.org
Book Review: The Town That Food Saved by Ben Hewitt
Having worked in the distribution of, production of, and education about local food for over thirty years, reading about the local food movement isn’t high on my “to-do” list. It’s not that there aren’t really good things going on, I just find that most of the ideas and presentations are reinforcements of something that I have already learned.
Given that preconceived bias, Ben Hewitt’s book “The Town That Food Saved: How one community found vitality in local food,” was a real surprise to me. I found a very engaging and well told series of stories about an interesting and diverse group of people and a small town in Vermont (Hardwick, population 3,200) that may, or may not, have found some answers to our broken industrial food system. I picked up the book because one of the main “characters” in the story, Tom Stearns, of High Mowing Seeds, will give a keynote presentation at the 2011 MOSES Organic Farming Conference, and I wanted to learn more about what he will have to say. Having read the book, I am even more curious to hear about the changes in Hardwick since the book was published in 2009.
Hewitt seems to have undertaken this book project in 2008 with a goal of understanding and documenting the diverse and vibrant activities that had been drawing national media attention to this small town, near where Hewitt grew up and where he and his wife now own a small homestead farm. The national press had been highlighting the town, nestled next to Buffalo Mountain in the northern part of the state, as a model of local food system development. Press from the Boston Globe to Newsweek have showcased Stearns’ organic seed company, the successful Highfields Center for Composting, and Pete’s Greens, which, collectively with several other food related businesses, have been credited with bringing a couple hundred well paying jobs and a new sense of vitality to town. The owners of these businesses are being touted by the press as local food heroes and creators of a model of a new food system.
Unlike the national press, Hewitt approached the story with an open mind about what exactly was going on, and who was responsible for it. He takes us into each of the highest profile characters’ backgrounds and lives, and sets the stage for the roles they have played in the drama of creating this local food mecca. Hewitt has a friendly, direct, and engaging style, punctuated with snippets of factual background that do a great job of putting the whole story into the national food system context. The story wanders from the vivid details of helping a couple in their work of killing local hogs and beef, to explaining national trends in milk consumption and how that has affected the number of dairy farms in Vermont.
What Hewitt also does is show the side of the story that the national press has skipped- including the tales of some of the early pioneers that moved to the area in the mid 1970s, who have slowly developed farms and businesses that have formed the base of the current “local food” expansion. He exposes some of the frustration and questioning as to whether the strong-visioned food entrepreneurs that have risen in notoriety have included the desires of the local community in their vision.
What I will remember most from Hewitt’s short and very readable book are the questions that he left me with. Just what is a sustainable local food economy? Just because a food system is local, does that mean it is more resilient? How will time wear on these alternatives that have been created, most of which are so young that they are still riding on their first burst of money and energy? He points out that as we measure progress against the broken industrial food system, we shouldn’t ask “Is this better?” but instead “What could this really be?”.
Hewitt starts the book with an outline of the qualities he speculates a successful local food system might have. He spends the book assessing if Hardwick actually fits his definition, and if there is a model that can be exported to other communities. He isn’t exactly sure of what he has found by the end of his exploration, but he shows us that there are several unique elements of local food success in Hardwick that others can be inspired by and learn from. I was reminded of Fairfield, Iowa, Vernon county, Wisconsin, and Montevideo, Minnesota as local examples of just what Hewitt found- interesting collections of local food success, involving several visionary people that have worked very hard, and the communities that have come together in their support. Each story has something for all to learn from in developing alternatives to our industrial food system. There probably isn’t any one recipe for success, but instead several stories that others can learn from to build their own success in their own communities.
Hewitt’s view of Hardwick, VT is a very engaging, thoughtful, and inspiring collection of stories that should leave every reader with a lot to think about. I may now have to admit that I am limiting my own learning by not reading more books like this, perhaps it’s time l finally look at that copy of Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” that has been gathering dust on my bookcase….
Review by Jody Padgham, Organic Broadcaster editor.
Organic- it's worth it
Have you noticed lately that there seems to be ever more confusion in the media and among consumers about what organic is and why it is different? That there is more negative publicity, and questions, even from fellow sustainable farmers, about if organic is really “worth it”? That, even if you are a savvy reader and consumer, you may not be sure who is telling the truth about organic anymore?
We have. And so have many others that are deeply involved in the organic community. We believe that organic IS worth it- worth fighting for, worth defending, worth encouraging more farmers and consumers to support. Worth educating consumers about so that they can make informed decisions in the marketplace.
Your customers, or perhaps even you or your family, may have questions about whether organic is “worth it.” Lucky for all of us, there are some very reputable organizations that have been working hard to bring consumers and farmers clear, research-based information to help understand what organic is and why it is worth supporting.
The Organic Trade Association (http://www.ota.com) has many useful resources, including up-to-date press releases on issues of importance to organic consumers and the organic movement overall. A special new initiative, called “Organic- it’s worth it,“ can be found at http://www.organicitsworthit.org/. Included in this easy-to-use resource is information on organic nutrition, organic recipes, links to important papers and studies, including the ground-breaking study by the President’s Cancer Panel, a blog to help organic shoppers, and simplified materials offering useful statements on why organic matters. The “Organic- it’s worth it“ resource is designed with bright colors and short statements to make sometimes complicated concepts easy to understand and to pass on to others.
The associated Organic Center (http://www.organic-center.org/) has a mission “to advance credible, evidence-based science on the health and environmental benefits of organic food and farming and communicate them to the public.” The website offers a wealth of research-based material on topics such as the nutritional benefits, food safety advantages, environmental, health and other benefits of organic products. You can go to the Organic Center to find scientific support for why organic is worth it.
The Rodale Institute has a webpage dedicated to “raising awareness about the benefits of organic food and farming and to recruit your help in advocating for an organic world.” (http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/demand_organic) Titled “Demand Organic,” the tag line of this initiative is “If you do one thing to feed the world, keep us safe and heal the planet: Demand Organic!” Again offering simple resources, such as “5 things you can do” and “Organic Q & A,” the topics covered include “What does organic really mean?” and “What’s better, organic or local?” among many others. Included is a fun page titled “Why do you demand organic?” in which Rodale invites you to upload your own video telling everyone why you Demand Organic. Check it out for great information you can share with others to support your organic commitment.
The next time you are confused, or perhaps even miffed about some piece of media mis-information about organic, we encourage you to jump onto one of these web resources to arm yourself with good ammunition to defend your position. We know that organic is worth it, let’s join together to educate ourselves and others so that everyone knows why.
Bring Your Organic Message to Earth Day!
With Earth Day coming up on April 22nd, it’s the perfect time to consider how you can utilize this important celebration to educate about organic.
We have several suggestions:
• Contact your local school and find out if you can come into a classroom to talk about organic agriculture on Earth Day
• Find out what your community is doing to celebrate Earth Day and set up a booth or participate in a parade to promote your organic CSA , farm market stand or direct marketed products.
• Call your local or regional newspaper community reporter and offer to be profiled as a lead up to their Earth Day issue.
• Plan a presentation about organic farming at your local library, with food samples!
• Contact your local grocery and see if they would do a local organic food display for Earth Day. Help them source resources on organic food from the resources and information listed to the left.
Proof Positive: Organic Research Being Conducted by MSU Extension
at the W. K. Kellogg Biological Station
by Dale R. Mutch, Ph.D.
The Michigan State University (MSU) Extension Cover Crop Program at the Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) began conducting organic research in 1996. In 1997 we had 12 acres certified organic through OCIA. We now have 15 acres certified organic. On these organic acres we conduct small plot research that is driven by farmer advisory groups.
In 1996 MSU had only a few researchers working with organic farmers. Over the past 15 years, that has changed tremendously. I believe MSU is now one of the top Land Grant universities doing research for organic farming systems.
Some of the research projects being conducted at MSUE/KBS are:
1. Evaluation of a no-till system for organic corn and soybean production. This is a six-state (Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and Pennsylvania) long-term no-till organic cropping system project. We are measuring crop productivity, yields, soil quality, and economic performance. A crimper/roller is being evaluated as a tool to enhance organic no-till practices. The crimper/roller (C/R) crushes the cover crop, leaving a mulch that shades out weeds and prevents them from germinating. Following C/R we no-till drill or plant soybeans or corn into the mulch. Hairy vetch and cereal rye cover crops are being used in this study for both corn and soybean production. The no-till treatments are being compared to more traditional conventional tilled treatments for corn and soybeans. Each state also has the same experiment being conducted on an organic farmer’s field. This is the third year of a four-year project.
2. Controlling weeds using flame heat for organic farmers. A study was initiated at KBS to evaluate the time of day for the best results of flame burning weeds in corn systems. A six-row flamer was used at 8 a.m., 12 noon, 4 p.m., and 8 p.m. in organic corn. The study was conducted over two years and the results will be presented by Dr. Christy Sprague at this year’s MOSES conference.
3. Evaluation of organic potassium sources for alfalfa. In 2009 our field had a crop of organic no-till soybeans with rye, and had cereal rye and clover growing, making it necessary to moldboard plow. In 2010 we established the alfalfa. The field that had been farmed organically for the past three years was moldboard plowed on March 19. The untreated alfalfa seed was donated to the project by Cisco Seeds.
The field was planted to alfalfa at 28 lbs/A with a nurse crop of oats at 1 bu/A on April 12. Timely rains and warm weather resulted in good establishment of the oats and alfalfa. The oats became competitive with the alfalfa by late May. At the recommendation of the forage specialist at MSU, the oats were mowed off and removed on June 11. Weeds overtook the 2-3 inch alfalfa after mowing, and were flail mowed and removed on August 6. An excellent alfalfa stand resulted from these management strategies. In 2011, sulphate of potash (SOP, Great Salt Lake Minerals Corporation) and dairy slurry as potassium sources will be compared to an untreated control for their influence on alfalfa yield and quality.
4. Evaluation of eight legume cover crops no-till drilled into wheat stubble and their influence on organic corn yield. Since nitrogen is often a limiting factor for organic corn, a study was conducted to compare several legumes no-till drilled after wheat harvest for their nitrogen contribution to corn the following season. Red clover, hairy vetch, and crimson clover resulted in the highest corn yields in 2010 at 117, 105, and 103 bu/A respectively. We drilled Austrian winter pea at two rates, 60 and 90 lbs/A.The 90 lb. rate resulted in a 5 bushel corn yield gain of 96 bu/A, as compared to 60 lbs/A rate at 91 bu/A. The sweet clover treatment resulted in a corn yield of 97 bu/A, which was comparable to the 90 lb/A Austrian winter pea treatment at 96 bu/A. Vernal alfalfa, chickling vetch and the no cover crop control had the lowest yield of 82, 85 and 84 bu/A respectively.
Our results indicate that in Michigan on sandy loam soils, red clover provided the best corn yield compared to the other tested legumes.
5. Brassica mustard as a cover crop for weed control in the spring. This study involves using two varieties of mustard—Tilney and Ida Gold—which were planted on four separate dates. A quadrant of no cover crop (bare ground) was left in each plot to evaluate weed pressure without cover crops. Biomass samples were taken during the spring. Cover crop biomass was compared to weed biomass. In 2010 we had an early spring which allowed us to plant earlier than most seasons. These data should help farmers evaluate mustards as a spring weed control tool. Three states are conducting this experiment—Michigan, New York, and Illinois.
6. Organic dry bean production and weed control. A dry bean variety and production trial is being initiated in 2011. We have tested 32 varieties of dry beans over the past three years on our certified organic soil. A more expansive research project at KBS and on organic farms will be evaluated over the next four years.
Other research projects being conducted by the MSUE Cover Crop group at sites other than KBS are with organic pumpkins, organic tomatoes, 13 oilseed radish, and seven other brassica variety trials with NRCS and University of Minnesota.
You can read more about MSU Extension research at www.covercrops.msu.edu.
Dale Mutch is the Senior District Extension Educator and Extension Specialist Coordinator, KBS and Extension Land & Water Unit NCR-SARE PDP State Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator.
Selling Organic Grain: Use Caution
WI DATCP Recommends Best Practices for Producers.
Although this information is directed at WI farmers, there is plenty of good information for farmers from all states.- ed.
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection cautions organic grain producers when selling their products both in and out of state. Since the organic market is less developed than the conventional markets, producers should take steps to ensure that their grain sales are successful.
“Some Wisconsin organic farmers are reporting their grain loads are being rejected at out-of-state delivery points for reasons including poor quality and low test weight,” said Paul Dietmann, Director of DATCP’s Wisconsin Farm Center. “Whether these complaints have merit, at this point, a producer’s only options are to sell at conventional prices or pay to have the grain hauled back home.”
Wisconsin law offers protection for producers who sell grain to buyers who are licensed by DATCP to procure grain in Wisconsin. That protection includes requiring buyers to follow terms of contracts and requiring buyers to pay for grain in a timely manner. If buyers fail to pay for grain, there is an indemnity fund that may cover producers for a portion of the loss. However, buyers who are procuring grain for delivery out-of-state may not be regulated by DATCP. Therefore, producers who sell to those buyers may not be protected under Wisconsin law.
“We recommend producers contact grain officials in any state they are doing business to find out about protections in those states,” said Eric Hanson, Chief of DATCP’s Agricultural Producer Security Section. “Be it in Wisconsin or out-of-state, the best way for a farmer to avoid buyer misrepresentation is to insist on an official third party inspection. However, the cost of getting an inspection can be a deterrent.”
DATCP recommends these best practices when selling organic grain:
• Insist on a written contract for your grain sale and note the conditions under which grain can be rejected.
• Many states license and regulate grain buyers. Check with grain regulators in any state you are considering selling grain.
• If an out-of-state buyer is picking up grain on your farm, have it sampled and inspected by a Federal Grain Inspection Service authorized service provider before it leaves. Cost for the inspection varies based on your location, but the Eastern Iowa Grain Inspection charges $8.80 plus the hourly rate for travel to take a sample from the truck. Sampling or inspecting grain yourself may not be sufficient to challenge a load rejection.
• If you are responsible for transporting grain, either with your own truck or a third party hauler, insist that an official grain inspection certificate be issued when the grain reaches its destination.
“In addition to these recommendations, DATCP is contacting organic grain dealers who advertise in Wisconsin and providing them with application materials to become licensed in our state,” added Dietmann. “The licensing process is simple and relatively inexpensive depending on the volume of grain being procured here.”
For a list of Wisconsin-licensed grain dealers, visit http://datcp.wi.gov/Business/Agricultural_Producer_Security/Grain/Grain_Dealers/index.aspx. Scroll to the bottom of the page, and click on the link, “Licensed Grain Dealers.”
For a list of authorized Federal Grain Inspection Service providers, visit http://www.gipsa.usda.gov/GIPSA/webapp?area=home&subject=fc&topic=fsp.
To report a problem you have had with a load rejection or selling organic grain in or out-of-state, contact Eric Hanson at 608-224-4968 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Paul Dietmann at 608-224-5038 or email@example.com.
Preserving the Voices of Organic and Sustainable Agriculture
By Jody Padgham
What do Mary-Howell Martens, Gary Zimmer, Fred Kirschenmann, Linda Halley, Eliot Coleman, and Chris Blanchard all have in common? Besides being great organic and sustainable farmers, these are people who love to share their knowledge and experience and have been recorded through the Organic Voices Oral History of Organic Farming and Sustainable Agriculture project.
Those who have been to the MOSES Organic Farming Conference can probably draw up a visual image of a quiet fellow slipping in and out of conference workshops with a serious look on his face and a pair of quality ear phones on his head. This is Barry George, the owner, with his wife Judy, of Organic Voices recording service. Barry is a passionate and tireless advocate for the preservation of the stories, memories, and farming experiences of the prominent leaders and teachers of the organic farming and sustainable agriculture community. Through Organic Voices he has recorded over 3,000 sustainable and organic farming workshops and keynote presentations from between 400 and 500 conferences since 1992.
Barry got started in the recording business in the late 1980s with a business focused primarily on recording meetings for the financial services industry. He remembers that in 1991 or ‘92 he got a call from the Minnesota Land Stewardship Project asking if he would record their 10th anniversary conference. The word soon spread in the sustainable farming community that Barry did good work, and in 1993 he recorded his first MOSES conference (where he first discovered Gary Zimmer!). Business within the sustainable farming community grew, and Organic Voices was launched. Barry and Judy now focus their work entirely on this niche, and annually record between eight and ten meetings, primarily in the Midwest but also moving into the Northeast U.S. “We are looking to develop regional recording affiliates” Barry says, because new requests keep coming in and he and Judy can only justify travelling so far, and can only work one event per busy conference-season weekend. “If we had recording partners in both the NE and the SE we could preserve a lot more great material,” he adds. At some point in the not so distance future they’d like to pass the business on to someone that will carry on the passion. “This work is too important to die with us,” Barry sighs.
And preserving the material is what this business and project are all about. “Everyone wants to get better at what they are doing, and listening to and learning from those who are successful is a great way to do so,” he explains. Barry continues: “People should be falling over trying to get this stuff. It is really great information. It’s incredible to see what is happening around the country, to see what is going on in someone else’s life. It is invaluable for a farmer to be able to learn directly from other farmers.”
The Organic Voices website clarifies the mission of the Oral History of Organic Farming and Sustainable Agriculture project:
“Organic Voices is an effort to identify and capture the ideas, methods and experiences that form our understanding of sustainable agriculture by preserving the authoritative voices of this monumental movement.
We do this for three reasons:
1) to preserve the oral history and experience of the pioneers who lead us and teach us the methods of organic farming and sustainable agriculture
2) to offer the agricultural community practical steps that may be taken in moving toward sustainable development and
3) to make available an easy method for new organic farmers and gardeners to gain the whole experiences of two decades worth of practical organic methods in a time saving learning platform.
Sustainable agriculture is still evolving, and for this reason we intend these oral history recordings to be an invitation to continue the preservation of this dynamic movement toward a better and more secure future that will benefit and bless all who join us.” (from http://organicvoices.com/)
Barry is entirely focused on audio recordings, and is clear in his reasons for not producing video. “I want to learn a speaker’s ideas, to listen to their words and concepts, and adapt to my own growing situation.” Barry sees video as leading you away from understanding core concepts, and instead drawing you to copy someone. “Learning through audio forces us to be more creative, to really understand what and why they are doing what they are doing. It forces us to be stronger in our adaptations- we have to understand what is being explained, rather than just copy it.” Barry sees this understanding and adaptation as a very valuable learning process. Besides, he says “watching video takes too much time. I like to listen while I am out doing my own farm work.”
Yes, his own farm work. In attending numerous sustainable farming meetings each year and then going home and listening to the recordings, Barry himself became enamored with organic production and four years ago started a small organic vegetable operation. He and Judy now farm in the summer on his brother-in-law’s property south of the Twin Cities in MN and sell specialty heirloom tomatoes at the Mill City Farmer’s Market.
And, how did he learn how to grow high quality tomatoes? By listening to the hundreds of hours of recordings in his archives. When Barry says listen, he really means listen! “I start listening in March, and listen for six to ten hours per day until I can’t stand it anymore,” he says. “And, I listen to each presentation over and over again- as many as eight or twelve times.” Barry really recommends this technique as a learning tool. “Every time I hear a presentation over I learn something new,” he remarks. “By the eighth or tenth time I may not be listening as closely, but I am still adsorbing the words. The information becomes part of who I am- it permeates my brain.” Whew. That is learning!!
Barry sees the benefit of his many hours of listening to the experienced pioneers as he stands at his farm market stand and talks to customers. “As you listen to Eliot Coleman or Chris Blanchard, their words become a part of who you are- I have learned the language from them.” Barry says that “Eliot, Chris, and Joel (Salatin) are my sales staff- their words are the ones I use to influence my customers.” “There is so much great information out there,” he concludes, “we only have to listen to it and learn from it.”
If you are ready to listen and learn, the recorded information from these hundreds of successful organic and sustainable farmers is available through the Organic Voices archive. A new initiative is underway to make all of the recordings available, arranged by topic and in downloadable mp3 format, in the next few years. The old recordings are still only available as cassette recordings, but each year several more from the archive are converted to digital format. Mp3s from the 2009 and 2010 conferences are available for purchase as package downloads from the Organic Voices website at http://organicvoices.com/. You can also look for Barry and Judy’s sales booth at the MOSES Organic Farming Conference and other Midwestern events this winter, or you can call them to talk about casettes or CDs at (952) 432-3079.
Your support is important in not only helping to preserve these valuable voices, but also will give you access to hundreds of hours of well-learned wisdom from the masters of organic and sustainable farming. Your farming will definitely benefit from the knowledge gained.
A Feed Ration for Farms with Multiple Species
By Jeff Mattocks
I came up with these multi species 16% ration at the request of a few farmers in the New England states that were keeping just a few of many different animals on the same farm. This was a common practice a couple of generations ago. I can remember my grandfather keeping two milk cows, half a dozen pigs, 20-50 chickens- depending on the season, a couple of sheep to eat the hedge rows and rough areas, and a pony or two for the grandkids, etc. You really never knew what you might see next at Grandpa’s place. There are hundreds of small self-reliant farms around the countryside still raising a little of this and a few of that. In this situation it is not realistic to make custom feeds specific for each animal’s needs. However, many small farmers see the need to get away from commercial feed industry products for many reasons: GMOs, by-products, and animal residues are a few of the more common things people are trying to avoid.
The multi species is like a generic one-size-fits-all ration. I want to be very clear that this formula is not specific to any one animal or poultry type. It will work well for all of the species that most folks will keep on their farms. But it will not provide “perfect” diet requirements as prescribed by the commercial feed industry. Each species will perform at a slower rate of gain or production, but will be healthy and happy. Your animals will not perform as well as on a ration that is species specific. To all of you multi species and homesteader type farmer, best of luck and keep up the good work!
All poultry should have free choice grit at all times. All other livestock should have Grazier’s Choice (or another mineral mix) offered free choice at all times.
Ed note: Jeff lists Nutri-Balancer and other name-brand supplements as additions in the list to the right, which are high-quality mineral pre-mixes made by the Fertrell Company (allowable in organic operations). Other companies make similar mixes, and can be substituted in the rations. Ask the mineral dealer and your certifier to be sure on the amounts and organic compliance before you mix your ration.
Jeff Mattocks is an animal nutritionist at the Fertrell Company, http://www.fertrell.com. He will be giving a workshop at the 2011 Organic Farming Conference.
Inside Organics, continued:
GMOs- a Need to Change the Rules of the Game
By Harriet Behar
Background on GMOs
When GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) were first introduced commercially in the early 1990s by the biotech industry, the organic food movement was quite small, and had very little consumer recognition or stature compared to today. The biotech industry used their considerable power and influence, with very little resistance from anyone, to write the rules overseeing these novel life forms and the patenting of genes. The USDA regulations governing genetically modified crops are heavily biased toward the patent holders, and do not offer many opportunities to fight the release of new GMOs into our environment.
However, even in this climate where multinational biotech corporations use their power to promote their narrow agenda, the growing organic and nonGMO movement has joined with a consumer awakening that recognizes that what we eat does matter on many levels. This growing antiGMO movement has been able to somewhat slow down the introduction of new GMOs in our midst. But, with more genetically modified crops in the pipeline, we must reframe the discussion in our fight against this questionable science.
Power to the Patent Holder
The biotech industry seeks to marginalize the opinions of those who are not willing to accept their technology, labeling us as opponents of any type of technological progress. There are ongoing strong pressures being made for GMO support. Recent leaks of communication between the George W. Bush administration and the Vatican exposes pressuring of the Pope to promote gene splicing as acceptable in the eyes of the church. Those who want GMOs to be universally accepted show little recognition of the many negative and far ranging impacts of these unique life forms.
The biotech industry has used their power to prevent the testing and labeling of GMO crops and foods in the marketplace, and this must change. When GMO seeds are purchased, the buyer signs an agreement that no testing or research will be performed on the crop, unless approved by the patent holder. The biotech bullies have sued farmers who, through no fault of their own, have crops that contain GMO traits that come to them on the wind. NonGMO and organic farmers have lost their premiums, and their reputations, in the marketplace because of GMO contamination. There is currently no mechanism to obtain compensation for these damages from the patent holders of this promiscuous technology.
A wise farmer once told me that if we view farming as a war of humans versus insects and weeds, then we have already lost. This is obviously a lesson that conventional GMO based agriculture desperately needs to learn. The “great GMO experiment” is almost 20 years old, with our environment and our populace the unwitting guinea pigs. Even with limited research, there are numerous documented negative impacts from GMOs. Bt corn pollen is fatal to monarch butterflies, and new studies have shown Bt corn residues found in streams have increased mortality and reduced growth in caddisflies. These aquatic insects are an important food resource for larger amphibians and fish. Growing numbers of pesticides are being “genetically stacked” in crops, because one toxin is no longer effective in controlling pests. Widespread use of glyphosate is resulting in “super weeds” that can no longer be killed using this herbicide, and crops resistant to new herbicides are under development to deal with them. These new GMO crops will rely on the use of pesticides 2-4-D and Dicamba, known carcinogens, instead of glyphosate. Statistics show that more herbicides are being used to combat weeds than ever before, not less, contrary to the predictions of the biotech industry.
GMOs are Already in Our Food System
Since GMO foods are not labeled their consumption cannot be tracked. We have no idea of the effects, both long and short-term, that these foods have on humans and livestock. Surveys have illustrated that most Americans do not want to eat genetically modified foods, but at the same time, they have no idea that they already are eating them. 86% of all of the 2010 corn seed planted in the U.S. was GMO. Even a higher percentage of U.S. soybeans were Roundup Ready. With the recent addition of genetically engineered alfalfa, more than 70% of our cropland will soon be planted to GMOs in the U.S. The release of genetically modified salmon, whose aggressive eating habits are sure to out-compete native salmon for food resources, is under review. Cloned livestock of all types are being considered for our future food supply.
Our current regulatory atmosphere does not include review of the impact on the entire management scheme when approving the use of GMO crops and their accompanying chemical inputs. This is an important flaw. The work of Don Huber of Purdue University, among others, details nutrient deficiency caused by the use of glyphosate on Round-Up Ready crops. The binding and subsequent non-availability of important trace minerals (Ca, Mg, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Zn) to the crops is well known. We must question the long term effect of the reduction of these trace minerals in human foods and livestock feeds. New studies tie “sudden death syndrome,” a plant disease that wipes out entire fields of crops, to the use of glyphosate. The research illustrates that plants are weakened by the use of glyphosate, making them susceptible to this disease. Round-up Ready crops’ reliance on the regular use of glyphosate is causing multiple, unmeasured effects on the soil and plants.
Currently, herbicide resistant crops, like Roundup Ready soybeans, corn, and canola, are regulated under the USDA’s Plant Pest Act. Under the Act, only if a crop can directly or indirectly injure, or cause damage or disease to other plants can it be disallowed from being planted. Plant pests are currently categorized only as follows: a protozoan, a nonhuman animal, a parasitic plant, a bacterium, a fungus, a virus, an infectious agent, or a pathogen. This very narrow definition, identifying the GMO crop as a pest ONLY in relation to other plants, ignores the fact that all parts of our ecosystem are interrelated. The current approval process where consideration is only given to the GMO crop as a “plant pest” must be broadened to reflect all of the impacts these GMOs have on soil life, other parts of the ecosystem, our health, and the environment. Organic farmers know that the health of soil biological life is related to the vigor and nutrition of the crops grown on that soil. How quickly we have forgotten Rachel Carson, and the effects DDT had on the shells of eagle eggs!
Do We Need GMOs to Feed the World?
The biotech seed industry promotes GMOs by saying genetic modification is the only way to feed the world. However, numerous studies have shown that increases in yield are tied more to hybrid genetic traits and uses of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers than to GMO seed traits. The Union of Concerned Scientists’ excellent study titled “Failure to Yield” (http://www.ucsusa.org) debunks the theory that GMOs are producing high and higher yields for a hungry planet. At Universities where organic seed trails done on organic land are compared to conventional seed trails, the yields between the two are statistically equal. Only through land stewardship and respect for natural systems can we have a sustainable and abundant food supply for the future.
In my opinion, genetically modified seeds have only two “benefits.” First, they allow farmers to use poor and damaging farming practices and still get a crop, such as growing no-till corn in the same field year after year after year. In addition, the biotech seed companies employ many researchers, they buy a lot of advertisements to promote their products, and they produce dividends for their shareholders, moving a lot of money through particular sectors of the marketplace. GMO seeds are a well-funded marketing ploy to get farmers to buy higher priced seeds and the accompanying chemicals needed to use the GMO traits. I use the word “benefit” quite narrowly, since the accompanying degradation of our environment and the unknown long term health risks can hardly be called “benefits.”
Our current regulatory atmosphere considers genetically modified organisms to not be “significantly” different from the original plant before the genes were inserted. The biotech industry has muzzled the voices that question the assumption that the seeds and plants are the same. The reality is, if the genetic code of a living organism is changed, then it is no longer the same organism. It is time to fight for change in our regulatory system and consider the rights of those who do not wish to plant or consume GMOs. Labeling must be promoted in the marketplace, to give consumers access to clear nonGMO choices. Farmers must be compensated when they are damaged by unwanted GMO genetic drift. We cannot allow the GMO crop patent holders to continue the contamination of our precious land and food supply for their own short-term profit.
Harriet Behar is the MOSES organic outreach specialist.
California Appellate Court Upholds Pesticide Drift Case
In December 2010 California’s 6th District Court of Appeal in San Jose upheld an organic herb farmer’s right to sue a pesticide applicator over contamination of his crop, and let stand the $1 million award a jury handed the grower two years ago. The decision is significant because it strengthens the case for organic farmers or anyone else harmed by pesticides to seek legal recourse, even if the pesticide is legally applied.
Consumer Survey Finds Families
Buying More Organic Food
Forty-one percent of parents report they are buying more organic foods today than a year ago, up significantly from 31 percent reporting organic purchases in 2009, according to the U.S. Families’ Organic Attitudes & Beliefs 2010 tracking study. The survey, conducted between Aug. 11 and 27, 2010, also found that parents buy organic because they see organic products are generally healthier, address their concern about the effects of pesticides, hormones and antibiotics on children, or provide a means to avoid highly processed foods and/or artificial ingredients.
OFRF Awards First Research Grants In
New Seed Matters™ Project
Special funding enabled the Organic Farming Research Foundation Board of Directors to approve five grants focused on organic seed and breeding research and education. All Fall 2010 grants were made in partnership with the Clif Bar Family Foundation under the Seed Matters funding initiative. Total in competitive grants awarded: $50,033. To view more http://ofrf.org/pressroom/releases/110131_grants.html
WI Beginning Farmer and Farm Asset Owner Tax Credit
The WI Beginning Farmer and Farm Asset Owner Tax Credit goes into effect this year. You can read more about the credit at: http://www.revenue.wi.gov/taxpro/news/101207.html. To become eligible for the credit, a beginning farmer needs to submit an application, a copy of a three-year written lease with the farm asset owner, and a business plan to the DATCP Farm Center. Farm Center phone is (800) 942-2474.
Study Finds Organic Milk Dependably Healthier
New research published by Newcastle University in the UK shows that organic supermarket milk showed higher levels of nutritionally beneficial fatty acids compared with “ordinary” milk regardless of the time of year or weather conditions. The study was published in the January 2011 Journal of Dairy Science. “By choosing organic milk you can cut saturated fats by 30-50 percent and still get the same intake of beneficial fatty acids, as the omega-3 levels are higher but omega-6 is not, which helps to improve the crucial ratio between the two,” noted study leader Gillian Butler.
The Ceres Trust Selects Juli Brussell as First Executive Director
The Ceres Trust, a Midwest-based foundation that makes organic farming a grantmaking priority, has selected former Wisconsin organic and sustainable agriculture leader Juli Brussell as its first executive director. Brussell is returning to Wisconsin from New Hampshire, where she has served the last six years as program leader for agricultural resources for the University of New Hampshire’s Cooperative Extension Service. She is a former director of the sustainable agriculture program of Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCAP). Brussell and her husband, Kevin, own an organic farm in Illinois and both were trained as organic inspectors through the International Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA). She will establish an office for The Ceres Trust in Wisconsin.
Food Safety Modernization Act
President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act in January, capping a long fight for food safety rules that protect consumers without curbing the growing movement toward fresh, local and regional food systems. The food safety bill passed by the House in July of 2009 would have imposed a one-size-fits-all regulatory system biased toward industrial agriculture with a regressive registration fee, expensive food safety plans, and regular on-farm FDA inspections regardless of the degree of the potential risk for food borne illness. For nearly two years, the National Sustainable Ag Coalition led an effort to win small and mid-size farm amendments to the legislation. More at http://sustainableagriculture.net/blog/house-passes-food-safety-act/
Financing Farm to Fork Conference
FamilyFarmed.org announces the return of Financing Farm to Fork in Chicago on March 17, 2011 - day one of the FamilyFarmed EXPO. The conference will educate regional farmers and food processors about various financing strategies and then link them with individuals who represent a variety of financing options that may help them grow their businesses. More at http://www.FamilyFarmed.org.
First Meeting of Central Illinois Sustainable Farming Network
A newly created network for people interested in sustainable farming practices will hold its first meeting on Saturday, March 5, 6 to 9 p.m. in Bloomington, IL. The keynote speaker will be small farms expert Lynn R. Miller. Registration is $35 per person, which includes dinner featuring locally grown food. To register, visit https://webs.extension.uiuc.edu/registration/default.cfm?RegistrationID=5359 or call Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant at 217-968-5512. Information about the network, including how to join, is available at http://central.illinoisfarmbeginnings.org or call 708-763-9920.
Look Who’s Knockin’ . . . Play focuses on retiring farmers’ dilemma
A new play will premier in eight southeast Minnesota church social halls and community theatres and at the MOSES Organic Farming Conference this winter. Produced by the Land Stewardship Project, the play is written by LSP’s Doug Nopar, and directed by Fillmore County theatre artist, Eva Barr. For more information on the play or to make reservations for the southeast Minnesota locations, contact the Land Stewardship Project office in Lewiston at 507-523-3366 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2011 Non-GMO Sourcebook
Evergreen Publishing, Inc. announces publication of The 2011 Non-GMO Sourcebook, the world’s only “farm to fork” directory of suppliers of non-genetically modified (non-GMO) products. A new website for the Sourcebook and links for purchasing the book can be found at http://www.nongmosourcebook.com. The “Farm to Fork” directory features more than 700 suppliers of non-GMO seeds, grains, ingredients, and foods. 800-854-0586.
NCAT Organic Apple Production and
Marketing Webinar Now Available Online
A free webinar archive on organic apple production is available at http://www.attra.ncat.org/video/#apples. Topics covered by this hour-long webinar include: Organic apple production techniques for different regions of the country, disease control with organic fungicides and disease-resistant varieties of apples, insect and mite control with kaolin clay, pheromones, and new-generation pesticides, farmscaping to optimize biological control with beneficial insects, control of pests in orchards, and more.
Consumer Representative for MN Organic Advisory Task Force
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) seeks a consumer representative to fill a vacancy on the Minnesota Organic Advisory Task Force (OATF). The OATF advises the Commissioner of Agriculture and the University of MN about policies and programs that will improve organic agriculture in MN. The application form is at http://www.sos.state.mn.us/. Or call the Secretary of State’s office at 651-297-5845. Deadline March 1.
Nominations Requested for WI Organic Advisory Council
The Wisconsin Organic Advisory Council is looking for nominations by March 14 to fill four open seats for 3-year terms on the 12 member Council, including seats for: an organic farmer, an organic business, a non-profit educational organization, and an ‘at-large’ seat. The Council meets quarterly to guide the development of organic education and marketing opportunities for WI farms and businesses and provide input on state and federal policy that affects organic agriculture. Application at http://datcp.wi.gov/Farms/Organic_Farming/ or from Laura Paine, (608-224-5120; email@example.com).
Commitment Needed for 2012 Farm Bill
Planning for the 2012 Farm Bill is underway, providing guidance for essential policies for a wide range of food and agricultural programs and regulations. The power of committed and vocal citizens, especially organic and sustainable farmers, can make a difference for positive change in agricultural policy supporting organic farming.
Rewritten every five years, the 2008 Farm Bill opened the door to significant change in the areas the government supports and encourages in agriculture, food, energy and land use. Organic and sustainable farming received increased funding under both the research and conservation sections. Funding was also provided specifically to organic farmers to improve grazing and cropping systems, along with other improvements.
With looming budget cuts the small gains made in 2008 are in jeopardy. MOSES will provide information and resources to take action for the 2012 Farm Bill through both the monthly electronic newsletter and ongoing issues of the Organic Broadcaster newspaper.
Contact the following organizations to make an even greater impact on the future of organic agriculture in the United States:
National Organic Coalition: http://www.NationalOrganicCoalition.org, 845-744-2304
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition: http://www.sustainableagriculturecoalition.org, 202-547-5754
Center for Rural Affairs: http://www.cfra.org, 402-687-2100
Land Stewardship Project: http://www.landstewardshipproject.org,612-722-6377
Organic Farming Research Foundation: http://www.ofrf.org, 831-426-6606
Michael Fields Agricultural Institute: http://www.michaelfieldsaginst.org, 262-642-3303
Risk Management Guide for Organic Producers
Risk Management Guide for Organic Producers is a new free online manual and website that will help farmers understand the risks in organic production and make choices that minimize those risks. Fourteen chapters cover a wide range of production topics that are relevant to organic farmers while integrating recent organic research and tips from local experienced organic farmers. The website also includes a link to interactive quizzes that producers can take to gauge their risk level in various areas of organic production. http://www.organicriskmanagement.umn.edu/. This publication was developed by the University of Minnesota with funding from the USDA’s Risk Management Agency and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
For Sale: Woods rotovator, model SGT88, 84” cut, excellent condition. Waverly, Iowa. 319-352-3735.
For Sale: Sprayer, Chisholm Ryder HC on IH504 platform. Eight row, 200 gallon tank adjustable boom, new high flow pump and T-Jet nozzles. 952-985-7233.
For Sale: John Deere 4020LP. 3625 hours. 4 row belly mount cultivating tool bar. Ideal for sweet corn growers. 952-985-7233.
For Sale: John Deere 4010LP. 5576 hours. Great running tractor, ready for the field or collection. 952-985-7233.
For Sale: JD 55 combine, cab, cornhead; JD 4 row cultivator; JD’s 494 – 4 row, 290, 999 planters; IHC 4 bottom steerable; 4 section rotary hoe. 641-751-8382.
For Sale: JD 630 disk, $9500; JD 450 manure spreader, $2500; Buffalo 4630 cultivator, 8 x 30, $4500; JD fertilizer box extensions; 200 gal. poly saddle tanks, $750; JD front mount 3 point, $1500; 8 row 30” burner with tank, $5000. Brian. Grinnell, Iowa. 641-236-8861 or 641-990-0016.
For Sale: Sukup 9400 6RN, high speed cultivator. Used on organic row crops with excellent results. Reason for selling: going to 8-row Sukup. Juneau, Wisconsin. 920-887-7491.
For Sale: White row crop cultivator 16 row, 22” $2500, OBO; flamer 16 row, 22” $5000, OBO; 2-self-propelled Massey swathers: 775 – 21’ $2800, OBO; 665 – 18’ $2300, OBO; Buffalo 3 point row finder $750, OBO. All equipment in good shape. Bob Henneman. 320-834-4049 or 320-491-9337.
For sale: Howard Rotavator, T-130, 10ft10in, 1000 pto. Shedded. Very good shape. 641-220-3882
FREE: Two Rochester Stave silos, for taking them down. 16x60, 18x60. 715-452-5817.
For Sale: 2007-60’ Kovar Tine harrow. Hardly used, like new. Farm went out of business. $11,000 new. Asking $8,000 OBO. I can haul anywhere. Andy. 260-413-3812.
For Sale: Custom pasture for 40 head of open or bred dairy heifers from May to November 2011. Provide management, feed, minerals, salt & water. Osakis, Minnesota. 320-491-6855.
For Sale: Blind Lake Cattle Company in central Minnesota has 90 organic fall calves that will be available this spring. Marion Linn. 218-587-2046.
For Sale: 35 head certified organic, red & black angus, grass-based cows. 4-10 year olds & spring calves. Ravenna, Nebraska. 308-380-3311.
For Sale: MOSA certified, 20 springing jersey and jersey cross heifers due April-May. New Holstein, Wisconsin. 920-894-4201.
For Sale: Certified organic, alfalfa & clover baleage. 4x5. Certified organic, barley & peas, 4x5. 715-421-9956
For Sale: Organic 900 lb, 1st & 2nd crop round bales, net wrapped. Bloomer, Wisconsin. Contact: Culver Farms. 715-568-3758.
For Sale: MOSA-certified organic hay. Wrapped big squares or round bales. Special price if paid for in 2010. Can deliver or will store for future delivery. Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Tim at Damar Farms. 715-797-3914.
For Sale: OCIA certified organic alfalfa 3rd crop hay. No rain. 141.4 RFV, 18% protein, $165/ton; and 1st crop alfalfa 91 RFV, 10% protein. No rain. $135/ton. All in 5x6 round bales. Eau Claire, Wisconsin. 715-559-2989.
For Sale: 2010 organic alfalfa certified by Oregon Tilth. 3x3x8, can deliver. 185 RFV & 216 RFV. $200 & $230/ton. Wolverton, MN. 701-238-1332.
For Sale: Certified organic alfalfa and alfalfa/timothy mix hay. 3x3x8 square bales. RFV 150 to 170. Stored inside. Also have wheat straw 3x3x8 square bales. Krumm Farm, Strasburg, ND. 701-336-7644.
For Sale: Certified organic alfalfa and alfalfa/grass hay. 3x3x8 bales. Several lots available. 1st-4th cuttings. RFQ 120-273. Lynn Brakke, Moorhead, MN. 701-491-0207.
For Sale: Organic mature grassy hay, suitable for bedding, no rain, stored inside, big square bales, dump delivery available. Arcadia, Wisconsin. 608-323-7297.
For Sale: Organic feed wrapped and dry hay, big bales. Corn, oats, barley, roasted and regular soybeans. Can deliver. 608-574-2160.
For Sale: Organic 3rd crop hay, big squares. 608-463-7539.
For Sale: Grass/Alfalfa Mix and Grass Hay For Sale. Analysis Available. Certified Organic. Call Randy. 612-669-6892.
For Sale: OCIA alfalfa hay. Large square bales. 218-745-5827.
For Sale: OCIA certified organic alfalfa hay. 3x3x8 big square bales. RFV/RFQ Test 125-159. Protein test 17-23. Grown in NW Minnesota. 218-686-2946.
For Sale: Certified organic alfalfa and alfalfa/grass hay. 3x3x8 bales. Good test results. Located in Linton, North Dakota. Dave Silbernagel. 208-867-9939 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Sale: Organic hay, straw and oats. Dry & silage bales. Sno-Pac Farms – delivery available. 507-725-5281.
For Sale: Organic hay: 4x4, net-wrapped, rounds, dry or wrapped balage. Grass-alfalfa. $70-$180/ton. Rushford, Minnesota. 507-864-8080.
For Sale: Custom pasture for 40 head of open or bred dairy heifers from May to November 2011. Provide management, feed, minerals, salt & water. Osakis, Minnesota. 320-491-6855.
For Sale: Organically certified dairy quality dry hay; baleage & round bales. All lots are tested. Low potassium available. Bedding also available. NE Iowa. James 563-586-2231.
For Sale: Certified organic alfalfa hay, 3x3x8 squares & 5x5 rounds. All in shed. Price by test results. Little Falls, MN. 320-632-4691.
For Sale: OCIA certified alfalfa grass mix. 1st & 2nd crop large square bales. Shedded. Test available. 600 bushels barley & peas. West Central, Minnesota. 320-760-1313.
For Sale: MOSA certified hay, grass clover mix, netwrapped rounds and small squares, also 4x5 baleage. No rain, test results available, delivery available. Wisconsin. 715-873-4111.
For Sale: Alfalfa grass hay. Indiana certified organic. Sparta, Michigan. Jay 616-260-9838.
For Sale: Organic alfalfa grass mix hay in medium squares and 4x5 rounds. Organic oats hay in 4x5 rounds. 1500 bushels organic oats. 320-352-2538
For Sale: Certified organic corn, new crop, ear corn or shelled corn, also last year’s crop. $5.50-$6.50 depending on the market it may be more/less. Ray Borntreger. N2955 State Road 54, Melrose, Wisconsin. 54642-8133.
For Sale: Certified organic oats. 39# test weight. Dave Silbernagel. Linton, North Dakota. 208-867-9939 or email@example.com.
Opportunity: Organic Farm – 130 crop acres, two houses & other buildings, buy or lease to own. $500,000. West Central Wisconsin. 800-657-4412.
For Sale: 22 acres. Certifiable. Close to Mt. Tabor. Ranch house, attached garage, walk-in basement, insulated shed. Two story barn, insulated shop, well. $125,000. 608-489-3201.
Opportunity: Crew Supervisor– Ploughshare Farm, a 400 member CSA in Alexandria MN, is now hiring for a Field Crew Supervisor. Primary duties include harvest management and field crew supervision. A minimum of three seasons on a diversified vegetable farm is required. Supervisory experience strongly preferred. Compensation: A competitive hourly wage (based upon experience), housing in a 3 bedroom, split-logged home. Long-term job opportunities are a possibility after a trial period of one year. Couples and families are welcome. Gary Brever, firstname.lastname@example.org www.ploughsharefarm.com
Wanted: Farm land needed. West or North of Madison, Wisconsin. Our family is looking for 10-40 acres to farm. Contact: Marco. 608-661-9338.
For Sale: 325 acre farm (will be certified organic July 2011) in Walkerton, Indiana. Great location for direct marketing or close to Chicago markets. 574-784-2774 or email@example.com.
Wanted: Couple interested in organic farming. Eight acres with some equipment available. Large homestead farm house, minimal rent. Yard up-keep required. Great opportunity for the right people. Call for details. 217-439-7358 or 303-241-1627 cell. Springfield, Illinois.
For Sale: Green Power juicer. Used very little. $300.00. LaMotte, Iowa. 563-773-2731.
For Sale: Yellow & red onion plant starts. 75-100/bundle, $5/bundle. Minimum of 10 bundles. Glen Elsbernd. 563-379-3951.
For Sale: Certified organic, bare-rooted onion plants. Candy, Alsi Craig, Safrane, Sedona, Cortland, Mustang, and Redwing. Also, King Richard and Tadorna leeks. We start shipping in April. Large quantity discounts available. Ammon Stoltzfus, W12200 County C, Black River Falls, WI. 54615.
For Sale: Bedding/mulch for poultry and animals or plant mulch. 100% certified organic. Light and easy to use. Bagged or bulk. Vince Heiman. 608-516-6716.
POSITION WANTED: Ex-Zimbabwe farmer seeks position in USA. 15 years mixed farm experience. 5 years organic. Married & children, Christian, sober, strong work ethic. Attending MOSES Conference. Contact: John-Michael@Bion.org.uk or 44-7702-629789.
Weeds are a product of poor soil environments. The book “Weeds and Why They Grow” lists over 800 weeds and factors encouraging their growth. Other control tips included. 116 pgs, $25 postpaid. Contact: McCaman Farms, PO Box 22, Dept OG, Sand Lake, MI, 49343-9554. 800-611-2923.Return to TOP