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Source: Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service news release

North Dakota seed and grain farmers, David, Ginger, Dan and Theresa Podoll of Prairie Road Organic Farm and Seed in Fullerton, ND, are the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) 2014 Organic Farmers of the Year. The Podolls will be presented with the award on Friday, February 28th in La Crosse, Wis. at the 25th MOSES Organic Farming Conference.

MOSES Executive Director Faye Jones sees the Podolls as ideal representatives of the organic movement. "Organic farming is about stewardship," she says, "the Podolls showcase the values integrated in certified organic production: stewardship of soil, water and other natural resources while supporting diversity in both crops and the wild."

Certified organic since 1977, Prairie Road Organic Farm encompasses 480 acres dedicated to small grains and regional organic vegetable variety seed production. Through Prairie Road Organic Seed, the Podolls offer 27 varieties of vegetable seeds and four small grains--including triticale, hairy vetch, and buckwheat--adapted to thrive in the Northern Plains region.

The Podolls' work in both the grain and vegetable operation focuses on harvesting the best and planting back generation after generation to produce varieties that are enduring and specifically adapted to the northern plains environment. Special care is used in selecting plants that thrive in planting and pollination windows that prevent cross-pollination with GMO crops.

The Podolls are at the forefront of a growing interest in research dedicated to organic production practices. Their vegetable plots are virtually constant research incubators. As founding members of the Northern Plains Farm Breeding Club, the Podolls work with plant breeders to develop varieties well suited to organic production, increase diversity in rotations and expand the use of regionally relevant seeds.

"Farming must be an artful venture," David explains. "Seeds are a sacred thing. Everything we have now is built on farmers selecting seeds for millennia. All of that genetic diversity is a great gift. Seeds should not be owned, patented, or controlled."

The Podolls will give a presentation about their farm and seed business at the Conference on Thursday evening and will receive their Organic Farmer of the Year award Friday morning. This year, MOSES is expecting almost 3,400 farmers, educators, researchers, and others to attend the 25th anniversary MOSES Conference.

MOSES is a non-profit organization working to promote sustainable and organic agriculture through trainings, workshops, educational initiatives, and by providing resources to farmers striving to produce high-quality, healthful food using organic and sustainable techniques.

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