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New Sustainable Ag Publications

Posted: February 11, 2010

A new publication on maple syrup production is available in Penn State's Agricultural Alternatives series and SARE has released several new books including the 3rd edition of Building Soils for Better Crops, Crop Rotation on Organic Farms, and Youth Renewing the Countryside.

New Agricultural Alternatives publication on maple syrup now available

The Small-scale and Part-time Farming Project at Penn State would like to announce that a new publication titled Maple Syrup Production is now available through the College of Agricultural Sciences Publication Distribution Center. Topics covered in the publication include marketing, production concerns, evaporation and boiling, bottling, safety, and cost of production. This publication is now available through the Publication Distribution Center (ph: 814-865-6713) and online.

Building Soils, revised and expanded

A new, third edition of Building Soils for Better Crops, by Fred Magdoff and Harold van Es, will be coming off the presses soon, and it’s about time—the second edition is sold out, and this really is a publication that readers often prefer in print. 

And for good reason—complex topics like this one often do better in book form, and Building Soils offers a detailed description of soil structure, the management practices that affect soils, and clear, practical information on certain key tasks such as how to interpret soil test results. The authors also explain how to maintain a diverse ecosystem below ground that will foster healthy crops above, and how ecological soil management can raise fertility—and yields—while reducing environmental impacts. It’s the sort of instructional reference book you may want to open when your hands are dirty.

To order, or to download a PDF, go to SARE and select “publications.” You can also place an order by calling 301/374-9696. Special rates are available—call for more information on bulk discounts as well as rush or international orders.

Crop Rotation on Organic Farms

The Natural Resource, Agriculture and Engineering Service (NRAES) recently partnered with SARE to develop and release a new planning guide for farmers seeking sound, science-based guidelines for managing crop rotations in organic farming. Crop Rotation on Organic Farms: A Planning Manual helps farmers use rotations to build better soil  and improve profits.

“The purpose of this book is to help growers and farm advisors use crop rotations to build better soil, control pests, and develop profitable farms that support satisfied families,” says co-editor Charles Mohler, a senior research associate at Cornell University. Working with Sue Ellen Johnson, now at North Carolina State University and formerly with the New England Small Farm Institute, Mohler asked for input from farmers and researchers who understand how rotation strategies can be applied to a wide range of field conditions and crops.

The result is a handbook farmers can use to develop crop rotation  strategies under different field conditions and with a wide range of crops. The book also includes instructions for making crop rotation planning maps using Microsoft Excel and discusses intercropping and crop rotation during the transition to organic farming.

The book can be downloaded free at SARE; select “publications.” Print copies cost $24 plus $5.95 for postage and handling. Discounts are available on orders of ten or more; call 301-374-9696 for more information on bulk, rush, or international shipments.

The kids are all right: A new book about youth and renewing rural life

Youth Renewing the Countryside is a collection of profiles of young activists who are putting their ideas and talent to work in rural America, and the result is a varied and sometimes surprising testament to passion and the energetic, entrepreneurial approach to agriculture, food, community, and the environment.

The book is a group effort, co-published by SARE, Renewing the Countryside, and the Center for Rural Strategies, and it offers models for how a new generation can apply the principles of sustainability to their own lives, whether it be through preserving Maryland farmland, building ecologically in Vermont, or developing a local foodshed in Rhode Island.

 You can download Youth Renewing the Countryside as a free PDF file at SARE; select “publications.” To order print copies ($24.95 plus $5.95 for postage and handling) visit SARE, call 301-374-9696, or send a check or money order to SARE Outreach, PO Box 753, Waldorf, Maryland 20604-0753. Please specify the title you want when ordering by mail. Discounts are available on orders of ten or more; call 301/374-9696 for more information on bulk, rush or international shipments.