Date: Mon, 22 Jun 1998 10:22:27 -0600
From: "Douglas M. Hinds" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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Subject: Re: Organic Transition
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Frank, don't worry about what "Farmers Research & Development" says unless they
are the organic certification agency that will be certifying your organic
products, and they are certainly not one of the principle certifying agencies.
(If they ARE a certifying agency). Until the National Organic Program mandated by
the Organic Food Production Act takes effect (which will be unlikely during 1998),
the organic certification you need (if any) will be determined by your clients -
so I suggest you talk with those you plan on selling to, regarding the certifying
organisms they themselves accept.
Then, get in contact with those certifiers you're interested in working with, in
order to determine what their standards, prerequisites, methods and costs entail.
Each one generally has information packets available.
As far as varieties of fruit suitable to your area, a number of sanet messages
have recommennded that you get in touch with local people, including extensionists
and organic growers. The USDA can provide you with a list of both.
Also, remember that by the time a variety has a name, it's probably a grafted
variety. In other words, grafted trees are clones (at least in so far as their
fruit producing parts are concerned), whereas all varieties are almost universally
ORIGINATED from seed. Since some varieties will come true to type by seed, a
named variety COULD be a seedling line. However - in practice, this isn't being
done, mainly because the disadvantages of grafting have not been adequately
researched and therefore the effects of it are still largely unknown. Most of
those that do it - that don't plant or even consider planting orchards from seed,
will tell you that it's just too hard; or that seedlings just aren't much good.
Well, seedlings are individuals, just like you and me, our brothers and sisters
and almost everybody else (excluding identical twins). Some are better than
others (and that may depend on what you or someone else likes), but a good one is
always better - much better - than a grafted one. To me, the concept is really
not that hard to grasp (or have too many learned to "fit in" to what happens to
exist, having learned to do what in Spanish is referred to as "haciendo la vista
gorda" - (making your sight fat). How comfortable really are these little
niches? Is life as a potted plant really preferrable?
Lastly, it's fine to look for information, buit you're going to make personal
contact with independent thinking long time growers in your (or a similar) area,
and walk through their groves with them. Once you get close to what's involved,
hopefully you'll recognize and take on the attributes yourself.
P.S. According to the OFPA (not yet law), Certified Organic products must be grown
on land that's been at least 3 years free of synthetic agrochemicals. Fow now,
check with each of the certifiers your are interested in working with.
> I could use some help and advice. I'm inthe process of purchasing a farm in
> central Kentucky that I'd like to convert to sustainable, organic certified
> Currently the " bottoms" are planted to tobacco, corn, and soybeans that are
> managed conventionally and have had typical applications of pesticides, and
> fertilzers etc.
> I am concerned about the amount of time that it takes to break down such
> elements in the soil.
> I'm told that there can be up to a three year waiting period before such
> treated soils would be deemed acceptable for organic certification.
> This comment appeared on the list that has caused me a great deal of
> angst...since it mentioned soil must be tested for some 300 chemicals etc.!
> << The crops used to produce American Growers Foods' products have all been
> Certified Chemical-Free by Farmers Research & Development, a non-profit
> agricultural research firm, located in Dakota dunes, S.D. Farmers Research &
> Development president Mike Weckwerth, stated that the soil and crops must be
> tested and found to be free to the limits of detection as of May 1, 1998, from
> more than 300 chemicals targeted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
> and Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The testing is conducted on the soil-
> -- before the crop is planted, at harvest and at delivery to the grain
> processor. All testing is performed by independent laboratories using EPA and
> FDA specified methods. >>
> This is a bit scary for most small scale growers because it sounds very
> expensive and may be beyond their means.
> Further local Cooperative extension apparently can not do such extensive
> Is there perhaps a list of these 300 chemicals? products/brands that contain
> them, crops primarily used on, estimated break down period in the soil etc.
> I know I can't afford thousands of dollars for such tests. Does anyone perhaps
> know of labs that are set up to do such tests at low cost? and is the labs
> results tested or certified by EPA ? are test results fairly standard given
> the tests, standards, machinery, and proper calibration or could there be
> widely different results from different labs?
> Are there any cover crops etc. that can be used to remediate such fields more
> quicky? any cultural procedures? Look forward to your comments.Thanks so much.
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Douglas M. Hinds, Director General Centro para el Desarrollo Comunitario y Rural A.C. (CeDeCoR) (Center for Community and Rural Development) - (non profit) Petronilo Lopez No. 73 (Street Address) Apdo. Postal No. 61 (Mailing Address) Cd. Guzman, Jalisco 49000 MEXICO U.S. Voice Mailbox: 1 630 300 0550 (e-mail linked) U.S. Fax Mailbox: 1 630 300 0555 (e-mail linked) Tel. & Fax: 011 523 412 6308 (direct) e-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
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