Things to Know

Organic Certification Supports And Protects Farmers And The Organic Movement
Part l. A Brief History Of Organic Certification
In the 1970s the supply of organically grown food was limited or largely unobtainable. Early organic farmers were often isolated and faced harassment and ridicule in their communities. Two of the greatest challenges at the time were a lack of organic production information, and different opinions on what the term “organic” should mean. “Organic” was used loosely; much like the word “natural” is used today.
Organic farmers and consumers quickly saw the necessity of developing consistent organic standards and a third-party certification process. Certification groups were started throughout the country, and farmers and consumers worked together to write standards defining organic. Criteria based on the premise that “organic farming will do no harm” were used in writing standards for soil, livestock, and human health. The impacts of conventional farming on biological diversity, birds and other wildlife, erosion, and the land itself, were critical considerations in these diverse discussions. By bringing growers and buyers together, commonality, consistency, and a fundamental organic certification system and methodology was created.
In the 1980s, many states passed organic laws, but a major challenge remained. Each certifying organization and state had its own standards, causing a lack of uniformity and reciprocity issues from certifier to certifier. A single national standard was crucial to prevent confusion in the marketplace and to protect against mislabeling or fraud. In 1989 the Organic Working Group, made up of twenty-five consumer, farmer, environmental, and animal protection organizations, began to work on federal organic standards. It took until 2002 and a huge amount of effort and consumer involvement to obtain federal organic standards.
Today’s Organic Market

Now it’s 2012 and organic food can be found in most mainstream markets. We have come a long way! The Organic Trade Association reports 2010 organic sales as 4% of total food sales, up from only 1.2% of food sales in 2000. Fruits and vegetables are the leading organic sector, representing nearly 12% of all U.S. fruit and vegetable sales. And these numbers include only certified organic farms. There are many more farmers growing with organic methods that have not obtained certification, and thus are not included in these statistics.
Organic is the future. It is our security. We know that to be sustainable an agricultural system must protect and preserve the soil and water and biological diversity and be based on renewable fertility.

OCIA Nebraska #1 Organic Farm Tours August 18th
Join Organic Crop Improvement Association organic farmers while they share their diversified farms with you. There will be ideas, knowledge and learning from one another about integrated crops and livestock systems, utilizing cover crop to extend livestock feed and increasing their farm’s biodiversity.
Begin the tour at 1:00 pm two miles north of the town of Abie, NE on the Larry Stanislav Farm. Stanislav has an extensive crop rotation with spring wheat, corn, soybeans and cover crops used to control weeds and increase fertility. Stanislav will discuss two University of Nebraska (UNL) on-farm research studies that he has cooperated on: a Nutrient Management Study, 3rd year crop rotation results and a flaming experiment for weed management and moisture conservation on corn. NRCS conservationist will review funding opportunities available through the Natural Resources Conservation Services for fencing, water systems, cover crops and seasonal high tunnels.
From 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm visit Mark Roh, Abie Vegetable People ¼ mile west of Abie. Mark Roh is a beginning organic market gardener, he will discuss his drip irrigation system, crop rotations, pest control, on-farm processing, storage facility and future greenhouse plans. Mark will share on what vegetables to grow for farmers markets and how to fence raccoons out of sweet corn.
End your day at Wagon Wheel Ostry Family Farm, 2281 Spur 12B – ½ mile north of Bruno, Nebraska. Starting at 4:00 pm Mike Ostry will tour his various field crops, cover crops and speak about his participation in the on-farm research flaming experiment with UNL. He will explain their large organic garden, on-farm livestock processing facility, pasture: poultry, ducks, turkeys, geese and hogs. This is a great opportunity to bring the kids and grandkids that are looking for summer job ideas. The Ostry’s have many direct marketing, money-making projects that kids can do on the farm. Families are welcomed; the meal is free and starts at 5:00 pm followed by Music from the Ostry Family.
Call Pat at (402) 584-3837 to reserve your meal, and for more information on the tour and organic production /certification call Kim at 402-620-2701.

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US opens up land for grazing, haying

Amid drought, US opens up land for grazing, haying

The Obama administration opened up protected US land to help farmers and ranchers hit by severe drought Monday, and encouraged crop insurance companies to forgo charging interest for a month.
Corn plants struggle to survive in a drought-stricken farm field on July 19 near Oakton, Indiana. The Obama administration opened up protected US land to help farmers and ranchers hit by severe drought, and encouraged crop insurance companies to forgo charging interest for a month.

The US Department of Agriculture said the new measures for major conservation programs were aimed at helping “livestock producers as the most wide-spread drought in seven decades intensifies in the United States.”

“Beginning today, USDA will open opportunities for haying and grazing on lands enrolled in conservation programs while providing additional financial and technical assistance to help landowners through this drought,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement.

“President (Barack) Obama and I are committed to getting help to producers as soon as possible and sustaining the success of America’s rural communities through these difficult times,” he said.

The measures add flexibility to three voluntary programs designed to protect the environment.

Additional acres in the Conservation Reserve Program will be made available to farmers and ranchers for haying or grazing, as the most widespread drought in seven decades has substantially reduced forage for livestock, the USDA said.

The lands made available are classified as “abnormally dry” and do not include sensitive lands such as wetlands and rare habitats.

Other areas opened up were in programs dealing with water conservation and wetlands reserves.

Under the Federal Crop Insurance Program, the USDA said it “will encourage crop insurance companies to voluntarily forego charging interest on unpaid crop insurance premiums for an extra 30 days, to November 1, 2012, for spring crops.”

In turn for the help to struggling farmers and ranchers, the USDA said, it will not require the crop insurance companies to pay uncollected producer premiums until one month later.

It recently reduced the interest rate for emergency loans to 2.25 percent, from 3.75 percent.

Since the year began, disaster areas have been declared in 29 of the nation’s 50 states, making farmers there eligible for low-interest federal loans, the USDA said.

Midwest Drought Option Information

Producers
We have lots of dry and few perfect answers on what to do. Each farm field is different by some degree.
So being informed of options is a tool for your use. We have placed a number of dry information for you review.
We noted a few showers thru eastern Neb and western Iowa later yesterday and we are in serious prayer for more in the next few days,

We do know that soil testing this year is important to consider to see what is available after the summer.

If you want to see a map of the drought monitor, click the link below.

http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/DM_state.htm?NE%2CHP

Mike Williams OPINS Co-op

Here is the blog link for dry corn issues

A new article has been posted on the web. For a copy of the full article, see http://corn.agronomy.wisc.edu/Season/

Articles =====================================================

· Corn Pollination: How to determine success under stress (video)

· Corn Transgenic and Trait Technologies in UW Trials during 2012

· Options for Double-Cropping Barren Corn

· Pricing Drought Stressed Corn Silage

· Nitrate Toxicity Issues in Barren Corn

· Harvesting Barren and Poorly Pollinated Corn

· Corn Management Decisions During Drought Depend Upon Pollination Success

· What Happens Within the Corn Plant When Drought Occurs?

· 2012: A Tale of Two Extremes

============================================================

If you would like to subscribe to updates during the growing season click on the following:

Blog: http://WiscCorn.blogspot.com/

Marketing Inquiries for Small Grains

Good Afternoon  from the office of OPINS Co-op:

This week we are looking for organic, transitional and non-GMO small grains.We have marketing inquiries for wheat, oats, barley, etc. and we have some interesting prices for them.

Please give our office a call.

Mike Williams
OPINS Co-op
402 835 4800 O
402 720 2614 c

Monsanto loses yet again in the courts

Brazil, the second-largest producer of genetically modified (GM) crops (after the U.S.), is the latest country to take a stand against biotech giant Monsanto, which could end up handing over at least $2 billion as a result.

A war has been waging against Monsanto in Brazil for nearly a decade, virtually ever since the country legalized farming of GM crops in 2005.

Since then, Monsanto has been charging Brazilian farmers double – once for their seeds, and again when they sell their crops.

Farmers Have Had Enough With Monsanto’s Royalty Taxes and Penalties

In case you’re wondering how Monsanto has risen to the ranks of a superpower, a major reason is their patent on GM seeds, like the GM soya seeds in Brazil, which account for nearly 85 percent of the country’s total soybean crop. Each GM seed is patented and sold under exclusive rights.

Therefore, farmers must purchase the GM seeds every year, because saving seeds (which has long been the traditional way) is considered to be patent infringement. Anyone who does save GM seeds must pay a license fee to actually re-sow them.

But that’s not all.

In Brazil, Monsanto has charged farmers a 2 percent royalty fee on all of their Roundup Ready sales since 2005! And, they test all of the soy seeds marketed as “non-GM” to be sure they don’t contain any Monsanto seeds. If they are found to contain the patented seeds, the farmer is penalized close to 3 percent of his sales!

The issue with the latter penalty is that GM soy is very hard to contain, and often contaminates nearby fields. So farmers are forced to pay a penalty for having their fields contaminated with GM crops, through no fault of their own – and likely against their wishes entirely!

For years now, farmers have been taking Monsanto to court over their excessive fees and taxes, and in 2009, a group of farmers sued the company, claiming the Monsanto tax was illegal because it was impossible to keep the GM seeds away from the non-GM varieties.

A judge ruled that the tax was illegal, especially since the patents on Roundup Ready seeds in Brazil already expired. Monsanto was ordered to stop collecting all royalties … and to return all the royalties collected since 2004 – an amount that could add up to a minimum of $2 billion!

Monsanto appealed, but in June 2012 the Supreme Court dismissed it, so it looks like Monsanto is going to be getting their just deserts.

France, India Also Find Monsanto Guilty

Earlier this year, a French court found Monsanto guilty of chemical poisoning in a case involving a French farmer, who suffered neurological problems after exposure to Monsanto’s Lasso weed killer. A few years before that, a French court again found Monsanto guilty, this time of falsely advertising its Roundup herbicide as “biodegradable,” “environmentally friendly” and claiming it “left the soil clean.”

France has also recently asked the European Commission to suspend Monsanto’s authorization to plant genetically modified MON 810 corn, citing “significant risks for the environment” shown in recent scientific studies (Germany has also banned the cultivation of MON 810 corn).

Meanwhile, India’s National Biodiversity Authority (NBA), a government agency, is suing Monsanto and their collaborators, the Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company, for stealing local varieties of eggplant to develop a genetically modified version.

India requires that any entity attempting to use a native plant for commercial or research purposes must first get approval; Monsanto, however, neglected to do this, opting instead to essentially steal the native plants in order to modify them for their own commercial gain

The case marks the first time a government has accused Monsanto of biopiracy, and the results could set an important precedent for the future of the food supply.

Monsanto loses yet again in the courts

Brazil, the second-largest producer of genetically modified (GM) crops (after the U.S.), is the latest country to take a stand against biotech giant Monsanto, which could end up handing over at least $2 billion as a result.

A war has been waging against Monsanto in Brazil for nearly a decade, virtually ever since the country legalized farming of GM crops in 2005.

Since then, Monsanto has been charging Brazilian farmers double – once for their seeds, and again when they sell their crops.

Farmers Have Had Enough With Monsanto’s Royalty Taxes and Penalties

In case you’re wondering how Monsanto has risen to the ranks of a superpower, a major reason is their patent on GM seeds, like the GM soya seeds in Brazil, which account for nearly 85 percent of the country’s total soybean crop. Each GM seed is patented and sold under exclusive rights.

Therefore, farmers must purchase the GM seeds every year, because saving seeds (which has long been the traditional way) is considered to be patent infringement. Anyone who does save GM seeds must pay a license fee to actually re-sow them.

But that’s not all.

In Brazil, Monsanto has charged farmers a 2 percent royalty fee on all of their Roundup Ready sales since 2005! And, they test all of the soy seeds marketed as “non-GM” to be sure they don’t contain any Monsanto seeds. If they are found to contain the patented seeds, the farmer is penalized close to 3 percent of his sales!

The issue with the latter penalty is that GM soy is very hard to contain, and often contaminates nearby fields. So farmers are forced to pay a penalty for having their fields contaminated with GM crops, through no fault of their own – and likely against their wishes entirely!

For years now, farmers have been taking Monsanto to court over their excessive fees and taxes, and in 2009, a group of farmers sued the company, claiming the Monsanto tax was illegal because it was impossible to keep the GM seeds away from the non-GM varieties.

A judge ruled that the tax was illegal, especially since the patents on Roundup Ready seeds in Brazil already expired. Monsanto was ordered to stop collecting all royalties … and to return all the royalties collected since 2004 – an amount that could add up to a minimum of $2 billion!

Monsanto appealed, but in June 2012 the Supreme Court dismissed it, so it looks like Monsanto is going to be getting their just deserts.

France, India Also Find Monsanto Guilty

Earlier this year, a French court found Monsanto guilty of chemical poisoning in a case involving a French farmer, who suffered neurological problems after exposure to Monsanto’s Lasso weed killer. A few years before that, a French court again found Monsanto guilty, this time of falsely advertising its Roundup herbicide as “biodegradable,” “environmentally friendly” and claiming it “left the soil clean.”

France has also recently asked the European Commission to suspend Monsanto’s authorization to plant genetically modified MON 810 corn, citing “significant risks for the environment” shown in recent scientific studies (Germany has also banned the cultivation of MON 810 corn).

Meanwhile, India’s National Biodiversity Authority (NBA), a government agency, is suing Monsanto and their collaborators, the Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company, for stealing local varieties of eggplant to develop a genetically modified version.

India requires that any entity attempting to use a native plant for commercial or research purposes must first get approval; Monsanto, however, neglected to do this, opting instead to essentially steal the native plants in order to modify them for their own commercial gain

The case marks the first time a government has accused Monsanto of biopiracy, and the results could set an important precedent for the future of the food supply.