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Ecology in organic ag: Combining farming, science

MADISON, WI, OCTOBER 27, 2009 Agriculture is going through a profound revolution -- one that rivals the industrial revolution of the 19th century and the green revolution of the 20th century, so says the authors of a new book, Organic Farming: The Ecological System, which combines farmer experience and wisdom with the best that science has to offer. The book's chapters can help consumers better understand how organic systems can be designed to meet human needs while also preserving the natural environment.

The book features contributions from academic and nonprofit groups focused on organic farming and food systems. It presents a window into current research and development, as well as a glimpse at a more desirable future. Organic Farming: The Ecological System is published by the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), and Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), and Soil Science Society of America (SSSA).

Authors from the book will share their perspectives on the productivity, economics, environmental impact, and social viability of organic agriculture at a presentation on Tuesday, Nov. 3, as part of the 2009 ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meetings in Pittsburgh, PA. "Ecology in Organic Farming: New Book from American Society of Agronomy" will be held from 1:00-1:30 pm in Room 318, David L. Lawrence Convention Center by Laurie Drinkwater, Cornell University.

In recent years, a greater number of producers have looked at organic farming with increased interest. Beyond its production, economic, and environmental impacts, the authors point out that organic farming and food systems have the potential to revitalize the rural landscape and its communities. In addition, today's changing food system is seeing a more informed consumer interested in access to organic and local food choices.

"We provide here a window on this dynamic system that is shaping the profile of food in this country," says the book editor Charles Francis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. According to Francis, for consumers looking to understand how the structure of agriculture impacts the quality of their own lives and ecosystem, Organic Farming: The Ecological System may be a valuable resource. The book provides a snapshot of programs and history of organic farming as an emerging part of the local and global food systems.

"For instructors offering courses in organic crop and animal production this book would serve well as a textbook or reference," says David D. Baltensperger, head of the Soil and Crop Sciences Department at Texas A&M University. "A definitive work such as Organic Farming: The Ecological System will set the stage for research, extension, and education for many years to come."


Contact: Sara Uttech
American Society of Agronomy

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