Weekly Top 5: Organic News You Need to Know
Gladstone Acquires Organic Farmland in North Carolina and Arizona
Gladstone Land Corporation announced that it has acquired two contiguous farms totaling 310 organic acres in North Carolina for approximately $2.2 million has acquired four farms totaling 3,253 gross acres and 3,032 irrigated acres (a portion of which is organic) in southwestern Arizona for $27.5 million.
In Arizona, approximately 1,221 of the irrigated acres are subject to leases with the State of Arizona. Gladstone assumed lease agreements with the existing tenants, each leading growers, processors, and marketers of export-quality agricultural commodities. The leases contain annual escalations throughout their respective remaining terms, which range from two years to nine years.
Gladstone Land entered into a 10-year lease agreement in North Carolina with Southern Belle Organics LLC a leading organic farming operation for berries and vegetables and the current tenant on each of the farms. The lease agreement includes an annually-escalating base rent plus a revenue-sharing component based on the crops harvested on the farms.
Learn more here.
Robots Welding Water Knives are the Future of Farming – Agriculture Continues to Automate
In the Salinas Valley, farmers and tech types are teaming up to turn this into a kind of Silicon Valley for agriculture. And they’re not stopping at water-knife-wielding robots, which cut lettuce heads with water knives—super-high-pressure beams—and are gobbling up the produce. The heads roll up its mouth and onto a conveyor belt, where workers in hoodies and aprons grab the lettuce and tear off the loose leaves.
More and more, agriculture is about automation. Not that automation is anything novel. Farming has seen thousands of years of technological advances, from the horse-drawn plow to the combine harvester. But in this digitized world, the pace of automation is accelerating. “At the end of the day, a lot of the traditional work that’s being done in the fields, fewer and fewer people want to do that,” says Dennis Donohue, lead of the Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology.
Learn more about the new technologies developing here.
Sun World founder Howard P. Marguleas dies at 82
Howard Philip Marguleas died June 1 in Rancho Mirage, CA, following complications from cancer. He was 82.
A leader in the U.S. produce industry and the principal founder of Sun World International, Mr. Marguleas delighted in bringing many new fruits and vegetables to American consumers, beginning in the 1960s with the first Hawaiian pineapples sold on the mainland, then branded fruit and nuts under the Sun Giant brand, and Red Flame Seedless grapes, vine-ripened tomatoes, colored sweet peppers, seedless watermelon, and assorted new grapes and plums under the Sun World brand, as well as his coveted California-grown mangos.
Call for Nominations to Serve on NOSB
USDA seeks nominations to fill one vacancy for an individual with expertise in areas of environmental protection and resource conservation to serve on the NOSB from January 2018 to January 2023. The USDA is also seeking nominations for a pool of candidates to fill future unexpected vacancies in any of the seven position categories, should unexpected vacancies occur. A person appointed to fill an unexpected vacancy will serve for the remainder of the 5-year term of the vacant position.
Read more information here.
Changes for U.S. Industrial Hemp Farming
Annual retail sales in the U.S. of products made from hemp top $580 million, yet U.S. farmers can’t take advantage of this market because it’s illegal to grow industrial hemp in the U.S. The 2014 Farm Bill created an opportunity to allow hemp farming on small scales for “research and pilot programs,” and 26 states have taken advantage of this provision, writing laws to allow farmers and research institutions to grow a limited amount of industrial help.
Twenty-six states—just Minnesota and North Dakota in the Midwest—have taken advantage of this provision, writing laws to allow farmers and research institutions to grow industrial hemp on a limited basis. These pioneering farmers and researchers are helping bring industrial hemp back to U.S. farms, creating new opportunities for farmers.
Learn more here.
“The Fresh Harvest program at Talley Farms in Arroyo Grande, California, continues to grow in popularity. The focus of Talley’s CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program is on locally grown produce, organic when available. Now the Talley family has committed to going one step further: dedicating three specific fields (about 36 acres) to the Fresh Harvest program and transitioning them to certified organic.”
- Andrea Shaprio Chavez, Fresh Harvest, Talley Farms
OPN Connect recently chatted with Miles McEvoy, the Deputy Administrator for the National Organic Program (NOP) housed within the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). He has worked in organic agriculture for more than 25 years and in 1988 was named the first organic inspector for the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA).Read More
By Melody Meyer
The USDA offers many resources to help organic producers navigate the roadmap to successful farming. Tune into some of the opportunities to learn more and participate in the USDA programs that can assist you in the future.Read More
The predecessor company to Deardorff Family Farms was founded in Los Angles in 1937 as a distributor for local growers. In the 1960s, the firm began its transition to Ventura County and to grower-shipper status as the third generation of Deardorff joined the operation. Today, the company is led by fourth generation cousins Tom Deardorff II and Scott Deardorff, who engineered the addition of an organics focus more than a decade ago. Tom discusses the transition with OPN in this edited and condensed transcript.Read More
By Ashley Koff, RD
When I say lettuce, you say…??? Delicious? Boring? Nutritious? Not Really?
When it comes to lettuces, there’s a lot of confusion about what is better, so let me debunk that right now. Any organic lettuce is better. Even better? A variety of organic lettuces. Why? Let’s look at what organic lettuce can do for you.Read More