Farm Progress is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Serving: United States

Sitemap


Articles from 2011 In August


Reducing pests and disease in California citrus

“The California Citrus Nursery Board is one of many groups working to keep close tabs on the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) insect and Huanglongbing disease (HLB), both threats to the Western U.S. citrus industry. The ACP insect carries the dreaded HLB disease, but so far the insect, not the disease, has been found in California and Arizona. The Citrus Research Board has a wide range of proactive activities  underway to fight ACP and HLB. Western Farm Press Associate Editor Cary Blake talks with the Board’s MaryLou Polek.”

Solutions aplenty for Western pest, weed issues

Solutions aplenty for Western pest, weed issues

Deeply engrained in the minds of experienced Western cotton farmers is the heavy whitefly infestation in Arizona and Southern California in the early 1990s which almost brought the industry to extinction over crop stickiness concerns.

The challenge launched more research on improved whitefly control in the West. In fact, the sticky cotton issue led to the birth of integrated pest management (IPM) in Arizona.

“Today, the pest management picture is much clearer by utilizing the primary IPM principles of pest sampling, effective and selective chemical use, and (pest) avoidance,” said Ayman Mostafa, IPM specialist and University of Arizona (UA) assistant area agent serving Maricopa, Pinal, and Pima counties in central Arizona.

Mostafa shared his IPM insight with farmers, pest control advisers, and other industry members during a Summer Ag IPM Workshop held on the Colorado River Indian Tribe Reservation in Poston, Ariz., in late August.

Mostafa noted that IPM advances have reduced pesticide applications in Arizona cotton from an average of 11.5 sprays per season for all cotton pests in the early and mid 1990s to a 1.5 spray average today.

“Some cotton growers haven’t sprayed their fields for lygus bugs or whitefly for the last few years,” Mostafa said.

Natural predator insects can perform a yeoman’s job in lowering pest levels and subsequently reducing or eliminating the need for pesticides. Broad spectrum insecticides are lethal to many enemies. Using selective insecticides under cotton IPM guidelines, when needed, helps conserve natural enemies in Arizona farm fields.    

While traveling to the workshop, Mostafa stopped at a field and captured a wide range of pests and beneficial insects with a sweep net placing them into separate jars. Workshop participants used hand lenses to closely examine the bugs.

“We need to identify natural enemies,” Mostafa said. “If you are sweeping a field and end up with a lot of insects that crawl and fly then we need to train our eyes to know if they are pests or natural enemies by examining the sweep net quickly in the field.”

Among Mostafa’s sweep finds were two chronic cotton pests – lygus and whitefly. Captured natural predators included assassin bugs, Drapetis, Collops beetles, big-eyed bugs, nabid bugs, minute pirate bugs, lacewings, and spiders. These beneficial insects kill pests; thereby reducing yield loss, maintaining crop quality, and keeping more money in farmers’ pockets.

Over the last several months, the UA-sponsored Arizona Pest Management Center has released a series of field crop ‘IPM Shorts’ reports on individual predators. The ‘shorts’ are available online at http://ag.arizona.edu/crops/cotton/agronomic_ipm.html.

However, when pest numbers exceed recommended threshold numbers, pesticides are an important tool for pest control.

Adjuvants

Improving pesticide effectiveness is a key role of adjuvants, said Kai Umeda, UA area extension agent, Maricopa County.

“Adjuvants are added to the spray tank to improve the physical characteristics of the spray mixture and/or to modify the action of an applied agrichemical,” Umeda said.

Adjuvants are either added to the spray mix in the tank or come already mixed in the pesticide container as an inert ingredient.

Commonly-used adjuvants include activators, stickers, spreaders, wetters, and extenders. Stickers help a sprayed pesticide to stick to the leaf surface versus dripping off. Other types can break down the leaf’s waxy cuticle layer to allow the chemical to more effectively enter the plant. A buffer adjuvant can increase pesticide performance when less quality water is in the tank mix.

Adjuvants are important pesticide enhancers but may also come at a cost.

“The main thing is do your homework to watch the bottom line,” Umeda said.

Farmers should consult their pest control adviser and chemical dealer to learn more about the wide range of adjuvants available. Umeda says compare similar products to get the best deal. Experience over time will determine which products perform better than others. Some adjuvants are “all-in-one” and can fulfill multiple purposes.

“Adjuvants improve the economics of pesticide applications,” Umeda said. “Do not cut corners and eliminate needed adjuvants from the tank to reduce costs.”

Another good resource for adjuvant information is through a voluntary certification program developed by the Chemical Products and Distributors Association. Online information is located at www.cpda.com/Adjuvant-Certification-Program.

When applying pesticides, Umeda urges applicators to always use personal protective equipment. At the minimum, most pesticide labels instruct applicators to at least wear long-sleeve shirts, long pants, plus shoes and socks. Sealed goggles are critical to protect the eyes. Full body Tyvek-type suits provide a good barrier to eliminate chemical absorption into the body.

Umeda says use a respirator to keep fumes and volatiles out of the lungs when working with insecticides and fumigants. Use the appropriate respirator cartridge for the specific chemical. Conduct a ‘fit check’ to ensure the respirator is tightly sealed around the face. Wear rubber boots if walking in spray. 

Invasive saltcedar

UA weed biologist Ed Northam discussed saltcedar, Tamarisk spp., an invasive plant found in riparian areas and irrigated cropping areas in the California and Arizona low desert regions.

Saltcedar grows as a bush or tree up to 18-feet tall in areas under 2,500 feet elevation, including along the Colorado River. Each saltcedar plant can produce thousands of flowers which become tiny seeds inside a single small capsule. Mature capsules are easily transported by wind.

The saltcedar was introduced to Arizona farms and ranches in the 1890s for stream bank erosion control and homestead windbreaks. Yet the lesson later learned was this weed aggressively colonizes in wet areas.

Dense populations consume large amounts of water. This requirement reduces available water for native plants in riparian areas and for irrigated agricultural fields near saltcedar-infested waterways.

Saltcedar seed can blow into wet areas in irrigated fields and invade canal areas; particularly those with dirt bottoms. Seedling stage to viable seed production occurs in several months when growing on a wet canal bank.

“Saltcedar is found in fallowed farm fields,” Northam said. “Saltcedar should be removed by cultivation before planting the next crop so the saltcedar root systems don’t mature enough to survive the plowing.”

Saltcedar roots can easily reach more than 20 feet below the soil surface. The deep roots draw naturally-occurring salt to the plant’s leaves where salty water literally drips onto the soil.

Additional salt in the upper few inches of the soil hinders native plant growth in non-cultivated areas and inhibits crop development where saltcedar has been cleared. In addition, saltcedar located on field edges can extend its root growth into the field and disrupt crop development.

Northam encourages farmers to keep field edges and canal banks clear of saltcedar since once it matures the plants become seed sources for new infestations.

“Remove saltcedar when the plant is young,” Northam said. “Seed can also fall or blow into the irrigation water. Flowing natural or irrigation water delivers seed downstream providing opportunities for new plants to establish further away.”

Saltcedar along a canal also serves as a conduit for destructive fire especially around maturing wheat fields, alfalfa hay stacks, equipment storage areas, and orchards.

A weed wrench hand tool can be used to pull young saltcedar plants from the soil. Plants with fewer than eight to 10 stems and main root diameters less than 4 inches can be removed with the weed wrench in moist soil. For larger plants, mechanical remedies include bulldozers, single-tree excavators, and mulchers.

Foliar herbicides with the active ingredients imazapyr, glyphosate, and triclopyr can provide effective saltcedar control, Northam says.

cblake@farmpress.com

Live from Farm Progress: New German tractors, strip-till system, an anhydrous applicator, more

Live from Farm Progress: New German tractors, strip-till system, an anhydrous applicator, more

 

Editor Karen McMahon and contributing editor Mark Moore are on location at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, IL, to bring you a firsthand look at new-product launches. Here are some highlights of this year’s show.

Fendt debuts new 900 Series tractors. This five-model series, ranging from 200 to 300 PTO hp, is claimed to deliver up to 7% greater fuel efficiency compared to previous models. The company credits this fuel savings to new engines, now equipped with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology to meet Tier 4-interim emissions regulations. Other new features include a reversing operator station, a standard 10.4-in., touchscreen monitor that controls all tractor functions from one display, the option of fully integrated guidance, and an on-board computer for tracking, storing and transferring data to an office.

Case IH is expanding its lineup of application toolbars with the Nutri-Placer 930 pull-type anhydrous applicator and Nutri-Tiller 950 strip-till system. New sizes can now match the full lineup of Case IH tractors to accommodate all sizes of farming operations.

 

Hemisphere GPS, maker of  GPS (GNSS) products for in-field positioning, guidance, and machine control applications, unveiled the latest additions to its Outback Guidance precision farming line.

  • New eDriveX features: eDriveX and eTurns, two of the company’s automated steering systems, now allow you to drive in reverse and at slow speeds. Reverse steering lets you reverse course under certain circumstances, and slow speed control allows you to operate equipment in demanding, slow speed conditions down to 0.25 mph. Available now through Outback Guidance Centers and Hemisphere GPS distributors.
  • A320/A321 RTK smart antennas: These new antennas combine a receiver, antenna, and optional radio modem, all in one package to provide portable GPS positioning with centimeter-level accuracy. Benefits include extended RTK coverage, because the rover RTK receiver will process all available signals even if they are not common with the base receiver.
  • Outback S3 and AC110 spray and section control: As the first offering in what is expected to be a series of rate/section control products, the new AC110 spray and section control, combined with the Outback S3 guidance terminal, provides rate control for one product and section control for up to 10 sections. Available in fall 2011. Contact Outback Guidance customer service or visit www.outbackguidance.com for more information.

 

 

Dust flying in countryside over USDA animal ID proposal

Dust flying in countryside over USDA animal ID proposal

Forty-nine advocacy groups representing the interests of family farmers, ranchers, and consumers have formally requested that USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack extend the public comment period for a controversial new proposal that would require livestock producers in the U.S. to incur significant expense tracking animals that cross state lines.  The comment period on the proposed, “Traceability for Livestock Moving Interstate,” is scheduled to end on November 9, and the organizations have requested an additional 60 days.

"The period for public comment coincides with the fall harvest and comes during the worst drought ever recorded in some major livestock production regions,” said Judith McGeary, Executive Director of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance and vice-chair of the USDA Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Animal Health.  “Our farmers and ranchers are struggling to get their crops in and save their animals, and they need more time to assess the impacts of the proposed rule.”

The groups’ letter to Secretary Vilsack pointed out that many farmers and ranchers are not online, slowing the speed of communication.  “According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture, more than 40 percent of farms do not have internet access,” they noted in the letter.

“We have a significant number of Amish and Mennonite members who can only be contacted by mail or through print publications,” explained Mark A. Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst at The Cornucopia Institute.  “They, in turn, will have to mail their comments to USDA.  If the agency actually wants to hear from these livestock owners, it needs to extend the comment period.”

Some groups have questioned the agency’s willingness to respond to producers’ concerns.

“A coalition of cattle groups presented USDA with a reasonable plan for cattle identification, but the agency persists in proposing unworkable rules,” contends R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard.  “The least the agency can do is extend the comment period so that the cattlemen can comment on the proposal when they’re not in the middle of the calf-weaning and shipping seasons.”

The proposal has raised concerns about the economic impacts on both livestock producers and related businesses.

Gilles Stockton, a member of the Western Organization of Resource Councils said, “It will take a significant amount of time to pencil out the true costs of this proposal.  Livestock producers, sale barns, and states deserve adequate time to figure these costs and give comment.”

“All of our farmers and ranchers are deeply concerned about animal health,” concluded McGeary.  “They work hard every day to keep their animals healthy, and the agency needs to take the time to understand their concerns about this new proposal and address them.”

US Labor Department proposes updates to child labor regulations

The U.S. Department of Labor is proposing revisions to child labor regulations that will strengthen the safety requirements for young workers employed in agriculture and related fields. The agricultural hazardous occupations orders under the Fair Labor Standards Act that bar young workers from certain tasks have not been updated since they were promulgated in 1970.

The department is proposing updates based on the enforcement experiences of its Wage and Hour Division, recommendations made by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and a commitment to bring parity between the rules for young workers employed in agricultural jobs and the more stringent rules that apply to those employed in nonagricultural workplaces. The proposed regulations would not apply to children working on farms owned by their parents.

“Children employed in agriculture are some of the most vulnerable workers in America,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “Ensuring their welfare is a priority of the department, and this proposal is another element of our comprehensive approach.

The proposal would strengthen current child labor regulations prohibiting agricultural work with animals and in pesticide handling, timber operations, manure pits and storage bins. It would prohibit farm workers under age 16 from participating in the cultivation, harvesting and curing of tobacco. And it would prohibit youth in both agricultural and nonagricultural employment from using electronic, including communication, devices while operating power-driven equipment.

The department also is proposing to create a new nonagricultural hazardous occupations order that would prevent children under 18 from being employed in the storing, marketing and transporting of farm product raw materials. Prohibited places of employment would include country grain elevators, grain bins, silos, feed lots, stockyards, livestock exchanges and livestock auctions.

Additionally, the proposal would prohibit farm workers under 16 from operating almost all power-driven equipment. A similar prohibition has existed as part of the nonagricultural child labor provisions for more than 50 years. A limited exemption would permit some student learners to operate certain farm implements and tractors, when equipped with proper rollover protection structures and seat belts, under specified conditions.

The Wage and Hour Division employs a combination of enforcement, compliance assistance and collaboration strategies in partnership with states and community-based organizations to protect children working in the United States. When violations of law are found, the division uses all enforcement tools necessary to ensure accountability and deter future violations.

The division is responsible for enforcing the FLSA, which establishes federal child labor provisions for both agricultural and nonagricultural employment, and charges the secretary of labor with prohibiting employment of youth in occupations that she finds and declares to be particularly hazardous for them. The FLSA establishes a minimum age of 18 for hazardous work in nonagricultural employment and 16 in agricultural employment. Once agricultural workers reach age 16, they are no longer subject to the FLSA’s child labor provisions. The FLSA also provides a complete exemption for youths employed on farms owned by their parents.

The public is invited to provide comments on this important proposal, which must be received by Nov. 1. A public hearing on the proposal will be held following the comment period. More information, including a complete list of the proposed revisions, will be available in the Federal Register on Sept. 2.

 

 

Livestock producers make critical decisions during drought

Livestock producers make critical decisions during drought

The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation will host a Fall Cattle Management Workshop to assist regional livestock producers in answering the many questions associated with the ongoing drought.

Entitled “Meeting the Drought Head On,” the workshop will take place from 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8, at the Noble Foundation Kruse Auditorium.

During the workshop, Noble Foundation consultants will discuss fall and winter nutrition for cows, forecast feed availability and cost, examine hay waste, and offer tips for managing forages. There will also be a presentation involving the economics of retaining cows during the drought.

“This seminar is designed to provide livestock producers information they need to make critical management decisions during the drought,” said Deke Alkire, Ph.D., Noble Foundation livestock consultant. “How producers adjust to the drought now can continue to affect them into spring of next year and beyond. We want to provide them quality information to make the best possible decisions.”

The cost for this workshop is $10 and includes dinner. For additional information or to register, call Tracy Cumbie at 580.224.6411 or register online at www.noble.org/agevents.

Economic Value of Corps Lakes Documented

Economic Value of Corps Lakes Documented

The Kansas Water Office and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has recently completed an assessment of the value of the recreation and water supply uses supplied by Perry Lake, Milford Lake and Tuttle Creek reservoirs.

The results of the study show that spending related to recreation use at Perry Lake, Milford Lake and Tuttle Creek is more than $45.3 million annually. 

Tracy Streeter, director of the water office, said between 80 and 90 percent of the visitors to the lakes are from outside the region, meaning they bring new money into the area and improve the economy of the communities in the area around the lakes.

"During these trying economic times this is great news for the State of Kansas," Streeter says.

There are many benefits to the three Kansas reservoirs. In addition to being a great economic resource, they are a main source of water supply for municipal and industrial clients. Another component of the study describes the impacts of navigation releases on in-service water supply storage.

"The influence of these lakes on attracting recreational spending, particularly from outside their regions, is impressive, says  Robin Jennison, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. "The study sheds light on how important all of our state's water resources are to our economy and to the people and natural resources they support."

KWO administers the State's Water Marketing and Water Assurance Programs to help meet the water supply needs of municipalities and industries in Kansas. The value of the three reservoirs water supply was estimated at $294 million for in-service water supply. This value reflects the avoided costs of constructing new reservoirs and estimated mitigation costs to supply Kansas cities and towns with quality drinking water. If these reservoirs had to be constructed today the total costs would be more than $4.7 billion.

There are 14 reservoirs with state-owned storage in Kansas. The Kansas Reservoir Assessment study shows the many benefits they provide, including recreation, wildlife and aquatic habitat; flood and drought protection as well as water supply for two-thirds of the Kansas population.  

For a complete version of the study go to: http://www.kwo.org/reports_publications/Reports/KRA_Final%20Report_FULL%20DOCUMENT_March%202011.pdf.

Ugly Irene Made a Tough Year Tougher

Ugly Irene Made a Tough Year Tougher

Hurricane Irene left a trail of broken trees, flooded buildings plus tons of ripe, ready-to-harvest dropped fruit up and down the East Coast. After rains of two to more than 10 inches, the deluge in river valleys from Virginia to Maine are still receding.

Federal Emergency Management Officials are already pegging the losses at more than $12 billion. That's not counting agricultural crop losses, which as Pennsylvania Farm Bureau President Carl Shaffer says probably won't be totally assessed until after harvest.

DON'T BLAME IRENE: Soybean blossoms and shriveled pods are due to high summer heat, and may temper final soybean yield projections.

Irene's winds proved whimsical, tangling and flatten corn in one spot and leaving other areas untouched. Corn already killed by drought on the Delmarva, for instance, suffered the most wind damage, but added little to yield losses.

The largest farm losses may have been in fruit orchards, as reported by Brad Hollabaugh of Hollabaugh Brothers Fruit Farm and Market, Biglerville, Pa. "The largest, most mature fruit fell of the trees. We estimate that about 20% of our fruit is on the ground."

Fruit tree damage varied widely, and even from orchard block to bock, reports Jim Schupp, director of Penn State's Fruit Research and Extension Center. Some farms were hardly touched. Others suffered fruit losses of 50%

Corn and soybean supplies likely to shrink

Aside of broken off stalk tops, statewide corn and soybean yields from Maryland to Maine probably won't be affected. They're already down substantially due to a late wet planting season and summer drought.

Crop condition reports by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, as of Aug. 29 don't reflect crop condition declines. That's likely to spell higher grain prices for meat and milk producers in the Northeast. Here's a quick look at the NASS assessment as of Monday:

Delaware: About 31% of the corn crop is in good to excellent condition, unchanged from the previous report. About 58% of soybeans rated good to excellent, compared to 45% previously reported. August yield projections wee 125 bushels of corn per acre, with total supplies up 15% over a year ago. Soybeans were forecasted at 32 bushels per acre, but with 16% less total beans compared to 2010.

Maryland: 37% of the corn crop rated good to excellent, compared to 32% previously reported. 50% of soybeans rated good to excellent, compared to 35% previously reported. Corn yields are projected to average 104 bushels per acre, with a total crop up 3% over last year. Soybean yields are projected at 30 bushels per acre, but a total crop of 16% less than in 2010.

New England: Corn crop condition was reported at 50% good to excellent. No yield forecast was made in August.

New Jersey: Corn and soybean crop conditions were not reported this week. But the August crop report projects the state's corn crop at 135 bushels per acre, with a total crop up 37%. The state's soybean crop is projected at 33 bushels per acre, with a total crop of 24% more than a year ago.

New York: The corn crop condition as of this week was 65% good to excellent, up from 55%. Soybeans were reported as 70% good to excellent, up from 57%. Corn yields were projected to average 130 bushels per acre, with total state production down 3% from 2010. Soybean yields are forecasted at 42 bushels per acre, with total production down 12% from 2010.

Pennsylvania: Corn crop condition was pegged at 49% good to excellent this week, up from 45%. Soybeans were rated 68% good to excellent, up from 61%. August corn yield projections came in at 112 bushels per acre, with a total crop 10% down from 2010. August soybean yields were estimated at 37 bushels per acre, with a total crop 15% down from a year ago.

What all this means

With the damage of Hurricane Irene, this year's projected corn and soybean crop sizes for these Northeast states are more likely to shrink than increase by harvest time. If so, that'll make the feedstuffs more expensive to acquire locally.

Another concern has been mentioned by soybean growers, and documented by field scouting. While soybean plants visually look good, this summer's heat aborted blossoms and pods and left far fewer pods to fill. That yield reduction may not be reflected in crop reports until harvest.

Cooperative Council Awards Seven Scholarships

Cooperative Council Awards Seven Scholarships

The Nebraska Cooperative Council Education Foundation has awarded seven scholarships totaling $6,050 for the 2011-12 academic year to students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) at Curtis and Chadron State College (CSC).

The scholarship program was initiated for the 1993-94 academic year with funding from voluntary contributions from the agricultural cooperatives which are members of the Nebraska Cooperative Council.  Since the program's inception, 144 scholarships totaling $109,700 have been awarded.

To be eligible for the scholarships, students must be majoring in agricultural business/economics at UNL; business/management or ag production systems with the business option at NCTA; or have a major or minor in agribusiness at Chadron State.  Eligibility is restricted to sons or daughters of a parent or legal guardian who has been an active member, director, or employee for at least the prior three years of a cooperative which has been a member in good standing of the Council for at least five years. 

The five recipients of $950 scholarships at UNL include one incoming student and four upperclass students. They are:

Kyle Rohr, son of Mark and Missi Rohr of Tobias, will be a freshman majoring  in Agribusiness. The Rohrs are members of Farmers Cooperative in Dorchester.

Lance Atwater, son of Kevin and Denise Atwater of Ayr, will be a junior majoring in Ag Economics. The Atwaters are members of CHS AgriService Center in Holdrege.

Alec Ibach, son of Greg and Teresa Ibach of Sumner, will be a sophomore majoring in Ag Economics/Animal Science. The Ibachs are members of All Points Co-op in Gothenburg.

Garrett Schutz, son of Todd and Lisa Schutz of Arapahoe, will be a sophomore majoring in Agribusiness. Todd and Lisa are members of Ag Valley Co-op in Edison.

Sara Van Newkirk, daughter of Joe and Cyndi Van Newkirk of Oshkosh, will be a senior majoring in Ag Economics/Animal Science. The Van Newkirks are members of Westco in Alliance where Joe serves on its board of directors.

The recipient of a $650 scholarship at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture at Curtis is Waylon Christen, son of Thomas and Janie Christen of Anselmo.  He is a second-year student majoring in Ag Production Systems. The Christens are members of Farmers Co-op Grain Company in Merna where Thomas serves on its board of directors.

Recipient of a $650 scholarship at Chadron State College is Stacee Wright, daughter of Brian and Heidi Wright of Hamlet. She is a senior majoring in Business Administration with a minor in Agribusiness. The Wright's are members of the Wauneta Co-op Oil Company where Brian serves on its board of directors.

Free Organic Ads In N.D.

Free Organic Ads In N.D.

Organic crop and livestock producers can now use online classified advertising to find buyers for their products, while organic buyers can use the same service to locate producers.

The North Dakota Organic Farming website, www.ndorganics.nd.gov, offers free, online classified advertisements to any farmer or company listed in the site's online directory," says Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. "The directory lists certified organic producers, buyers, processors and retailers in the state of North Dakota."

A free listing in the directory is available by contacting the North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) at (701) 328-2231 or ndda@nd.gov. The directory is searchable by product, county and location.

Once listed in the directory, individuals and companies can use the classified section to list products for sale or products they are looking to buy. Advertisements can be completed online and posted immediately.

Goehring says NDDA and the department's Organic Advisory Board developed the on-line classifieds in response to the growing demand for organic products and growing interest in organic agriculture. He said connecting buyers and sellers is often cited as one of the biggest difficulties facing organic industry.

"For producers, finding buyers of organic grains and livestock products often requires hours of phone calls, traveling to meetings to meet buyers, and searching hundreds of on-line leads," he said. "For buyers, the situation is equally frustrating. Processors and brokers spend much of their time annually traveling to organic farming meetings and field tours, and spending hours on the telephone contacting growers."

The situation is complicated by the diverse and varied crop rotations necessary in organic farming; each farmer may have several different crops available each year.

Goehring encourages organic producers, companies and consumers to check out the website for other information.

"Besides the free marketing tools, the site features resources for farmers and processors interested in organic certification for their farms and products, as well as information about organic food and farming for consumers," he says.

Source: ND Department of Agriculture