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Going Organic: Bringing Profit and Sustainability Back to Farming
(from October 7, 2002)

As we eagerly await USDA certified organic to enter the market, Beyond Pesticides and others are taking a closer look at organic farming and the people who grow the foods we eat.

Gary Zimmer and his son Nicholas own and operate a 500-acre farm in Blue Mounds, Wisconsin. Always leaning away from synthetic fertilizers and toxic pesticides, they made the decision to convert the operation to certified organic production, and they haven't looked back.

In a time when farm commodity prices are low and profit is nearly unheard of, the Zimmer farm is doing well, really well. So well, in fact, that Gary is giving back. Gary spends much of his time teaching sustainable organic farming practices to other farmers interested in an economical and safe alternative to traditional farming.

His efforts along with others have made possible the continuing success of the Eco-Farming conference to be held in Indianapolis this December. The conference, now in its thirtieth year hopes to draw over 1000 farmers from around the world. "This conference was a wonderful, hope-affirming event. It was great to see and speak with so many young farmers interested in reducing or eliminating the use of herbicides and pesticides," said one attendee who journeyed to last year's conference from Australia.

With the Zimmers' organic crops demanding prices roughly double of what their neighbors chemically grown, genetically engineered varieties, and US organic sales in excess of $9 billion at retail, with growth forecast to continue at 25% per year, organic farmers see a bright future for them and the environment.

For more information about the conference visit http://www.acresusa.com, or contact the conference's sponsor, Acres U.S.A., at 800-355-5313.