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January 2014
Sweet Land enews
The Organic Link . . . by MOSES
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Registrations are pouring in for the 25th annual MOSES Organic Farming Conference. Several Organic University pre-conference courses are nearing capacity. Hotels, too, are filling up. Hope you've registered! If not, you have until Jan. 17 to take advantage of the early pricing discount.

You can upgrade your conference experience by downloading the new MOSES Conference App. This free app includes details about workshops, presenters, exhibitors, and other aspects of the conference like meals, entertainment, and networking opportunities. Use it to start planning your days at the MOSES Conference -- it's all happening in just 45 days!
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USDA opens comment period on 2,4-D ready crops

The USDA has released its draft Environmental Impact Study (DEIS) on 2,4-D ready corn and soybeans. The comment period is Jan. 10 through Feb. 24. We are working on getting that comment period extended.

2,4-D is much more harmful to plant life than RoundUp (glyphosate). Specialty crops (like grapes, tomatoes, beans and sweet corn) and non-GE soy and cotton are extremely sensitive to 2,4-D. Both spray and volatilization drift can devastate adjacent ecosystems. Such damage poses a very real threat to both organic farmers and conventional farmers not growing 2,4-D resistant crops. Scientists say widespread planting of 2,4-D corn could trigger as much as a 30-fold increase in 2,4-D use on corn by the end of the decade. For more information and talking points to use when submitting a comment, see our Take Action page.


Comment on USDA's Coexistence proposal

The USDA has extended the deadline to comment on "Enhancing Agricultural Coexistence" to March 4, 2014. The USDA is seeking ideas on how GMO and non-GMO producers can coexist, and how the department can support communication between farmers. The USDA is considering compensation mechanisms, such as crop insurance purchased by farmers who are harmed economically by GMO contamination.

Comments needed: GMO contamination threatens farmers' access to organic and non-GMO markets. Farmers should be protected by USDA regulations and compensated by the patent holders of the GMO technology if they are victims of contamination. Communication and crop insurance, while small steps in the right direction, do not prevent GMO contamination. These "tools" also place the burden on the victim rather than on those who profit from this uncontrolled technology.

The USDA needs to hear not only from producers who have experienced GMO contamination, but also from those whose crops are threatened and those who have incurred additional expense to avoid contamination. Read more about this issue on our Take Action page.


Certification Cost Share in Farm Bill?

The Senate and House Farm Bill Conference Committee has not yet sent a bill to the full Congress. There's still time to contact your senators and representatives to tell them you support the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program. Learn more about this issue on our Take Action page.


Comment period for GE apple ends soon 

The USDA's extended public comment period on the request by Okanagan Specialty Fruits, Inc. to deregulate its GE browning-resistant apple ends Jan. 30, 2014. Read Okanagan's description of the Artic apple. California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) covers the talking points on its blog, including the fact that there has not been independent study of the apple or its effect on pollinators.


USDA to survey organic farmers about pricing

The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will send surveys in February to self-identified organic producers to learn how they price and market their products, and to measure awareness of AMS price reports. Surveys should be completed by March 15, 2014. The goal is to enhance AMS coverage of the organic market sector. The AMS publishes biweekly reports with data on pricing, volume and more for both conventional and organic production. 


Videos highlight weed management strategies

An arsenal of tools and techniques has been developed to battle weeds, and yet they are still one of the largest challenges on farms. There is no single strategy for managing weeds, and when deciding how to manage them farmers must make complex decisions based on their values and available tools, time and labor. A team from Purdue and Ohio State universities collected weed management insights from more than 100 seasoned organic farmers, and created videos profiling six different approaches. Two of the videos are posted on the MOSES website. A series of webinars on strategies for managing weeds organically is planned for later this year.


Grants available to improve conditions for livestock

Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) is accepting grant applications from livestock farmers for its Fund-a-Farmer Project, which supports humane conditions for raising farm animals. Working, independent family farmers who raise pigs, broiler chickens, laying hens, dairy cows and/or beef cattle are eligible to apply for any of the three types of grants. Projects involving goats and sheep are only eligible for marketing grants. Applications must be submitted online or postmarked by May 1, 2014 for awards made in August 2014.

Online information sessions about the Fund-a-Farmer grant application process are scheduled for Feb. 11 and 12. Join the FACT email list to receive details about these sessions.


Grant program helps farms, orchards with sustainability, outreach

The FruitGuys Community Fund offers grants up to $5,000 to help small, independent American farms and orchards operate more sustainably, both environmentally and economically, as well as strengthen community outreach. Preference is given to farms located 150 miles from Chicago, San Francisco, or Philadelphia. The deadline to apply is Feb. 15, 2014. Grants will be awarded in April for projects to be completed by Dec. 1, 2014.


Online conference focuses on CSAs

MOSES is partnering with Small Farm Central for the 2014 CSA Expert Exchange March 6 and 7 for farmers involved in community supported agriculture. The online conference includes a two-hour evening session Thursday, March 6 aimed at beginners. This session covers finding land and starting a CSA. The main event (for all levels of experience) is a four-hour session Friday, March 7 with topics such as marketing, crop planning, and legal issues. The beginning session is $25, the main event is $55, and combined registration is $70. Participants receive a $10 discount with the code "MOSES."


Grow your organic food business

The Organic Processing Institute's School for Organic Processing Entrepreneurs Jan. 14-April 22, 2014, can be taken as a series or as individual sessions online or on location in Madison. These interactive classes focus on business and operational issues, organic requirements, and networking with professionals and other food entrepreneurs. The classes run Tuesdays from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Sessions cost $30 each if attending 1-5 sessions, $25 each if attending 6-9 sessions, and $20 each if attending 10-15 sessions.


Workshops teach Holistic Management

The Land Stewardship Project (LSP) and Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) are sponsoring a series of Holistic Management workshops in Iowa and Minnesota. Holistic Management is a decision-making framework that has helped farmers and ranchers achieve a “triple bottom line” of sustainable environmental, social, and economic benefits. An introductory course will take place prior to PFI’s annual conference Jan. 23-24 in Ames, Iowa. “Financial Planning with Holistic Management” will be Feb. 5 and 6 in Decorah, Iowa. For more information or to register, contact Caroline van Schaik at caroline@landstewardshipproject.org or 507-523-3366.

MOSES

Education, resources,
and expertise
to help farmers
grow organic
.



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Caring for dry cows this winter? Read Dr. Guy Jodarski's tips in the  January|February
Organic Broadcaster
.

Other topics:
Conservation strips
Transplant systems
Converting CRP land
 
See all stories.



weeds

How do seasoned organic farmers manage weeds? Watch videos




The deadline to sign up for the
Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)

has been extended to Feb. 7, 2014.
 



Watch for these webinars:


Late Blight of Tomato and Potato: Recent Occurrences and Management Experiences

Jan. 14 

 

NRCS EQIP Organic Initiative and Organic Dairy Farms

Jan. 16

 

New USDA Cover Crop Termination Policy

Jan. 23

 

Workers and Employees

Jan. 28


Insights from an Organic Certifier
Feb. 4


See descriptions on our Community Calendar.



Ask

Submit questions online or call us to talk to a
MOSES Organic Specialist about farming or certification issues:

715-778-5775


Blazing Star sponsors
of the 2014
MOSES Conference:

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Organic Prairie

Organic Valley

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USDA

Whole Foods

See who else sponsors the MOSES Conference.



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PO Box 339
Spring Valley, WI 54767
715-778-5775
www.mosesorganic.org

MOSES is a non-profit organization providing resources and training 
to enable farmers to grow organic successfully.





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Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service
PO Box 339
Spring Valley, WI 54767
US

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