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April 21, 2017

Farm Bot

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February 27, 2017

Dousing Flames with Low-Frequency Sound Waves

A new type of extinguisher that uses sound waves to put out fires has been built by two engineering students in the US. Both chemical- and water-free, the invention offers a relatively non-destructive method of fire control, which could find applications in fighting small fires in the home, and the researchers now hold a preliminary patent application for their device.

While the concept of using sound waves to extinguish flames is not new, previous attempts to realize the principle – including efforts by teams at West Georgia University and the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) – had not been successful.

Undeterred by this, as well as initial [...]

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April 8, 2015

GMO Science – Understanding How GMOs Are Created, and What Prominent Scientists Are Saying

According to the World Health Organization, GMOs are “Organisms in which the genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally.”Genetically modified organisms are organisms built with genes from more than one species. The process involves laboratories and scientists followed by regulators, lawyers and lobbyists. There is nothing natural about it. So when biotech argues that the techniques for creating GMO crops are just like traditional crop breeding techniques, those statements are blatantly false.The First FrankenfoodOne of the first GMO crops to be put on the market was Bt-corn. Bt-corn was made a few decades ago by combining the genes of a bacterium, [...]
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April 8, 2015

How To Build Your Own Polytunnel to Grow Food All Year

Polytunnels seem to be popping up all over the place – and with good reason! They’re a fantastic gardening tool that can increase crop size, extend the growing season, and protect your plants from the elements. And, you get all of these benefits without the hassle that comes with erecting a permanent structure such as a greenhouse. Around 90% of people who purchase pre-made polytunnels choose to erect them themselves, because it’s incredibly simple to do, and can save a significant chunk of cash compared to hiring a handyman or builder to do it for you. So here’s an easy guide to walk you through the process of building your very own polytunnel.What Is a Polytunnel?Basically [...]
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April 7, 2015

MSU Organic Farming Study Explores Benefits of Using Sheep

Montana State University (MSU) and North Dakota State University conducted a two year study on using domestic sheep versus traditional farming equipment to manage fallow and terminate cover crops.Montana is the third largest producer of organic crops and livestock in the US.Organic Farmer Benefits:Save money Reduce tillage Manage weeds Manage pests Reduce the risk of soil erosion The study’s preliminary results are showing several environmental and economic benefits for an integrated cropping and livestock system.Tillage is used to terminate cover crops and rid unwanted weeds for the organic farm. Continuous mechanical tilling can upset soil structure and reduce organic matter. [...]
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April 7, 2015

Organic Milk Supply is in Demand

Organic milk sales for 2014 were up 9.2% from 2013. 2014 sales of conventional mail were down 3.6% from last year. Milk sales were estimated by the USDA to be 50.12 billion. 2.47 billion came from organic milk sales.The consumer demand for fluid organic milk is increasing and the stores are having a hard time keeping their shelves stocked to meet this demand. Reports of the shortage of organic milk were mostly coming from independent natural food stores and regional supermarket chains in the Midwest.Wisconsin has the most organic dairies and stores in the state had to post signs warning of the milk shortage. Many store managers in Madison claims milk sales have doubled in the past [...]
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April 7, 2015

Goodbye Cow Milk, Hello Goat Milk

Goat milk still trails distantly behind cow milk in the American marketplace and mindset. It just isn’t that easy to swap out one of the most basic essentials in the American kitchen (just ask those who eat gluten-free, or drink tea rather than coffee). But goat milk has had a renaissance in the past decade or so, pushed by a variety of disparate factors, according to the AP. Could it eventually compete with cow milk?One factor in the uptick in goat milk sales are its purported health benefits. Though it’s not substantially different, chemically speaking, from cow milk, it has some advantages: more calcium, magnesium, potassium and Vitamin C, for example. Though goat milk still has [...]
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April 7, 2015

Which Donkey Kicks Ass?

Gone are the days when the lowly long-ear’s only prospect was to be a beast of burden, banished to the fields. Today, donkeys are sought out as riding animals, livestock companions, novelty cart-pullers and flock guardians. There are rare breeds gaining recognition, from the hearty Andalusian to the shaggy Poitou. And, for the down-on-his-luck donkey, there are even rescue programs. If you’re looking for one of your own, you’re in luck: You might say we’re in a donkey renaissance. (Or a donkey ren-assance?)“Donkeys have always been steady and reliable,” says Leah Patton of the American Donkey and Mule Society. “They live longer on less feed and are in general easier to get along with [...]
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April 7, 2015

The Nourishing Homestead

Ben and Penny Hewitt take a holistic approach to farming 40 acres in northern Vermont — their experience as farmers has led them to a way of life that prioritizes natural rhythms, respect for nature and a rejection of consumerism.They have come to refer to this ethos as “practiculture,” a catch-all term for the farming techniques they use as well as the “belief that cultivating our soil, skills, and spirits on this land and in this community is far more practical than relying on industry for the essentials of our wellbeing.”The Nourishing Homestead reads as part back-to-the-land missive, part guide to the workings of a full-time family farm, from soil quality to butter production. [...]
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April 7, 2015

A 45-Page, Handwritten, Illustrated Essay From an Amish Organic Farmer

The Modern Farmer team got a treat via parcel post last month.
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April 7, 2015

Taiwan Expanding into Indoor LED-lit, Pesticide-Free Farms

Chang Chen-kai is part of Taiwan's new generation of high-tech farmers that is harnessing the island's technological edge in light-emitting diodes to grow vegetables indoors under bright LED lights.
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