Re: organic and extension people and university types
Marjorie Rayburn (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Fri, 22 Oct 1999 14:24:59 -0400 (EDT)
I am an Extension Agent in North Carolina (Area specialized agent in IPM) and
have posted my comments to the sustainable ag list from time to time. I have
not been in Extension for very long, only 9 years, but in that period of time I
have noticed a perceptable change in attitude of Extension agents and
specialists towards organic and sustainable agriculture. I do not know much
about the early organic farming movement in North Carolina and I can imagine
some Extension folks dismissing it and even ridiculing it. But I believe we
need to focus on the present.
In my humble opinion, we need to promote a conversation and
understanding among all facets of agriculture - large scale, conventional,
chemical dependent farmers and organic farmers of all sizes and those
"sustainable" types in between. I don't believe very much progress will be
made towards a more sustainable agriculture by wishing things had been done
differently in the past and by criticizing or downplaying small steps towards
Extension's recognition of and attempts to address a growing organic
agriculture in North Carolina. We have extension specialists who are actively
engaged in organic agriculture research and education from beneficial nematodes
and fungi to full scale organic production systems without using herbicides for
weed control and others specialists are listening and genuinely interested. I
don't believe this would have happened to this extent 10 years ago. The
extension agricultural economics department was involved in putting together a
study of organic agriculture in North Carolina to help growers (some
conventional) see where they might be able to meet a demand for high quality
organic agricultural products grown locally. Over 40 Extension Agents were
involved in a 4 credit hour course in Organic Farming Systems - many of the
teachers were some of the better organic farmers themselves. Things are
I sincerely believe that conventional farmers can learn from organic
farmers about less chemical dependent methods of pest control and some of the
conventional farmers I work with are using chemical pesticides less frequently.
A cotton grower I worked with used a Bt spray application to control tobacco
budworms because he wanted to preserve beneficial insects in his field to
control aphids. Sure, it is only one small example, but it is a positive step
towards understanding the ecology of agriculture. At the same time, I know of
an organic farmer who needed help in how to adjust a field cultivator to better
control weeds and risk less damage to his crop. That information was available
from a conventional farmer.
Sure, we've got a lot of work to do, but let's work together instead of
widening the gap between orgainic agriculture and the rest of the agricultural
The internet is a valuable source of information for organic growers,
but I believe that many questions can be best answered through an in-person,
on farm visit - still one of the things Extension continues to do - with
conventional and organic farmers.
These are my personal opinions.
On Oct 22, 1:23pm, Lawrence F. London, Jr. wrote:
> Subject: RE: organic and extension people and university types
> On Fri, 22 Oct 1999, Cole, Ralph wrote:
> > However, it is hard for us here to not feel neglected when we read about
> > of the great sustainable/organic/small farm things going on in Missouri,
> > Michigan, North Carolina, and some of the northeastern states. For a state
> North Carolina? Where, what, by whom?
> There could have been if folks had started years ago with
> a focus on farmer-owned, farmer-run organizations, i.e. a real
> organic producer's trade association. But no, other greedy hands had to
> get into the till and feed off the efforts of those farmers who were out
> there really doing it, the ones that built and nurtured the organic
> movement from the start.
> Let's hear it for a revitalization of NC OCIA! At least they promote
> organic, not sustainable-with-a-loophole-for-Roundup-use.
> > I really agree with the comments by Kendra Wise and Steve Groff. It just
> > takes extra effort for producers to educate the educators. It is always
> Especially when you're trying to get them interested in organic methods,
> not just sustainable.
> Organic producers only need themselves to become successful farmers.
> Anything else is a waster of their time and money. Access to the Web will
> give them all the tech support they will need.
> Lawrence F. London, Jr. -+|+- Venaura Farm
> email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
> http://metalab.unc.edu/london, /permaculture, /ecolandtech
> InterGarden -+|+- Permaculture -+|+- EcoLandTech
> To Unsubscribe: Email email@example.com with the command
> "unsubscribe sanet-mg". If you receive the digest format, use the command
> "unsubscribe sanet-mg-digest".
> To Subscribe to Digest: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the command
> "subscribe sanet-mg-digest".
> All messages to sanet-mg are archived at:
>-- End of excerpt from Lawrence F. London, Jr.
Marjorie Rayburn, Area Specialized Agent, IPM
E-Mail : mrayburn@chowan
Phone: (252) 482-8431
Fax: (252) 482-0126
To Unsubscribe: Email email@example.com with the command
"unsubscribe sanet-mg". If you receive the digest format, use the command
To Subscribe to Digest: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the command
All messages to sanet-mg are archived at: