Ecology in Organic Ag: Combining Farming, Science

Newswise — 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."

For more information about the “Ecology in Organic Farming: New Book from American Society of Agronomy” presentation, including an abstract and links to other papers presented in the “Human Ecology and Organic Farming Systems” symposium visit: http://a-c-s.confex.com/crops/2009am/webprogram/Paper52502.html

Organic Farming: The Ecological System is 378-pages, hardcover, and is available for $70 from ASA-CSSA-SSSA at www.societystore.org , or call 608-268-4960 or email books@agronomy.org. The book covers many topics surrounding organic agriculture including: history and certification, ecological knowledge as the basis of sustainability, biodiversity, crop–animal systems, forages, grain, oil seed, specialty crops, soil nutrient needs, vegetation and pest management, marketing, food security, education and research, and the future outlook of organic agriculture. View the full Table of Contents at: https://portal.sciencesocieties.org/Downloads/pdf/B40726.pdf

More than 2,700 scientists and professionals will gather at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Nov. 1-5 to discuss the latest research and trends in agriculture, energy, climate change, environmental science, science education, and more. Follow our daily Twitter feed of research and events at: www.twitter.com/ASA_CSSA_SSA , #ACSMtg. For meeting information, including abstracts of the papers being presented, visit: www.acsmeetings.org or contact Sara Uttech, ASA-CSSA-SSSA, 608-268-4948, suttech@soils.org.

Complimentary registration to this event is offered to credentialed journalists, Public Information Officers, and NASW members. Advance registration is encouraged, by sending a request to Sara Uttech, Science Communications Manager, suttech@soils.org, 608-268-4948. To register on-site, present a business card or other credentials to the Newsroom, Room 310, David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Can’t make it to the meeting? ASA-CSSA-SSSA will post news releases to the Annual Meetings online newsroom at: www.acsmeetings.org/newsroom. Power Point presentations will also be available for many papers; please contact Sara Uttech: suttech@soils.org, for more information.

The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) www.agronomy.org, Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) www.crops.org , and Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) www.soils.org are scientific societies based in Madison, WI, helping their 10,000+ members advance the disciplines and practices of agronomy, crop, soil sciences, and related disciplines by supporting professional growth and science policy initiatives, and by providing quality, research-based publications, certification programs, and a variety of member services.

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