Posts Tagged: diversity

Soil Health: Numbers vs. Knowing

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

Sometimes it takes a bit of an evangelist to remind us that praying at the altar of facts and figures can blind one to how they all connect in the bigger picture. In the case of production systems that build soil health, that preacher is Ray Archuleta. “The soil is naked, hungry, thirsty and running… Read more »

A Graphic View of Diversity’s Power

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

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a good infographic can be the equivalent of thousands of pounds of soil. That thought occurred to me recently while viewing the cool illustration below. Produced by scientists who are studying the effects of adding some targeted diversity to row-cropped fields in central Iowa, it tells… Read more »

Forever Green & Highly Efficient Agriculture

Posted by & filed under agriculture, Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, Food and Sustainable Agriculture, Loon Commons blog, Water.

To understand why the Forever Green Initiative is so important to the future of Minnesota’s landscape, one has to consider this: there is a big difference between agricultural productivity and agricultural efficiency. In states like Minnesota, the spectacular productivity of our corn-soybean system is evident: bin busting yields are the norm. But there’s a lot… Read more »

Cover Crops: Insuring Against Disaster

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

Thanks to the recently passed 2014 Farm Bill, federally subsidized crop insurance is an even bigger player in determining what the landscape looks like. That’s troubling, considering that in recent years that impact has been mostly negative, since the program removes most of the risk associated with plowing up acres formerly considered too erosive, wet… Read more »

Our Nitrogen Pollution Solution? Livestock, Land & People

Posted by & filed under agriculture, Food and Sustainable Agriculture, Groundwater management, Loon Commons blog, Water fees.

By Jim VanDerPol In October, I told the Minnesota House Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Finance Committee that we had begun to listen to our farm, an assertion lawmakers heard with some surprise. The occasion was testimony around the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s presentation of its “Nitrogen in Minnesota Surface Waters” report, which showed among… 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 »

Relax Farmers: Climate Change is Good for You (Not)

Posted by & filed under Food and Sustainable Agriculture, Global Warming.

In 1989, I worked for a farm magazine that claimed global climate change, if real, would actually be good for agriculture since rising carbon dioxide levels would act as some sort of mega plant growth promoter. During the past seven days, I’ve seen firsthand what happens when extreme weather—which many scientists say is an offshoot… Read more »

A Street Corner Mix

Posted by & filed under Food and Sustainable Agriculture.

Sholom Rubashkin was sentenced to 27 years in federal prison on Monday, marking yet another chapter in Postville, Iowa’s, tragic relationship with Agriprocessors Inc. I thought about this relationship the other day while sitting in a Mexican restaurant on Postville’s main drag, enjoying a burrito the size of my forearm. Recommend on Facebook Share on… Read more »