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Tag: national farming trends

The mighty AMPs and the local food movement

The mighty AMPs and the local food movement

Last week, I got to meet a group of Agricultural Marketing Professionals (AMPs) and to follow them on part of their Southern Maryland tour of successful agricultural marketing ventures. I believe that AMPs are essential to the local food movement because of the history and timing of the development of zoning and health regulations in the U.S. Planning and zoning departments and local health departments did not exist as recently as one hundred years ago. The need for zoning and…

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Does a passion for growing food mean a life of poverty? Response to a NYTimes op-ed

Does a passion for growing food mean a life of poverty? Response to a NYTimes op-ed

The new and beginning farmers of today do not pursue the career to get rich. Most are drawn by the chance to work outside, to be their own bosses and to grow food to sell. A recent New York Times Letter to the Editor by Bren Smith entitled “Don’t Let Your Children Grow Up to be Farmers” (Sunday Review, Aug. 9) states that the “much-celebrated small-scale farmer isn’t making a living.” The letter disturbed me so much that I put it…

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Twilight Crops Tour Part 2: from heritage corn to college cafeterias!

Twilight Crops Tour Part 2: from heritage corn to college cafeterias!

Last week, I covered half of the stops on the Twilight Crops Tour held August 7th. Today I will cover the rest, in no particular order. So what else is new and happening at the Experiment Station? In his research project entitled Open Pollinated Corn trials, Herb Reid has been searching for characteristics in heritage varieties that farmers may find valuable. Coincidentially, I’ve been reading Dan Barber’s The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food, and he begins his…

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Conventional and organic farmers unite!

Conventional and organic farmers unite!

Farmers did not used to be categorized as conventional or organic. They were much more independent and they followed many farming styles. In the last century, agriculture has gone through profound changes and farmers seems to have settled into two camps: conventional (using approved commercial fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides) and organic (for simplicity, I am including all those who do not use commercial fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, including Certified Naturally Grown.) While they use different farming practices, I believe that…

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Will hedge fund managers make good farmers?

Will hedge fund managers make good farmers?

In a recent article in the New York Times, Cash Crops With Dividends: Financiers Transforming Strawberries Into Securities, Alexandra Stevenson wrote about the hedge funds’ interest in farmland purchase. Hedge funds have already been eyeing farmland with purchases in recent years, now up to about $14 billion. But now Stevenson reports that there is a new twist, they are creating a “new asset class that ordinary investors can buy a piece of.” A real estate investment company has been formed…

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