Thanks to these sponsors for their support of the
Current Issue | Archives | Advertising | Submissions |
Online Organic Classifieds
Organic Broadcaster Online Issue 20.2 March/April 2012
Table of Contents
- MOSES 2012 Organic Farmers of the Year
- Spreading the Good News about Organic Agriculture (While Correcting a Few Myths)
- News From MOSES
- Inside Organics Here We Go Again….it's Time to Discuss the Farm Bill
- Book Review Fearless Farm Finances: Farm Financial Management Demystified
- Proof Positive: Reducing Heat Stress and Insect Pressure in Crops Using Kaolin Clay
- Kinder, Gentler Bulls?
- Upper Midwest Organic Grains and Feedstuffs Report
- News Briefs
MOSES 2012 Organic Farmers of the Year: Francis and Susan Thicke - Radiance Dairy; Fairfield, Iowa
by Harriet Behar
Francis and Susan Thicke of Radiance Dairy, Fairfield, IA, will be honored as the 2012 MOSES Organic Farmer of the Year at the 2012 Organic Farming Conference. Join MOSES in congratulating Francis and Susan on Thursday, February 23rd at 7:00 pm when the announcement will be made. The Thickes will speak about the philosophies and strategies that have led to their success- a presentation that you won't want to miss. The Farmer of the Year award will be officially presented to the Thickes at 10:30 on Friday morning, February 24. The MOSES Organic Farmer of the Year Award is given annually to an organic farmer practicing outstanding land stewardship, innovation, and outreach. For more about the award, see the sidebar on page four.
Congratulations to Francis and Susan Thicke of Radiance Dairy in Fairfield, Iowa, chosen by the MOSES board of directors as the 2012 MOSES Organic Farmer of the Year.
The Thickes market the production of their 80-cow organic Jersey herd within four miles of the farm, serving as the "community dairy" of this Southeastern Iowa college town. Using sound science, a bit of humor, as well as intuition of what is right for the land and their animals, the Thicke's farming style is both fun and functional. The natural world, with its numerous ecological systems, is a continuous source of inspiration and learning for Francis and Susan. By educating others through example, teaching at events, and participating in political activities, they have done much to build regional and national public support of organic agriculture.
Francis and Susan purchased their current farm in 1996, taking on the challenge of healing a worn out and heavily eroded row crop farm. Years of perennial grasses, livestock manure, and management integrating water and soil quality conservation strategies have resulted in productive land and continually improving soils.
With a strong academic background, (Masters in Soil Science, University of Minnesota and PhD in Agronomy from University of Illinois) and a wealth of practical knowledge from running his grass based organic dairy, Francis recommends farmers "listen to your inner agronomist, not be so tied to preconceived notions, and be more fluid" in making management decisions. This is how the Thicke dairy herd is managed, with young stock and production animals given feeds and living conditions that respect their needs and natural behaviors. Using the tools that nature provides and remaining open and responsive to their livestock's subtle messages, the Thickes have a productive and profitable dairy operation, supported by a constantly improving land base.
Radiance Dairy is located in a hilly area of Iowa, well suited to growing grass and pasturing cattle. Grazing is maximized by stockpiling grass, with cows out on pasture until the snow flies, typically April through December. Cattle are rotated through 60 different paddocks, which host a unique and energy efficient watering system. A submersible pump, powered by solar panels, brings water from a pond to a 4000-gallon tank located on a high point of the farm. Gravity then feeds water to the various paddocks as needed.
Francis laughs as he notes that flies are controlled "not by a silver bullet, but by silver buckshot…" using chickens in the pasture, organic soybean oil as a spray, and a variety of sticky and stinky traps. Calves stay with their mothers. Although this reduces the amount of milk going into the tank, Francis feels that the loss is offset by the excellent start the future production animals get. Nurse cows have also been used to produce robust and healthy calves.
A crop rotation including hay and small grains keeps row crop weed pressure very low. Once per year cultivation is sometimes all that is needed to keep the soybean crop clean. Conservation is a focus, with stream crossings to protect surface waters, and diverse plantings in and around the pastures, including windbreaks of fruiting trees and shrubs for wildlife and humans to enjoy. Whey from cheese making is currently spread on pastures, but may be used in the future for a whey-based protein beverage.
Value-added products are key to the farm's profitability. Radiance Dairy organic products include non-homogenized milk, yogurt, several cheeses, and soft serve ice cream mix for restaurants. Enthusiastic word-of-mouth comments from customers keeps demand strong at the two grocery stores and 14 restaurants that currently sell Radiance Dairy products. Francis handles the day-to-day operations on the agricultural side, including crop and animal care, while Susan helps with milking, makes the cheese, and handles the bookkeeping. Four (full and part-time) employees help out in the processing facility and on the farm.
Francis is well known in organic and sustainable farming circles, giving presentations based on his academic background as well as his practical knowledge from running his grass based organic dairy. Over the years Francis has taught at the MOSES Organic University and Organic Farming Conference, at Acres USA and several other conferences, as well as at numerous field days.
As a recent candidate for Secretary of Agriculture in Iowa (an elected position), Francis brought up issues not usually discussed in politics, including the incorporation of ecology into farming systems. Both rural and urban citizens took part in lively discussions introducing food production models that are both environmentally beneficial and economically viable. As part of his campaign Francis published a book titled "A New Vision for Iowa Food and Agriculture, Sustainable Agriculture for the 21st Century," to encourage further discussion of issues that he feels have been too long ignored. Although not planning another foray into politics, Francis continues to speak and lead discussions for citizen groups across the state. He knows that, as it takes time to heal the soil, the change needed in American agriculture can only occur after many public meetings and kitchen table discussions.
Francis and Susan both serve on a variety of boards, from the Sierra Club and a local foods organization to a group that challenges CAFOs in their region. Francis is on the State Technical Committee of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, is a member of the Iowa Farmers Union, and has testified before the US Congress. He has participated on numerous other boards and committees that focus on protecting the environment while promoting healthy working lands for agriculture. Teaching is still part of Francis' routine, and he works with a variety of universities and colleges in his region. The Thickes have received numerous awards from farming and conservation groups. Francis served on the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission, but was not reappointed, Francis says, due to his strong support of environmental protection. Francis recounts this story with humor and grace, realizing that at times you just have to speak your mind rather than keep quiet just to stay in a position.
Passionate about playing the trumpet, Francis plays for weddings and in a variety of community bands. Susan is also an artist and currently serves as president of the Fairfield Art Walk Board, which sponsors an art walk the first Friday of each month.
Susan and Francis approach all aspects of their work and play with enthusiasm, enjoying all aspects of their lives, from their work on the farm and their ecological approach to agriculture to their interactions with neighbors, students, colleagues, and the greater community. Congratulations to Francis and Susan Thicke, MOSES 2012 Farmer of the Year!
Spreading the Good News about Organic Agriculture (While Correcting a Few Myths)
by Joe Pedretti
Taking Back the Message
While it is important that we respond to and refute incorrect information we see and hear about organic agriculture, it is even more crucial for us to talk about what organic is and why we feel it is a critical step towards a sustainable future. If we spend energy and time mostly reacting to those who criticize organic, whether fairly, unfairly, or out of ignorance, we allow others to control the dialog and the discussion. Instead of being reactionary, we need to be proactive and frame the message in our own way.
We live in a time when media is frequently used as a political means to an end. Public relations firms, marketing departments, and "think-tank foundations" are paid to work 24/7 to promote someone's agenda. In the age of digital media and social networking, these efforts literally never stop. While the organic industry has slowly but surely adopted these same tools, the most effective way for organic farmers and consumers to promote organic agriculture and foods is to refine their message and remain positive and factual. Whether talking to friends and family, writing an article or letter to the editor, giving an interview, or talking to a class of 5th graders, it is critical that we accurately and honestly convey what organic really is and why it is important.
Be a Mythbuster
You have to hand it to them; the anti-organic forces have done an effective job in framing the discussion to their benefit. They consistently use the same talking points to make an impression upon the public. While we do need to work hard to reinforce our own messages, under our own terms, it is also important to respond effectively to the criticisms. If you do media interviews, speak at public events, or write blogs/tweets/opinion letters, you must be able to respond to common criticisms of organic food and agriculture. Let's take a look at some of the most common myths and inaccuracies, the actual facts, and some ideas for responding effectively and honestly.
Myth: Organic Cannot Feed the World
This is by far the most common myth you will see. This criticism is mostly based on the "lower production per acre" premise. Here are some actual quotes that exemplify this myth:
"Organic cropland in 2008 comprised a mere 0.52 percent of total cropland."
"A switch to organic agriculture would require a 43 percent increase over current U.S. cropland."
"Organic is too small and unproductive to ever be the 'solution' to our need to simultaneously feed the world and protect the environment."
Slate- "Organic Crops Alone Cannot Feed the World", March 10, 2011
"Organic is an impractical system of food production that is unsustainable, primarily because it is simply incapable of feeding the world."
Alex Avery- Center for Global Food Issues, Hudson Institute
"The real reason organic farming isn't more green than conventional is that, while it might be better for local environments on the small scale, organic farms produce far less food per unit land than conventional ones. Organic farms produce around 80 percent that what the same size conventional farm produces."
Christie Wilcox, Scientific American, "Mythbusting 101: Organic Farming" July 18, 2011
Fact: Organic Can Feed the World
Rodale Institute- 30 Year Farming Systems Trial Report
Rodale has recently completed their report on the longest side-by-side conventional vs. organic farming systems trial ever completed in the United States. Here are some of their conclusions:
• Organic yields match conventional yields in long-term trials.
• Organic outperforms conventional in years of drought.
• Organic farming systems build rather than deplete soil organic matter, making it a more sustainable system.
• Organic farming uses 45 percent less energy and is more efficient.
• Conventional systems produce 40 percent more greenhouse gases.
• Organic farming systems are more profitable than conventional.
The entire report is worth reading and confirms many of our assumptions and busts many of the anti-organic myths: http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/fst30years
The Long-Term Agroecological Research (LTAR) Experiment- Iowa State University
Organic crop systems can provide similar yields and much higher economic returns than a conventional corn-soybean rotation, according to 13 years of data from a side-by-side comparison at Iowa State University's Neely-Kinyon Research and Demonstration Farm.
Some of the findings from this experiment:
- Averages from 13 years of the LTAR experiment show that yields of organic corn, soybean, and oats have been equivalent to or greater than conventional counterparts.
- A 12-year average for alfalfa and 8-year average for winter wheat also show no significant difference between organic yields and the county averages.
- On average, returns to management (after deducting labor, land, and production costs) for organic systems are roughly $200 per acre greater than conventional returns, according to actual LTAR data and modeling.
- Organic systems have lower production costs because they eliminate the need for expensive herbicides and synthetic fertilizers.
- Total nitrogen increased by 33 percent in the organic system.
- The results suggest that organic farming can create greater efficiency in nutrient use and higher carbon sequestration potential.
Full details about the LTAR can be found here: http://www.leopold.iastate.edu/pubs-and-papers/2011-11-ltar-experiment
- A 2007 study led by Ivette Perfecto of the University of Michigan showed that in developing countries, where the chances of famine are greatest, organic methods could double or triple crop yields.
- A United Nations examination of farming in 24 African countries found that organic or near-organic farming resulted in yield increases of more than 100 percent.
- Not only can organic agriculture feed the world, according to the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) in a report released in October, 2008, it may be the only way we can solve the growing problem of hunger in developing countries. UNEP reported that organic practices in Africa outperformed industrial, chemical-intensive conventional farming, and also provided environmental benefits such as improved soil fertility, better retention of water and resistance to drought.
Message: What We Can Say About Organic Feeding the World?
- Yes organic can feed the world. Long-term research studies show that organic production can equal conventional yields and even outperform it during drought. Organic production also yields better economic returns, needs fewer inputs, builds the soil, and lowers greenhouse gas emissions.
- Agriculture is not feeding the world now! Nearly one billion people are seriously undernourished, and two billion suffer from micronutrient malnutrition. Organic offers the best opportunity for people to feed themselves.
- An expensive, fossil fuel dependent agriculture is not the answer. Our current conventional farming model worked only as long as fuel was cheap and water was abundant.
- We need to empower people to produce their own food. That can only happen through a sustainable system that does not depend on unaffordable chemical and petroleum-based inputs.
Allegation: Organic Farmers Use Pesticides!
"Many people believe that organic farming involves little to no pesticide use. I hate to burst the bubble, but that's simply not true. Organic farming, just like other forms of agriculture, still uses pesticides and fungicides to prevent critters from destroying their crops; turns out that there are over 20 chemicals commonly used in the growing and processing of organic crops that are approved by the US Organic Standards."
Christie Wilcox, Scientific American, "Mythbusting 101: Organic farming" July 18, 2011
Fact: Not All Pesticides Are Equal
While it is true that organic farmers can use natural pesticides, and even a few synthetic ones, these inputs must be approved for use by the National Organic Standards- this means they have been reviewed and approved by the National Organic Standards Board. This is a unique and very open process, where materials are proposed, public discussion allowed, and final decisions made by the Board based upon the National Organic Standards and input from the organic community.
All pesticides on the National List of Allowed Substances are restricted in their use. An organic farmer can only use pesticides if their cultural and biological controls have failed. Pesticides in an Organic System Plan are never primary control options. This is a very important distinction- in many conventional farming systems, pesticides are primary inputs that are always used no matter the actual pest pressure (Roundup is a good example).
There are really three primary considerations that must be explored when looking at pesticides: toxicity, carcinogenicity, and persistence in the environment.
Toxicity: All pesticides are toxic; that is how they kill pests. It is the level of toxicity that must be considered. The most toxic natural pesticides have been prohibited under the NOS. Nicotine and rotenone are both prohibited despite being natural, because of their high toxicity.
Carcinogenicity: Is a pesticide carcinogenic? The Environmental Protection Agency weighs the economic value of a pesticide against the negatives (like carcinogenicity) when approving them. Unfortunately, the true impact of synthetic chemicals is often learned at a later date and then discontinued.
- Of the 28 pesticides estimated by EPA to be most widely used in agriculture, more than 40 percent are classified by the EPA as likely, probable, or possible carcinogens*- none of which are allowed under the National Organic Standards. *Source: Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides
- There are a total of 34 "Food Use" pesticides classified by the EPA as potential human carcinogens*- none of which are allowed under the National Organic Standards. *Source: Journal for Pesticide Reform
- According to the EPA, of the 25 most commonly used pesticide active ingredients used by the Agricultural Market Sector- only one, copper hydroxide, is allowed under the National Organic Standards, and copper hydroxide has restrictions to prevent it from building up in the soil and from being used as an herbicide.
Persistence: This is the length of time it takes for a pesticide to break down in the environment. Pesticides that are toxic, carcinogenic, and very persistent represent the greatest threat to human and environmental health. Of the EPA's "Dirty Dozen" Persistent Organic Pollutants, nine are agricultural pesticides and none of them are allowed under the National Organic Standards.
From a study done in 2005, it is estimated that human health and environmental costs from pesticides in the United States is a total of $9.6 billion.
Source: Pimentel, David. "Environmental and Economic Costs of the Application of Pesticides Primarily in the United States." Environment, Development and Sustainability 7 (2005): 229-252.
Allegation: Organic Foods Have Pesticide Residues
Organic skeptics charge that studies have found pesticide residues on organic foods, therefore the integrity of organic food must be called into question. Or worse, they imply that organic farmers are cheating. These are the often cited studies:
"Just over one percent of organic foodstuffs produced in 2007 and tested by the European Food Safety Authority were found to contain pesticide levels above the legal maximum levels – and these are of pesticides that are not organic."
"Consumer Reports purchased a thousand pounds of tomatoes, peaches, green bell peppers, and apples in five cities and tested them for more than 300 synthetic pesticides, they found traces of them in 25 percent of the organically-labeled foods."
Christie Wilcox, Scientific American, "Mythbusting 101: Organic Farming" July 18, 2011
Of course just looking at pesticide residues on organic foods is not a complete analysis; you need to compare the results of both conventional and organic produce to get the whole story. Fortunately, this type of study has been done and the results are enlightening.
An analysis of pesticide residue data from 94,000 food samples, including 1,291 organic samples, taken by the USDA, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, and by the Consumers Union, show "convincingly that organically grown foods have fewer and generally lower pesticide residues than conventionally grown foods. This pattern was consistent across all three independent data sets. Organic foods typically contain pesticide residues only one-third as often as conventionally grown foods do. Organic samples are also far less likely to contain multiple residues than conventional foods are. The Agriculture Department data showed that 73 percent of the conventionally grown foods had residue from at least one pesticide and were six times as likely as organic to contain multiple pesticide residues; only 23 percent of the organic samples of the same groups had any residues. The California data found residues in 31 percent of the conventional food and 6.5 percent in the organic. Consumer Union tests found residues on 79 percent of the conventional samples and 27 percent on the organic."
Source: Pesticide residues in conventional, IPM-grown and organic foods: Insights from three U.S. data sets. By Brian P. Baker, Charles M. Benbrook, Edward Groth III, and Karen Lutz Benbrook. Published in: Food Additives and Contaminants, Volume 19, No. 5, May 2002, pages 427-446.
We live in a polluted world. Pesticide residues can happen on the organic farm from environmental contamination (wind/rain), pesticide drift, poor shipping and handling practices, improper storage or by commingling with conventional food products at the wholesale and retail food chain. The main point is that organic foods have been shown to drastically reduce a consumer's exposure to pesticide residues. It is also important to note that farmers and manufacturers of certified organic products have never made any guarantee of their foods being "pesticide-free." This is an impossible claim due to the ubiquitous presence of pesticides in our environment.
Message: Pesticides- What We Should Say
- Organic foods have been shown to drastically reduce a consumer's exposure to pesticide residues.
- Organic farmers are allowed to use a small number of approved natural and a few synthetic pesticides. These pesticides are carefully chosen for their lower toxicity and short persistence in the environment.
- Organic farmers can only use pesticides if their preventative practices have failed and they are given prior approval by a 3rd party certification agency.
- Organic farmers cannot use any of the pesticides on the EPA's "Dirty Dozen" list, nor do they use any of the pesticides considered "potential human carcinogens."
Message: Pesticide Residues- What We Can Say
- We live in a polluted and increasingly toxic world. Pesticide residues can be found in water, soil and rain- everywhere. Organic farmers do not use persistent synthetic pesticides, but food can become contaminated by wind and rain or by poor handling practices. We can all agree that we should use less of these chemicals and organic farmers use none of them.
- Organic foods have been shown to drastically reduce a consumer's exposure to pesticide residues.
Myth: Organic Food is Not More Nutritious
"Some people believe that by not using manufactured chemicals or genetically modified organisms, organic farming produces more nutritious food. However, science simply cannot find any evidence that organic foods are in any way healthier than non-organic ones – and scientists have been comparing the two for over 50 years."
Christie Wilcox, Scientific American, "Mythbusting 101: Organic Farming" July 18, 2011
This myth centers around a study published in the July, 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Their conclusion:
"On the basis of a systematic review of studies of satisfactory quality, there is no evidence of a difference in nutrient quality between organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs. The small differences in nutrient content detected are biologically plausible and mostly relate to differences in production methods."
Nutritional quality of organic foods: a systematic review: Alan D Dangour, Sakhi K Dodhia, Arabella Hayter, Elizabeth Allen, Karen Lock, and Ricardo Uauy
The Organic Center, led by Chief Scientist Chuck Benbrook Ph.D., reviewed this study and came to these conclusions:
"In their written report, the London team downplayed positive findings in favor of organic food. In several instances, their analysis showed that organic foods tend to be more nutrient dense than conventional foods. Plus, their study omitted measures of some important nutrients, including total antioxidant capacity. It also lacked quality controls contained in a competing study released in 2008 by The Organic Center (TOC). Last, the FSA-funded team also used data from very old studies assessing nutrient levels in plant varieties that are no longer on the market."
Organic Center Response to the FSA Study July 2009, Charles Benbrook, Ph.D., Donald R. Davis, PhD., Preston K. Andrews
In their own review of the same studies used in the "Nutritional Quality of Organic Foods" study, The Organic Center Team reached very different conclusions:
"The London team reported finding statistically significant differences between organically and conventionally grown crops in three of thirteen categories of nutrients. Significant differences cited by the team included nitrogen, which was higher in conventional crops, and phosphorus and tritratable acids, both of which were higher in the organic crops. Elevated levels of nitrogen in food are regarded by most scientists as a public health hazard because of the potential for cancer-causing nitrosamine compounds to form in the human GI tract. Hence, this finding of higher nitrogen in conventional food favors organic crops, as do the other two differences. Despite the fact that these three categories of nutrients favored organic foods, and none favored conventionally grown foods, the London-based team concluded that there are no nutritional differences between organically and conventionally grown crops."
"Across all the valid matched pairs and the 11 nutrients included in the TOC study, nutrient levels in organic food averaged 25 percent higher than in conventional food. Given that some of the most significant differences favoring organic foods were for key antioxidant nutrients that most Americans do not get enough of on most days, the team concluded that the consumption of organic fruits and vegetables, in particular, offered significant health benefits, roughly equivalent to an additional serving of a moderately nutrient dense fruit or vegetable on an average day."
Organic Center Response to the FSA Study July 2009, Charles Benbrook, Ph.D., Donald R. Davis, PhD., Preston K. Andrews
The full Organic Center Response can be found online and is worth reading in its entirety: http://www.organic-center.org/science.nutri.php?action=view&report_id=157
The Organic Center has also published the report "New Evidence Confirms the Nutritional Superiority of Plant-Based Organic Foods,"
State of Science Review, March 2008 Author(s): Charles Benbrook, Xin Zhao, Jaime Yanez, Neal Davies, Preston Andrews.
In their comprehensive review of both older and more recent peer-reviewed studies, they found that organic foods were nutritionally superior in 61 percent of the cases and conventional foods superior in 37 percent of the cases. Organic food was consistently superior in polyphenol and antioxidant levels and that "the differences documented in this study are sufficiently consistent and sizable to justify a new answer to the original question–Yes, organic plant-based foods are, on average, more nutritious."
The National Organic Standards ban or severely restrict the use of food additives, processing aids and fortifying agents commonly used in non-organic foods, including preservatives, artificial sweeteners, artificial colorings and flavorings, and monosodium glutamate (MSG).
Message: What We Can Say About the Nutrition of Organic Food
- Reviews of recent, more accurate studies have shown organic foods to be higher in antioxidants, bioflavinoids and micronutrients.
- Organic Standards do not allow the use of artificial dyes, preservatives, sweeteners, and flavors.
- Organic food will reduce your exposure to pesticide residues.
Myth: Organic Food is More Dangerous
- Organic farmers use manure.
- Organic food has higher levels of E. coli and salmonella contamination.
These are a few of the "more dangerous" myths that you will see. The most infamous of these you may remember:
On February 7, 2000, John Stossel from ABC's 20/20 argued in "The Food You Eat," that organic produce may in fact be more dangerous than conventional produce, with ABC's tests showing increased levels of E.coli bacteria in organic sprouts and lettuce. He also maintained that the tests found no pesticide residue in either the conventional or organic produce, thereby removing a key reason for buying organic food.
The problem was that Stossel fabricated the story- no tests were ever conducted.
John Stossel, co-anchor of ABC's "20/20,"delivered a half-hearted apology August 11, 2000 for falsifying evidence in a report that claimed organic produce is potentially more dangerous than food raised using toxic agrochemicals, antibiotics, added hormones, genetically engineered seeds, and massive animal-feeding factories. In his apology, Stossel admitted that some tests he relied on to support his conclusion had never been conducted.
Similarly, Dennis Avery published an article entitled "The Hidden Dangers in Organic Food" in the Fall, 1998, issue of American Outlook, a quarterly publication published by the Hudson Institute. Avery's article began, "According to recent data compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), people who eat 'organic and natural' foods are eight times as likely as the rest of the population to be attacked by a deadly new strain of E. coli bacteria (0157:H7)."
As with Stossel, Avery fabricated the evidence.
A statement from Dr. Mitchell Cohen of the Centers for Disease Control stated that: "Since 1982, most of the outbreaks of Escherichia coli 0157:H7 have been associated with foods of bovine origin (e.g. - ground beef). In recent years, a wider spectrum of foods, including produce, have been recognized as causes of outbreaks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not conducted any study that compares or quantitates the specific risk for infection with Escherichia coli 0157:H7 and eating either conventionally grown or organic/natural foods."
A University of Minnesota study concerning fecal E. coli in fresh picked produce by Mukherjee et al, published in the Journal of Food Protection (Vo. 67, No. 5, 2004), found that the percentage of E. coli prevalence in certified organic produce was similar to that in conventional samples. However, it did find a marked difference in the prevalence of E. coli between the samples from certified and non-certified organic farms. "Ours is the first study that suggests a potential association between organic certification and reduced E. coli prevalence," the authors wrote. They noted that the results of the study "do not support allegations that organic produce poses a substantially greater risk of pathogen contamination than does conventional produce." Source: "E. coli Facts", Organic Trade Association
Fact: To date, there are no studies that support the "organic is more dangerous" myth.
Message: Organic Food is Not More Dangerous
- There is no evidence that shows that organic food is more dangerous than conventional.
- Organic farmers have strict manure application rules to prevent contamination.
Myth: Organic Food is Too Expensive
According to USDA Census numbers, 330 farmers quit and leave the land every week! The percentage of young farmers has been dropping every year since 1982. There are fewer farms everyday, and many farmers are not encouraging their children to start farming. The primary cause of this trend is poor economic return on investment. Farmers simply cannot make enough money at current commodity prices, and they have no control over these prices.
With this in mind, we have to ask not "why is organic food so expensive," but "why is conventional food so cheap?" According to the USDA Economic Research Service, American's spend 9.9 percent of their disposable income on food- the lowest percentage anywhere in the world. Twenty years ago, the number was closer to 12% and in the years after World War II that number was closer to 20 percent. At the same time the farmer's share of the food dollar has fallen steadily, from 41 cents per dollar in 1950 to about 20 cents today.
There are also costs not included in the store price of conventional food. Conventional ag subsidies, paid for by our tax dollars, were $261.9 billion dollars between 1990 and 2010 according to the Environmental Working Group. The price of conventional food also does not factor in environmental and human health costs- costs that are shifted to all of us in other ways.
Facts: There are three primary reasons organic food is more expensive:
- Synthetic fertilizers and many pesticides are time and labor savers. These are the primary reasons that conventional farmers use them- they reduce the cost of production. Organic farmers substitute labor, management, observation, and time for these chemicals- which increases the cost of production, but benefits the environment, human health, and quality of life.
- Organic farmers must be certified by a 3rd party. The organic certification process costs money, but maintains the integrity and trust of organic foods.
- Organic farmers deserve a sustainable price for their efforts. The higher price of organic food helps to ensure that farmers stay in business.
Message: Organic Food is Worth the Extra Cost
- Organic food is worth the additional price because organic farmers make the extra effort to produce high quality food while protecting the environment.
- Organic food is priced fairly, because farmers deserve to make a sustainable living.
- Organic farmers are not subsidized with tax payer dollars to offset low prices.
- Organic certification costs money, but provides the consumer with the assurance that the food they buy has met rigorous standards of production and verification.
Taking Back the Message- What You Should Be Saying About Organic
Be Careful with "Organic is Not" Statements
It is very easy (and common) to define organic by using "nots."
- Organic farmers do not use pesticides.
- Organic farmers do not use antibiotics.
- Organic farmers do not use hormones.
- Organic farmers do not deplete the soil.
- Organic farmers do not use genetically modified organisms.
The problem with these types of statements is that they are absolutes that can be challenged; they also tell us nothing about "why" these things are important. Organic antagonists use absolute statements against us.
For example, "organic farmers do not use pesticides" is not true. We do use a limited number of approved natural, and even a few synthetic products that are on the National List. We can't even say things like "do not use toxic pesticides" (all pesticides are toxic to some degree). We could, and some marketers do say, "do not use persistent synthetic pesticides." While this is a true statement, it actually brings up more questions than it answers. You can see the problem with absolute, negative statements- you can back yourself into a corner quickly and such statements never tell you "why."
Use More "Organic is and Why" Statements
State the benefit of organic production and why it is important to you. This is highly effective, personal, and true.
"My herd is healthier since I converted to organic production. As my soils have improved and the quality of my feed has improved, my animals rarely get sick and I almost never call the vet."
"My crop production is very good now that my soils have been improved through cover cropping, crop rotations, and compost fertilization."
"Our family's quality of life has improved. Organic farming allows us to stay in business and do the right thing for the land at the same time."
"Organic farming is a holistic system- everything we do is connected and carefully planned so we remain sustainable economically and environmentally."
"Since we stopped using all of the chemicals, we see a lot more wildlife diversity on our farm."
"I like farming in harmony with nature. Since we stopped using herbicides the earthworm population has really increased, which has really helped improve my soils."
"My organic farm is inspected every year. This helps build trust with the organic consumer."
"I was worried about weeds at first, but I have found that a combination of cultivation, crop rotation and cover crops keeps them under control and I like not using herbicides."
"I can't use antibiotics but that is not a problem. My animals stay healthy by going outside, exercising, eating organic feeds and if needed, there are natural options to antibiotics that work for me."
Talk About Organic as a System- Unique to Each Farm
From 205.2 Terms defined National Organic Standards:
"Organic Production: " A production system that is managed…to respond to site-specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity."
This is an excellent description, and we can use it to form a number of positive messages:
- Every organic farm has a unique farm plan- one that takes into consideration the specific conditions that exist on that farm.
- As an organic farmer, I am required and committed to protecting the environment while producing high quality, safe food.
- Organic farming is a system that relies on cultural, biological and mechanical practices to protect the soil and prevent pests rather than chemical inputs.
We tend to focus a lot on the National Organic Standards and how every organic farmer must follow the same rules. This uniformity is important, but we need to talk more frequently about the flexibility that each farmer has to create a unique and appropriate Organic System Plan. Every farm is different and every farm has its own plan. Personalize your message. Here are a few ideas on how to incorporate this into a discussion or interview.
"My farm is quite hilly, so my Organic Farm Plan includes erosion control strategies like contour strips, permanent grass waterways, terraces, and cover crops."
"We have a trout stream on our farm, and our Organic Farm Plan protects this valuable resource. We fence out the cattle and have installed stream crossings so we can move our animals and equipment back and forth with minimal disturbance."
"We minimize our need for pest control inputs by protecting wild areas, planting native flowering plants and installing bird houses. By encouraging the natural predators of pests, we can reduce or eliminate the need for other types of pest control."
"Our crop rotation plan includes row crops, cover crops, small grains, and hay. This combination improves the soil and breaks pest and weed cycles."
"The size of our herd is carefully matched to our farm size. We can produce our own feed and the herd produces the manure to fertilize the crops and pastures- a sustainable system."
"We prevent illness in our animals by following a preventative health plan which includes vaccinations, natural mineral supplements, aloe vera, and other herbs. Healthy animals are much less likely to get sick."
The Final Message
Keep your comments positive and do not criticize conventional farmers, most of them are trying hard to do what's right for their families and farms too. We have too many good things to highlight about organic agriculture. An upbeat, personal and honest message from you will resonate with consumers and be much more likely to convince skeptics.
Resources for More Good News Information
- 6 Myths Busted by Organic in 2011- Organic Trade Association http://www.ota.com/organic/standards/Organic-Mythbusters.html
- Food Facts- Organic Trade Association http://www.ota.com/organic/mt/food.html
- Why the Organic Haters are Dead Wrong- Rodale http://www.rodale.com/organic-myths
- The Organic Center http://www.organic-center.org/
- In Defense of Organic- Grist http://grist.org/organic-food/2011-07-21-in-defense-of-organic/
- The Environmental Working Group http://www.ewg.org/
Joe Pedretti is the MOSES Organic Education Specialist. he can be reached at email@example.com. This article will soon be available as a MOSES fact sheet and as an online article. Check out both soon at www.mosesorganic.org and search on "Good News."
News from MOSES
Happy February to one and all,
As I write coworkers are scurrying up and down the hall here at the MOSES office, lugging boxes in anticipation of packing the truck for La Crosse for the 23rd annual MOSES Organic Farming Conference. Most of you will receive this issue after the conference- if you came, I hope that you have lots of great memories and new information to think about. If you missed this year, I hope that you can join this great event next year.
In this issue we are doing something we haven't done before- printing an extremely long article by MOSES Outreach Specialist Joe Pedretti. We generally try to bring you a broad diversity of informational topics in the Organic Broadcaster. But, when Joe sent me his article on the important topic of "Spreading the Good News" I felt it justified the six plus pages that it takes up. Joe made a presentation to MOSES staff about this issue late in the fall, and did such a great job that we asked him to write the topic up for a Broadcaster article, which could then be put on the web and turned into a fact sheet. We all hear things every week that are anti-organic. Rather than fuel those fires, Joe has several great suggestions of what you can say to support and highlight the positive aspects of organic- something we hope all of you will feel comfortable doing after you read Joe's great article.
I recently made a trip out to the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) conference to speak as a part of our Fearless Farm Finances project. PASA is a membership organization with a mission similar to that of MOSES. It was fun to run around the conference (which at 2,200 attendees is a little smaller than ours) as a participant. One powerful experience was seeing how many people knew of MOSES and our work. It is clear that we are well respected, even outside our immediate region. What a great honor to be known for our good work both near and far.
Organic Broadcaster Editor
Newly available on the MOSES website is the 2011 Annual Report. You can view or download a copy at http://www.mosesorganic.org/annualreports.html.
MOSES has been growing in the past several years, and 2011 was no exception. Expansion of current programs and initiation of new programs keep eight full-time (soon to be nine) and four part-time, seasonal staff very busy.
In the January - February issue of the Organic Broadcaster we offered a full review of all of the MOSES programs, and so we won't go over them again here, but will talk about a few 2011 highlights, particularly our funding base.
In November, 2011 the board of directors approved a revised mission statement for the organization. The new mission reads: MOSES educates, inspires, and empowers farmers to thrive in a sustainable, organic system of agriculture." An accompanying vision statement drives the mission: "MOSES envisions a world where all agriculture is organic and sustainable."
Strong support from funders and our community allows the organization to continue to thrive, even in the challenging economic environment. With a FY 2010-2011 (September 1 to August 31) budget of over $1.2 million, we are unique among non-profits in having a very diversified income stream.
Almost 50 percent of our income comes from the category of "programs," which is primarily our annual Conference and related activities. Twenty seven percent of our income is from numerous foundations, generally for the support of specialized projects, such as the Mentor project, Grow Organic activities, and the Young Organic Stewards program.
Another 11 percent of our support this last year was from government grants. This number is high in this fiscal year, we have received strong support from the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program and the USDA Risk Management Agency for two projects: the Farm Financial Management project and the Young Organic Stewards program.
Our private donors contribute about seven percent of our funding, book and sign sales are about five percent and miscellaneous/general makes up the remaining two percent.
The diversity and breadth of this funding base allows MOSES to be responsive and resilient in serving the needs of our constituents. For more information on MOSES and our activities, please see the 2011 annual report at http://www.mosesorganic.org/annualreports.html.
Inside Organics: Here We Go Again….it's Time to Discuss the Farm Bill
by Harriet Behar
I can understand that it might be difficult for farmers whose production or marketing strategies fall into the organic, sustainable, or local categories to consider the U.S. Farm Bill as an important issue they should care about. However, whether you believe taxpayer dollars help or hinder the advancement of sustainable agriculture, there are still reasons you should be paying attention and talking to your congressional representatives about what is important to you. Believe it or not, a handwritten letter or personal phone call to either the Washington DC office or district office of your Representative or Senator can have a large impact on how they vote on the floor. Constituents who express a passion and describe local benefits resulting from congressional action can, at times, overcome the message of expensive lobbyists. I have personally seen this happen.
Even though organic and sustainable farmers are still only a small percentage of farmers in America, we are the fastest growing food production segment, and our voice and opinions are important when deciding our country's future. Since the farm bill comes around only every five-or-so years, now is the moment to influence agricultural land use and food policies as well as monetary appropriations for the next half decade.
Farm Bill 101
Each farm bill is made up of "titles" which deal with specific areas, such as commodity price and income supports, farm credit, domestic and international trade, environmental conservation, research, rural development, energy, food programs (food stamps, school lunches and nutrition programs) and more. There are parts of each of these that affect the economic viability of organic operations, as well as policies that encourage research or crop insurance that serve the needs of organic producers. In the 2008 farm bill, or the Food, Energy and Conservation Act, organic and sustainable farmers made progress in receiving recognition and dollars in a variety of areas. With government budget cutting, agriculture programs have already taken many deep cuts. The question we need to discuss as we look into the future is, How much more should be cut and where?
Organic Certification Cost Share
All organic farmers watch the cost of organic certification go up every year. Some of this is just the cost of doing business, but a lot of the cost comes from certification agencies passing to us the cost of USDA accreditation audits. The organic certification cost share was originally put in place recognizing that organic operators should not have to pay the full cost of the USDA's certifier accreditation program. In effect, cost share refunds some of the certification money back to operators. Some in congress do not like this program, and want to see it go away. If you have participated in this program or believe that the monetary burden for overseeing the regulations should not fall on the shoulders of organic farmers, you need to tell your representative that this small program is important and should be continued.
Title 2 of the farm bill focuses on farmland management practices that encourage environmental stewardship. The Natural Resources Conservation Service oversees many of the programs under this title, and organic producers have used NRCS expertise and EQIP cost share dollars to improve their working lands. Many organic dairy farmers who needed to increase pasture as required by recent National Organic Program regulation changes worked with the NRCS to design and put in rotational grazing paddocks, watering systems, animal walkways, and more. Organic vegetable growers used NRCS cost share dollars to put up hoophouses to extend growing seasons, and grow produce where weeds and pests can be better managed. These long-term improvements are not only beneficial to the farmers who used these programs, but to the entire regional ecosystem, by protecting and enhancing soil and water quality. Both EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), have already weathered some cuts and are targeted in the future for more than their fair share of reductions. Farmers who have found benefits under EQIP or CSP, or those considering these programs, should call their representatives and tell them how important CSP and EQIP are for the long-term economic and environmental health of your farm. The protection of our soils and water resources must be a top priority, or we will not have a thriving agricultural economy in the future.
A recent review of plant breeding grants illustrates that the vast majority of research dollars have been funneled into projects resulting in genetically modified patented seeds. Public dollars should result in plant and animal breeds that are available to the general public, and not plants breeds that are given to private companies who then gain private profits from these public dollars. The upcoming farm bill could designate a clear percentage of dollars dedicated to publically available plant breeds, as well as organic seed breeding. These are important to build the genetic diversity we need as climate extremes and population growth present us with production challenges. It is only fair to have land grant universities provide research that is available to all, rather than to only a few large seed companies. Dollars should also be clearly mandated for research to improve organic, low-input systems. The findings from these projects are useful to all farmers, as we try to move away from fossil fuels as the basis of American agriculture. Your representative should learn from you how important redirected research dollars are to your farm's economic viability.
Commodity Crop Subsidies and Crop Insurance
Title 1 addresses commodity crop subsidy payments, and this area is expected to see cuts this year, primarily due to strong conventional commodity crop prices. Title 12 is focused on crop insurance and disaster relief, and this area is being promoted by large conventional farm organizations as the place to put dollars for the "farm safety net." Organic farmers and those who grow specialty crops, such as vegetables, have had difficulty accessing affordable and fair crop insurance in the past, and reform is needed. There is no reason that an organic farmer should pay an extra fee just because they farm organically, and then only receive conventional price when hail causes a crop failure. There are some revenue-based crop insurance programs, which could be improved to level the playing field between nonorganic and organic producers. As proposals develop, MOSES and others organizations will provide current details so you can discuss these proposals with your representatives.
The local food movement has brought the general public into the discussion of farm policy, with direct–to-consumer sales helping farmers with their bottom line, as well as providing fresh and nutritious foods to our neighbors. A new bill, titled the Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act (Senate 1773 and House 3286) builds upon current activities and encourages infrastructure that supports local food production. This new bill could use some grassroots support, so please take the time to contact your representative and tell them that they should "sign-on" to this bill.
As the average age of farmers in the United States continues to rise, we need more young people to enter agriculture as a viable career. Access to land, credit, crop insurance, and help with value-added businesses are all areas that are essential to getting beginning farmers off to a good start. In addition, many military veterans are considering farming as their next career, bringing their strong work ethic and enthusiasm for a challenge to a life in agriculture. The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2011 (Senate 1850 and House 3236) addresses the needs of this important sector of the rural community. Contact your representative and let them know how important it is for you and your community to provide tools and opportunities for young and beginning farmers.
If Not You, Then Who?
It does not matter if you are of the same party as your representative, if you agree with their positions, or if you are a republican, democrat, or independent. What does matter is that we all take some time to influence the direction of food production in America. Organic agriculture is the good news, and offers positive change for our country and our future. Sharing your experience, passion and commitment to organic agriculture with your representatives can make a difference in what direction we take for the next decade. I have personally made these calls and have seen how organic agriculture gains momentum when our representatives understand our issues and needs. Watch for MOSES action alerts in your email, and take the time to make a call, or talk to your representative when they are home from D.C., about issues that are important to organic farmers. Get your family, friends and customers to do the same. You won't regret it.
Check the MOSES policy page for Farm Bill and policy updates. http://www.mosesorganic.org/policy.html
Harriet Behar is the MOSES Organic Outreach Specialist. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Book Review: Fearless Farm Finances: Farm Financial Management Demystified
by Jody Padgham, Paul Dietmann, Craig Chase and Chris Blanchard
Reviewed by Jody Padgham
The book Fearless Farm Finances: Farm Financial Management Demystified, newly published in February 2012, is now available to help you learn tools and techniques for setting up and improving your farm financial management.
I'm sure that it is bad form to "review" your own book, and so I won't put any claims to doing an impartial analysis here. We at MOSES are so thrilled to be presenting this new book to the world, that I will instead consider this piece a celebration of that accomplishment.
At a meeting in early 2009 the MOSES board of directors identified key issues that appeared to be keeping sustainable and organic farmers from succeeding. High on the list was an understanding of how to manage the financial aspects of a farm: how to set up good record keeping systems, how to make financial decisions, how to know if the farm is making money, how to price correctly, how to plan for change. Walking away from that meeting, myself and two board members at the time, Paul Dietmann and Chris Blanchard, chatted about what we could do to help. "We could write a book," I said, and thus Fearless Farm Finances was born.
Supported with funding from the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, the writing team (myself, Paul, Chris, and Dr. Craig Chase of Iowa State University) met several times to discuss the book content, tone, flow, and organization. We then spent a year and a half writing.
Each author contributed pieces based on their background and expertise. Chris and I each own and manage farms- his large and complex, mine a much smaller and simpler operation. As the MOSES financial manager, I also have diverse expertise in recordkeeping and bookkeeping systems. Chris prides himself in his systems design, including planning, budgeting, and monitoring. Paul brought his years of experience counseling hundreds (if not thousands!) of farmers about their financial situations and profitability. Sadly, Paul also brought to the table his deep experience in helping farms that were in crisis. Craig contributed his background in small farm research and numbers compilation, the design and function of useful tools, such as enterprise analysis, and years of experience in presenting the material to farmers in educational settings. We brought a powerful team to the subject, and as a result offer comprehensive coverage of all sides of the topic.
In setting up the book I had one primary goal- to bridge the gap between the useful but unconnected tools and resources available through institutions such as Extension, and the casual story telling in "my farm success story" books. I wanted to talk about successful financial management in a simple and accessible way, leaving the reader with a solid understanding of what to do when, and a collection of useful tools to draw on. The result, in 264 pages, is in an easy to read conversational style.
We arranged the book with something for everyone- from things to think about before you set up a farm, to the complexities of generating and using financial ratios to make decisions based on your own data. Beginners may be confused by the ratios, and those with years of experience will skip the "setting up" discussions, but each group will find a vast array of information that will be useful to them. We offer examples from many types of farms, from diversified vegetable operations to dairies, sheep, and poultry operations, and tried to take any product specialization out of the discussion so that concepts are universal.
One of the highlights of the book for me was interviewing and writing about the dozen farmers who contributed their ideas and strategies on farm financial management through "From the Farmer" tips. You can read in a paragraph that it is a good idea to use a computer program to organize your numbers, but viewing the thoughts of farmers Carmen Fernholz, Jackie Hoch, or Hans Breitenmoser leaves an even more persuasive impression. I am pleased at how much detailed information our farmer contributors were willing to share about their financial systems.
Another very valuable tool in the book is the inclusion of a set of sample farm data from a mythical dairy farmer, appropriately named "Otto B. Organic." These data, created and compiled using the "FinPack" system offered by the University of MN Center for Farm Financial Management, allow readers to see exactly how numbers are generated and reported, and how they relate to each other in standardized financial statements and ratios.
The enterprise analysis and partial budgeting sections offer numerous examples to show the diversity of ways that these tools can be used. Many use generalized numbers collected by Craig from Iowa farms, which can be useful as "benchmarks" to compare to your own farm data.
Wanting to steer readers toward the use of a computer bookkeeping system, we chose to highlight the workings of the bookkeeping program QuickBooks, as it is the one most widely used by farmers today, and one that both Chris and I use. Chapters of the book highlighting setting up recordkeeping systems, data collection, budgeting, and monitoring each offer numerous QuickBooks examples and tips, including screen shots of actual computer windows. Those not using computer bookkeeping systems will still get a lot out of the book, but a computer system vastly increases ease in generating reports and doing analysis, and so is encouraged.
We close the book with a glossary and comprehensive resource section. The resources point you to a broad diversity of tools, many offered by Extension, that you should be better equipped to use once you have read the book. The book is supported by a website that offers hotlinks and updates for resources at http://www.mosesorganic.org/farmfinances.html.
The authors have travelled around the country in the past few months, giving presentations to farmers on the content we have collected. Evaluations have been highly positive, with a lot of excitement generated about the topics offered. A participant referred to a draft copy of the book in a follow-up evaluation: "This is an invaluable resource to farmers at all levels of experience. What a wonderful creation...thanks." There is an Organic University course based on the book topics scheduled for Thursday, February 23 in La Crosse, check with MOSES to see if there is still room for walkin participants.
Fully indexed and priced at a reasonable $19.95 (with additional WI tax and shipping, as appropriate) Fearless Farm Finances is a must-have book for every farm. Whether you are in the planning stage or the retirement stage, there will be something of value for you in this book. We have done our best to demystify farm financial management, and hope that after reading this book you can approach your farm's finances fearlessly!
Copies of Fearless Farm Finances will be available at the MOSES Organic Farming Conference Book Store, and are also available at our online book store at www.mosesorganic.org, or by calling MOSES at 715-778-5775 and asking for an order form. Bulk discounts are available for resellers and those using the book in educational programming. For more information contact me at email@example.com.
Proof Positive: Reducing Heat Stress and Insect Pressure in Crops Using Kaolin Clay (Surround WP)
by Jaime C. Piñero, Ph.D.
Based on the extreme heat and drought that most farmers experienced in recent years in many areas of the Midwest, this article discusses the advantages of using kaolin clay to protect plants against excessive heat and sun radiation while reducing insect pressure. One trade marked product is Surround WP, an OMRI-approved product that has both sticking and spreading agents incorporated.
What is Kaolin Clay?
Kaolin is a naturally occurring clay resulting from weathering of aluminous minerals, such as feldspar with kaolinite as its principal constituent. Kaolin is a common mineral, considered "generally regarded as safe" by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It is used as an anti-caking agent in processed foods and an additive to cosmetics, toiletries, and health products. It is also used as an "inert" carrier in some pesticides, and enhances the performance of some microbial products. Kaolin is ground and processed further to reach a uniform particle size for application as a plant protectant. Applied in suspension in water, kaolin produces a dry white film layer of interlocking microscopic particles on the surface of leaves, stems, and fruit after evaporation of the water.
How Does Kaolin Work?
This material has several modes of activity. According to the manufacturer, the principal use of Surround WP is to reduce heat stress; thus, the use of Surround WP can increase overall fruit yields in regions with high light and temperature levels because Surround's specially engineered kaolin particles reflect harmful infrared and ultraviolet radiation. With less radiation and cooler fruit there is less sunburn damage. However, kaolin also acts as a physical barrier preventing insects from reaching vulnerable plant tissue. It acts as a repellent by creating an unsuitable surface for feeding or egg-laying. The uniform white film may also disrupt the insect's host finding capability by masking the color of the plant tissue. Furthermore, particles of kaolin act as an irritant to the insect. After landing on a treated surface, particles of kaolin break off and attach to the insect's body triggering an excessive grooming response that distracts the pest.
Formulation and Application Guidelines
Kaolin clay is available as a wettable powder (i.e., Surround WP) to be mixed with water. Application can be made with most commercially available spray equipment, but large amounts of water are required. To prevent caking, it is suggested that the material be added while mechanical agitation is running, or to first completely mix the needed amount in a small amount of water before filling up the tank to the recommended volume. It may be tank-mixed with soaps, and most pesticides, but not copper, sulfur, or Bordeaux mixtures. Precipitation, curdling, uneven film formation or changes in viscosity are signs of incompatibility. Periodic shaking is recommended for a backpack sprayer or use of an automatic agitation mechanism for larger equipment in order to keep the material suspended in water. Efficacy is only successfully achieved with thorough coverage. Care should be taken to cover the entire surface of the crop. Hydraulic sprayers at full dilution apply a better covering than mist blowers using concentrated sprays.
Reentry interval (REI) and pre-harvest interval (PHI): 4 hour REI. May be applied up to the day of harvest.
Case Study – Melon
Melon field studies and years of commercial use in melons show Surround WP applied close to harvest can dramatically reduce sunburn, thereby boosting marketable yields. If applied throughout the season, Surround has been shown to increase melon size and brix, and cause more uniform ripening. For reducing sunburn damage to melons, Surround should be applied at 50 lbs/per acre prior to the occurance of sunburn-causing conditions. Make one to two applications seven days apart to provide thorough coverage of the plant and fruit. Surround can also suppress cucumber beetle and grasshoppers on melons. To be effective, Surround must be used in a preventive program and should be sprayed on plants before insects appear.
Case Study - Cucumber and Eggplant
In 2010 research aimed at investigating the effectiveness of kaolin clay at reducing flea beetle numbers and damage to young eggplants and cucumber beetle numbers in young cucumber plants was conducted by Dr. Jaime Piñero at Lincoln University Carver Farm. Four varieties of eggplants were used for the first study. For each variety, half of the plants (8 inches tall) were treated with Surround WP formulated at 4% and the other half was left untreated. Damage by flea beetles was recorded every day for a 3-day period. Substantial decreases in the numbers of flea beetles were recorded in plants treated with Surround WP compared with untreated plants, although some differences were noted amonst eggplant cultivars. In cucumber, one application of Surround WP resulted in significant reductions in the numbers of striped and spotted cucumber beetles for up to a 10 day period in the absence of rain. The four graphs above show the numbers of spotted and striped cucumber beetles in Surround-treated and untreated cucumber plants for a 96-hour (4 day) interval. Insects were counted daily at 06:00 AM, when cool temperatures allowed insects to be counted.
Case Study – Tomato
Excessive heat can stress the entire tomato plant, causing irreversible damage to plant function or development. Temperatures higher than 90 to 95°F can interfere with pollination and fertilization, contributing to poor fruit set. Higher temperatures may result in blossom and fruit drop or oddly shaped fruit. Heat also affects fruit color, as lycopenes and carotenes are not synthesized above 86°F. High daytime temperatures can increase evaporation – resulting in high transpiration rates and poor water uptake – resulting in reduced plant vigor. This can lead to early canopy collapse, ultimately exposing the fruit to more heat and solar radiation – and increasing the potential for damage. In trials where temperatures regularly exceeded 90 to 95°F, Surround WP reduced the temperature of treated tomato leaves by 9°F. The engineered particles in Surround do not inhibit carbon dioxide uptake in leaves. Therefore by reducing plant temperatures Surround increases net photosynthesis. Trials where Surround was used season-long significantly decreased the proportion of tomatoes that had sunburn and increased tomato weights and yields (see two figures to the below).
Case Study - Apple
In experiments conducted in two apple orchards in Missouri, researchers evaluated the effectiveness of Surround WP against important insect pests of apple such as plum curculio and red-banded leafroller. Surround WP was successful at suppressing plum curculio damage to fruits, red-banded leafroller damage to leaves (but not consistently to fruits), and flyspeck and sooty blotch diseases on fruits, but was not consistently effective against cedar apple rust. Overall grade of apple was improved with applications of Surround WP. Generally, higher rates and more frequent applications resulted in better pest suppression. The particle film coating also reduced plant stress during extreme temperature conditions. Altogether, these results suggest that kaolin-based particle films have potential applications in integrated management of apple pests, while providing some physiological benefits to the plants. Organic farmers have reported good results in apple orchards.
Case Study – Strawberry
Researchers in Florida reported that the application of Surround WP on strawberry foliage the following morning after either 6 or 8 days of sprinkler irrigation had the same plant establishment, plant canopy diameter, and early fruit weight as the 10-day irrigated control. Application of Surround WP resulted in a 40% reduction of establishment irrigation volumes, which might represent major water savings for strawberry production in West Central Florida. The white film of kaolin clay dissipated within three to five weeks, and it did not show reduction in plant growth, flowering, and yields.
Some Considerations for Applications of Surround WP
According to the manufacturer, fruits and vegetables that are to be marketed fresh but have a white film of Surround remaining at harvest may be washed to remove the film. Though Surround is designed to have moderate adhesion to fruit surfaces the film is normally removed with common washing techniques found in packinghouses. Field-packed fruit that will not be washed may be applied with Surround early in the season for heat stress. The sprays should be discontinued when the fruit are still small. The remaining film coating will eventually weather off the fruit from rain and wind attrition. This attrition will be more pronounced in rainy climates. Note however, that when Surround applications are discontinued and the crop begins to lose its protective coating, sunburn protection will be lost.
Post-harvest techniques for washing Surround-treated fruits and vegetables are available at http://www.novasource.com/english/ag-products/Documents/WashGuide.pdf and
Jaime C. Piñero, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor / State IPM Specialist, Cooperative Research and Extension, Lincoln University of Missouri, Jefferson City, MO 65102.
The Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program at Lincoln University aims at developing (through research) and promoting (through Extension activities) affordable alternative insect pest management strategies to combat insect pests of vegetable crops in Missouri. Emphasis is being made to provide organic farmers with research-based information on effective and environmentally friendly IPM tactics.
Kinder, Gentler Bulls?
by Francis Thicke
When I returned to dairy farming in 1992, I had five consecutive Jersey bulls that became dangerously aggressive by two years of age. One of those bulls became so aggressive that the only way I was able to get him into the trailer to take him to market was to have him chase me in. I then ran to the front of the open-top trailer, scrambled over the side rails, ran around behind the trailer and slammed the gate shut behind him. (Don't try this at home.)
That prompted me to think that there must be a better way. I wondered if it was nature or nurture that was causing the bulls to become so aggressive.
I thought it very interesting that although Jersey cows tend to be the most docile of the dairy breeds, Jersey bulls tend to be the most aggressive of the dairy breeds. This inverse behavioral relationship seems to carry over into beef cattle. Beef cows are generally more aggressive than dairy cows, but beef bulls tend to be less aggressive than dairy bulls. Is that due to nature or nurture?
I had read Rudolf Steiner's contention that animals have an emotional body, which made me wonder if, perhaps, the lack of natural emotional development could be related to the aggressive behavior of bulls. I also remembered the results of experiments with rhesus monkeys in the 1960s in which it was found that if the monkeys were taken away from their mothers at birth, they became neurotic and aggressive.
Realizing that beef bulls are usually raised by their mothers and dairy bulls are usually taken from their mothers at birth, I thought it would be worthwhile to try allowing breeding bulls to be raised by their mothers, to see if that affected their "psychcowlogy." To my surprise and satisfaction, bull after bull raised by its mother and used as a herd sire was manageable up until the time I had to remove him from the herd to prevent inbreeding, at four or five years of age.
I wouldn't say that mother-trained bulls were completely docile. Bulls are by nature territorial and inclined to try to protect their herd from any perceived threat. However, although some of these bulls might snort or otherwise let me know if I've encroached on their territory, none of them ever showed signs that they were about to attack me.
Unfortunately, this "experiment" over time has not been a controlled experiment that I could analyze statistically to determine the probability that the effect was due to random chance, or if the differences in behavior were due to a real effect from the differences in how the bulls were raised. However, after observing better dispositions in so many bulls raised by their mothers, it seems to me that this is likely a real effect. This especially hit home for me when, after having had four or five well behaved bulls raised by their mothers, I had a bull – raised in a group pen with heifers instead of with its mother – that promptly threw me over a feed bunk when it turned two years of age.
I am thinking that if my observations were just circumstantial evidence rather than a real effect, it is rather strong circumstantial evidence. As Henry David Thoreau once said back in the days when there was no test to determine if farmers had diluted milk with water, "Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in your milk."
I have mentioned my experience with bulls to several animal scientists over the years, hoping they might become interested in conducting a controlled experiment, in which the results could be tested for statistical significance and published in a scientific journal. I have been thinking that if this could be verified as a real effect, dairy farmers would probably more widely use breeding bulls raised by their mothers, which could save the lives of some of the farmers who are killed each year by dairy bulls. But, for some reason unknown to me, the animal scientists I have talked to have been content to merely theorize about why dam-raised sires might or might not have a better disposition, rather than consider undertaking an experiment to test if this is a real effect. I expect a university animal scientist would be happy to do the controlled experiment if someone came up with funding for it.
If you are a dairy farmer who uses herd sires for breeding cows, I would suggest that you try letting one or more of your breeding bulls be raised by its mother to see if you have the same experience I have been having. Let me know how it works for you. firstname.lastname@example.org.
How You Handle a Bull Makes a Difference
Some years ago I sold a breeding bull to another dairy farmer, and when he came to pick up the bull he asked if the bull was "rock trained." I replied that I didn't know what that meant. He explained that he throws rocks at his bull to chase the bull into a corner of the yard. I suggested that might not be a good idea. It is the nature of a bull to try to become the dominant protector of the herd. If you try to dominate a bull, the bull will naturally look for an opportunity to establish dominance by subduing you. (And from experience I can tell you that a bull can come after you with unimaginable speed and power.)
I always let a bull think he is "big man on campus." If he approaches me for any reason, I walk away, just as a subdued bull would. That confirms for the bull that he is dominant and I am no threat to him. Just as a bull does not waste his time and energy beating up a bull he has subdued and poses no threat to him, the bull will be very much less likely to be aggressive toward you if you exhibit submission to him.
I avoid eye contact with a bull, because bulls can interpret eye contact as a challenge. However, I always try to keep an awareness of where the bull is when I'm out among a herd of cows, and keep him in my peripheral vision. Always keep one or more cows between you and the bull. Even an aggressive bull who is trying to show dominance over you will become frustrated and give it up if you keep weaving behind cows as he approaches.
Even though you can avoid lots of problems by letting a bull feel he is dominant, it is always good to have an "ace up your sleeve." For me, that is to carry a couple of 4-ft fiberglass fenceposts in my hands. Not only do they work well to move cows by rattling them together, but if a bull unpredictably threatens you, a quick fencepost slap on the bull's nose from you (the submissive guy) will completely startle and stop him, and set him back to reassess the situation. Obviously, you can't use that a lot of times because it changes the dynamics of the previous dominant/submissive role the bull and you have been playing. Once it turns into a struggle for dominance between you and the bull, it is time to ship the bull.
There always will be times when it is necessary to move a bull, whether the bull is aggressive or not. One of the quickest ways to make a bull more aggressive is to try to move him by force. The best way to move a bull is to set up a situation where by choice he moves where you want him to go. He will normally move readily with a herd, so if you have to move him to a new group of animals in a new pasture, take a group of cows with him and move the cows. He will normally follow right along. When you try to move a bull by himself, he will often turn and face you and only back up under extreme pressure. That is dangerous, not only for the immediate situation, but for increasing the future aggressiveness of the bull.
One technique for moving bulls which we have found very effective is to hold a length of polywire (that can be reeled longer or shorter) between two people who walk forward. If the bull is trained to an electric fence, he will readily move ahead of the fake electric wire. A good feature of this technique is that the bull will see the wire as the threat, not you, so he doesn't tend to interpret this as you threatening his dominance. We have found this technique to work very well for moving a bull (or cows) greater distances (especially if he has gotten out) by holding the polywire between two 4-wheelers.
Herd bulls can work well on a grazing dairy farm, but it is always good to be cautious around them. Good bull-handling procedures – and possibly having bulls raised by their mothers – can make bulls safer to work with.
Francis Thicke farms with his wife Susan near Fairfield, IA. They are the 2012 MOSES Organic Farmer of the Year.
Upper Midwest Organic Grains and Feedstuffs Report
Organic Agriculture in Wisconsin 2012 Status Report
Wisconsin boasts the second largest number of organic farms in the U.S., ranks first among the states for the number of organic dairy and beef farms, and is third in the nation for organic vegetable farms. A new report—Organic Agriculture in Wisconsin: 2012 Status Report—provides a wealth of information on the Wisconsin's organic industry. Pick one up free of charge at the Organic Farming Conference, at the MOSES booth or at the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems booth in the exhibit hall. Copies are also available for download at www.cias.wisc.edu
FSA Loan Program Expanded
USDA's Farm Service Agency announced expanded loan opportunities for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, and a new Land Contract Guarantee Program. For more information contact local FSA County Offices. A website to locate the closest FSA County Office: http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app.
Cover Crops Case Study Available
The WI Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems has posted a case study of a WI farmer who has been growing cover crops on his cash grain farm for 20 years. http://www.cias.wisc.edu/crops-and-livestock/cover-crop-case-studies-gary-sommers-farm/
Online Tool for Creating a Food Safety Plan
A new online tool helps farms of all sizes answer questions in 11 areas of food safety risk management, and then creates their plan. The tool is designed for use by small to mid-scale fruit and vegetable growers and provides a full set of record keeping tools to document their food safety program and to provide training to employees. www.onfarmfoodsafety.org
Value-Added Producer Grant Recipients Announced
USDA has selected 298 recipients in 44 states and Puerto Rico to receive $40.2 million in business development assistance through the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program. A complete list of recipients is available at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/SupportDocuments/rd-vapg012012.pdf
Free Grants Advising
Michael Fields Agricultural Institute is providing a free grants advising service available to all farmers and rural, ag-related entrepreneurs in WI, and to all minority or women-owned or managed farms in the Midwest. MFAI's grants advisor can help you apply to grant, loan, and cost-share programs from states or federal sources of any federal or state agency to help you grow your ag-related business. The popular USDA Value-Added Producer Grant program is expected to announce its next grant deadline this month. To find out what programs exist, contact grants advisor, Deirdre Birmingham, at email@example.com or (608) 219-4279.
USDA Unveils New Plant Hardiness Zone Map
USDA has released a new version of its Plant Hardiness Zone Map. The new map offers a Geographic Information System (GIS)-based interactive format and a "find your zone by ZIP code" function. Zone boundaries in this edition of the map have shifted in many areas from the previous edition. Find the new map at http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/
Technical Bulletin on No-Till Management for Organic Systems Available Online
Rodale Institute recently posted a 16-page Technical Bulletin that offers information and resources for implementing an organic no-till system. The bulletin, based primarily on past project findings drawn from Rodale Institute research, provides details on a system that allows organic farmers to capture the benefits of no-till and conventional farmers to decrease or eliminate the need for herbicides. http://www.rodaleinstitute.org
Specialty Crop Grants Available
Federal Specialty Crop Block Grants are available to MN and WI fruit, vegetable and other specialty crop farmers. Grant projects may include outreach to increase consumers' nutritional knowledge about specialty crops, development of good agricultural practices, specialty crop research, development of new and improved seed varieties, and pest and disease control. Applications accepted through April 2 in WI and April 20 in MN. A list of eligible and ineligible commodities is at www.ams.usda.gov/scbgp. A grant manual is available at www.mda.state.mn.us/grants/grants/specialty.aspx. In MN direct questions to David Weinand, 651-201-6646, David.Weinand@state.mn.us. In WI go to http://datcp.wi.gov/Busienss/Grants_and_Financial_Aid/Specialty_Crops_Grants/ or contact Juli Speck at firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-224-5134.
Nominations Requested for WI Organic Advisory Council
The Wisconsin Organic Advisory Council is looking for people who care about the future of organic agriculture in WI and are willing to commit some time and energy to helping it grow. Applications are being accepted for four seats on the 12-member Council: an organic farmer, an organic business, an organic certifier, 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 give input on state and federal policy that affects organic agriculture. Three-year terms. Application at http://datcp.wi.gov/Farms/Organic_Farming/ or from Laura Paine, DATCP Organic Agriculture Specialist (608-224-5120; email@example.com). Applications due by March 19th.
2012 Non-GMO Sourcebook Available
Evergreen Publishing, Inc. announces publication of The 2012 Non-GMO Sourcebook, the world's only "farm to fork" directory of suppliers of non-genetically modified (non-GMO) products. In its 11th year of publication, this year's edition features more than 750 suppliers of non-GMO and organic products and related services. Order the print version for $27.95 by phone: 1-800-854-0586 or online at www.non-gmoreport.com.
United States and Canada Take Step Toward Organic Equivalency
U.S. organic dairy, beef, sheep, goat, and bison producers exporting products to Canada can now benefit from more streamlined trade. Canada now considers U.S. pasture requirements as equivalent to its standards for ruminant stocking rates, or the number of animals in a given area. This change reflects efforts by both countries to harmonize standards and move toward full equivalence. Products from non-ruminant animals, such as poultry and swine, must still verify that they meet the Canadian stocking rates for those species. More at http://www.ams.usda.gov
Grants/ Scholarships Available
Raising Organic Family Farms announces a second round of grants/scholarships for organic farmers and agriculture students. A total of $25,000 is available. Created by Lundberg Family Farms, the Raising Organic Family Farms program aids farmers engaged in, beginning or transitioning into organic farming, as well as students interested in sustainable agriculture programs. The program provides funds for small barriers like educational funding – such as conference registrations, classes and tuition – seed money, farm equipment or repairs. The Winter 2012 application is now available at RaisingOrganicFamilyFarms.com. The application deadline is March 16, 2012.
Conservation Reserve Program General Sign-up
The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers a four-week Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up from March 12 through April 6. CRP offers rental payments and cost-share assistance to agricultural producers to support environmentally sensitive land for conservation benefits. http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2012/02/0037.xml
U.S. Organic Cotton Acreage Up
The U.S. organic cotton market continues to grow, supported by consumer demand, price premiums, and new regulations that ease marketing restrictions for organic cotton products. A survey shows planted acres were up 36 percent, to 11,827 acres, in 2010. See the report 2010 and Preliminary 2011 U.S. Organic Cotton Production & Marketing Trends released by the Organic Trade Association. More at http://www.organicnewsroom.com/
MN Agriculture Research and Promotion Councils Seek Board Candidates
Four MN agriculture research and promotion councils are seeking candidates for their board elections. Positions are open on the board of directors for the Canola, Dry Edible Bean, Sunflower, and Potato Growers Research and Promotion Councils. Farmers interested in running for election must contact their respective commodity council by Thursday, April 5. Candidates should be producers of the commodity they represent, be active in the industry, knowledgeable about promotion initiatives, and interested in representing growers in their region. We encourage organic producers to apply. MN Canola Council, 651-638-9883. MN Dry Edible Bean Council, 218-334-6351, MN Sunflower Council, 701-328-5107. MN Potato Council, 218-773-1629.
Do you have something to buy or sell? Your classified ad will reach over 8,000 households in the print edition, and be available in both the pdf and html version available online. Go to the Organic Broadcaster website to submit an ad electronically.
For Sale: 3pt hitch; 2-man operated seeder or pumpkin planter $325.00. Don Schroeder. 920-526-3510.
For Sale: Buffalo farm equipment and parts, new and used/reconditioned. Check our prices and service. Hansgen Sales & Service, St. Charles, MN. 507-932-4219.
For Sale: Buffalo Cultivators and Rolling Stalk Choppers. 320-221-2266.
For Sale: Retiring sale: Ford 5-bottom plow, 15-foot digger,15-foot disc, 6-section steel drag 1H 400 planter, 6R rotary hoe, 4R cultivator, green chopper, 45' hay elevator, 50' elevator, Gehl blower. 920-326-3182.
For Sale: Holland 4-row Transplanter. $3500. Call 307-758-4488. firstname.lastname@example.org
For Sale: Red Dragon Spring Flaming Special. Vegetable Bed flamers, Row Crop flamers, Alfalfa flamers and Vineyard/Orchard flamers. There is no better way to kill weeds in organic crops. USDA approved for organic crops. Receive a 5% discount on equipment paid for by March 30th. Call Steve at 800-255-2469.
For Sale: 12 row JD FM cultivator. 641-220-3279.
For Sale: Used draft harnesses in very good condition. Also 2, 3, 4-horse eveners and neck yokes. Call 262-473-5375 or email@example.com Whitewater, WI.
For Sale: Yetter 3415 Rotary Hoe, 15-ft, good condition, $700 OBO. Hatzenbichler 600M 4-section tined-weeder, gently used, extra set of tines, $5,000 OBO. John Deere van Brunt FB137A grain drill WITH hydraulics, single disc, grass seed box, $600 OBO. Bush Hog post-hole digger, AG Model 2102, 9" and 12" augers, like new, $700 OBO. Call 608-862-3434.
For Sale: Eliminate hoeing! Two new Reggie-type single row eco-weeders. Require category I, 3-point, 2-person (tractor operator and weeder operator). $2,700 each or $5,000 for both. 712-830-5245.
For Sale: Twenty black Black Baldy yearlings, grass fed. Twenty 2011 calves, just weaned. David Williams. 712-299-5120.
For Sale: Twenty red and black 6-year-old ICO certified grass genetic Angus cows. Also twenty certified 500-600 lb. steers. NE. 308-380-3311 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For Sale: Ten big crossbred certified organic springing heifers due March and April. Pasture-raised from cows receiving limited amounts of grain. Missouri. $1550 each. 660-244-5858.
For Sale: Certified organic alfalfa clover baleage, 4x5 bales. G & G Farms, Pittsville, Wisconsin. 715-421-9956.
For Sale: Organic hay, round bales, quality tested, dry and sileage bales, trucking available. Caledonia, MN. Call 800-533-2215.
For Sale: Certified organic winter rye straw in 3X3X6 big square bales. 235 available. Call 507-383-7396.
For Sale: Excellent quality alfalfa baleage. 200 5X5 round bales. Tests available. Durand, WI. 715-672-4197.
For Sale: 1st and 2nd crop grass, alfalfa, clover mix hay, low potassium, in 3X3X7 big squares, shredded. 641-220-3279.
For Sale: MOSA certified 3X3X7 rectangular bales of organic alfalfa grass mix hay, 500 bales. Test results available. Alma, WI. 608-685-3345 or email@example.com
For Sale: Organic baleage and dry hay. Some tested. Round bales, no rain. Delivery available. Also barley grain. Call 715-873-4111.
For Sale: Custom grain and seed cleaning for seed. Feed and feed grade, small or big quantities. MOSA certified. Kevin Nuttleman, Bangor, Wisconsin. 608-633-1132.
For Sale: Open pollinated seed corn, MOSA certified. Wapsie Valley 85 day, MN 13 88 day, "J" Reids 90 day. 50 lb. bags. $89/bag. Rich Holman. 715-684-2488.
For Sale: Organic feed, wrapped and dry hay big bales, straw, corn, roasted soybeans. Can deliver. 608-574-2160.
For Sale: Certified organic seed. Food grade soybean varieties IA2020, IA2041, S2020, HP204; Blackturtle bean variety Zorro; Pinto bean variety Santa Fe; Soft white winter wheat variety Jupiter; Sort red winter wheat variety Red Devil. Organic Bean and Grain, Inc. Caro, MI. 989-673-6402. www.orbng.com
Help Wanted: Organic grain farm looking for a self-motivated individual. Experience operating and maintaining farm equipment a plus. Call 800-944-6535.
For Sale: Organic and locally grown vegetable seeds for the commercial grower and home gardener. Write for 2012 catalog. Ross and Supplies, E16254 Cty V, Hillsboro, WI 54634.
For Sale: Surplus insulated glass – perfect for greenhouses, solar homes, sunrooms or ag buildings. Also hardwood butcherblock 30"X100"X1-1/8" for sustainable countertops or bar tops. Oak, ash, cherry, maple, mahogany from $129. www.kissourglass.com or 715-639-3762 before 9 pm. Joe Bacon. Arctic Glass since 1979!
For Sale: Certified organic onion and sweet potato plants. Write for brochure. Ammon Stoltzfus, N5878 Papoose Creek Lane, Black River Falls, WI, 54615.
For Sale: LGD pups. Temperament-selected for guarding. Raised with organically-raised poultry, rabbits, goats and sheep. Well-socialized with humans. $250. Call Cherrie Nolden at 620-770-6162.
For Sale: Certified organic dairy, beef and pork farm, Chatsworth, IL. Large customer base: grocery stores, restaurants and retail farm store. Price includes 4BR home, 10.88 acres, building, livestock, equipment. Additional 40 acres available to lease. $410,000. www.certifiedorganic.blogspot.com 815-635-3414.
For Sale: Mulch/bedding - certified organic, light, easy to spread, breaks down well, builds soil, holds moisture, great poultry bedding. Call 608-516-6716.
For Sale: Dane County, 20 acres, chemical-free twenty years, oak savannah, hickory, pine, spruce, fir, apple pear, grapes berries, 3500 sq. ft. home, 1500 sq. ft. steel building, heat & electric, $575,000.00. firstname.lastname@example.org 608-628-6630.
For Sale: Certified organic farm in central Wisconsin, 40 acres, multiple outbuildings, greenhouses, plus 4 bdrm, 2 ½ bath house. Call 715-843-6029.
For Sale: Certified organic vegetable, herb and flower plants. Many varieties available. Our own compost-based potting mix with balanced nutrients. Custom trays for farmers. www.weststarfarm.com Call 608-239-7570.
For Sale: Premium quality worm castings. SFI test results available upon request. email@example.com. 715-339-4257.