Posts By: Brian DeVore, Land Stewardship Project

Comment Period on Winona County Frac Sand Review Extended to Feb. 6

Posted by & filed under agriculture, Energy, Food and Sustainable Agriculture, Loon Commons blog, natural gas.

By Johanna Rupprecht, Land Stewardship Project The process of environmental review for frac sand mine proposals in Winona County has been seriously flawed from the start. But there’s still time for citizens to get involved and push for an in-depth, comprehensive review—otherwise known as an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)—that would show the full impacts these… Read more »

The (Growing) High Price of an Unreformed Crop Insurance Program

Posted by & filed under agriculture, Food and Sustainable Agriculture, Loon Commons blog.

By Adam Warthesen, Land Stewardship Project Just when you think the facts and figures around federal subsidized crop insurance can’t get any more outlandish, new numbers emerge exposing the out-of-control spending and lack of accountability for this area of farm policy. Earlier this month, USDA released the most recent data on crop insurance costs. It’s… Read more »

Teaming With Soil Microbes (part 2)

Posted by & filed under agriculture, Food and Sustainable Agriculture, Loon Commons blog.

Talking about the importance of feeding soil microbes is fine. Speaking with your feet is even better. “Take a closer look—anything you tramp down is just carbon in the soil,” quips soil conservationist Jay Fuhrer on a Friday afternoon in early September. As he says this, he’s beckoning some 120 farmers and others to follow… Read more »

Teaming with Soil Microbes (part 1)

Posted by & filed under agriculture, Food and Sustainable Agriculture, Loon Commons blog.

On a crisp morning in September, North Dakota farmer Gabe Brown held two handfuls of soil and searched for signs of life—theoretically not a difficult task considering one teaspoon of humus contains more organisms than there are humans in the world. But many of the bacteria and invertebrates that lurk in the dark basement of… Read more »

Pollinators in Peril

Posted by & filed under agriculture, Loon Commons blog.

As last week’s Congressional Research Service report on bee health makes clear, the crisis plaguing pollinators is not a single, big bad bogey man. It’s likely a combination of factors such as habitat loss, pesticide poisoning, introduced diseases and the stress of making domesticated honey bees the insect equivalent of migrant workers. That’s the bad… Read more »

Dust-to-Dust: Don’t Blame the Drought

Posted by & filed under agriculture, Food and Sustainable Agriculture, Loon Commons blog, rural.

I recently phoned members of my geographically far-flung family to give them Thanksgiving greetings and was struck by a common element of our ensuing conversations. From Iowa and Nebraska to Kentucky and Texas, the report was the same: drought, drought and more drought. I thought about that recently while watching the  new documentary, The Dust… Read more »

Why Restricting Voter Rights is Bad for the Land & its People

Posted by & filed under agriculture, Food and Sustainable Agriculture, Loon Commons blog.

By Mark Schultz Recently, the Land Stewardship Project joined “Our Vote, Our Future,” a coalition of over 70 organizations working to oppose the voter restriction amendment to the state constitution that is to be put before Minnesota voters Nov. 6. Why is an organization whose mission is stewardship of the land speaking out on this… Read more »

Interested in farming? Consider Morris Farm Beginnings

Posted by & filed under agriculture, Food and Sustainable Agriculture, Loon Commons blog.

By the time he was 20, Nolan Lenzen had already completed a dairy management course at a local college and launched a farming career in partnership with his father and grandfather. They were milking 90 cows in a tie-stall barn and cropping 300 acres near the south-central Minnesota community of Watertown. Some might say it… Read more »

Bud Markhart’s Sustainable Legacy

Posted by & filed under agriculture, Food and Sustainable Agriculture, Loon Commons blog.

The sustainable agriculture community lost a true friend this week when Bud Markhart passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. I had the opportunity to interview Markhart last fall for an LSP podcast. He was a professor of horticultural science at the U of M, and so it’s no surprise that he made his… Read more »

Senate Listens to Public & Makes Crop Insurance More Accountable to the Environment

Posted by & filed under agriculture, Food and Sustainable Agriculture, Loon Commons blog.

The  U.S. Senate passed its version of the 2012 Farm Bill this week. While it’s far from perfect, specific amendments related to conservation and accountability  that were passed during the floor vote give one hope that the voices of average citizens can be heard inside the Beltway. Let’s hope this is a sign of things… Read more »