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Minnesota Hotline to Growing Organic Food Now Online

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 By Jim Wishner/David Law, Contact
December 18, 2006

St. Paul, MN - A new toll-free hotline offers Minnesota and Midwest farmers tips about switching to organic production. If you call, Harriet Behar will answer. She's a certified organic farmer and trainer from Gays Mills, Wisconsin, who says farmers are "going organic" for various reasons.

"Part of it is a price premium they receive in the marketplace. Some of it is that the organic farming methods are environmentally-friendly and stress an independent sort of farming with less input."

Behar says sales of organic products are increasing at a rate of about 20 percent a year.

"Consumers choose organic, some for their own health and some for the environmentally-friendly methods that are used by the farmers. A lot of people say the organic food tastes better. Now, there's some science behind that; there are higher antioxidants in organic food, mostly because the soil that they're grown in is more balanced and more biologically active."

She notes that organic isn't just about crops and produce. Feed suppliers, processors, dairies and livestock farms are also going organic, and the hotline is designed to advise them, too. The hotline number is 888-551-4769.

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