Posts Tagged: Land Stewardship Project

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 »

Forever Green Receives $1 Million

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

The Minnesota Legislature took a major step last week toward supporting the kind of agriculture that can green up our landscape in a way that’s economically viable for farmers. Conference committee negotiations produced $1 million for Forever Green, an innovative University of Minnesota research initiative involving cover crops and perennial plant systems. Funding for this… 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 »

Sand, Land & Land Stewardship

Posted by & filed under agriculture, clean air, Clean Energy, clean energy development, clean energy future, Energy, Food and Sustainable Agriculture, Land Conservation, Loon Commons blog.

By Johanna Rupprecht, Land Stewardship Project For longer than I can remember, my family has taken the same route from our farm in southeast Minnesota to visit my grandparents in north-central Wisconsin. The first leg of the four-hour trip takes us across the Mississippi River and through the farmland, pastures and rolling, wooded hills of… 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 »

Cover Crops: Not Just Foul Weather Friends

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

Cover crops proved themselves foul weather friends during the Great Drought of 2012. A groundbreaking farmer survey conducted in the Upper Mississippi River watershed showed that during that year’s brutal growing season keeping the soil covered with small grains and other plants helped fields preserve enough precious moisture to provide a yield bump of, in… Read more »

Snirt: A Stain on the Landscape

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

A drive through Farm Country this winter is a revelatory experience. Revelatory in that the impacts of planting the landscape to monocultures of corn and soybeans and plowing the ground black as soon after harvest as possible are there for all to see. The revealer? All that “snirt” one sees in road ditches across the… Read more »

Prepping Prairie Strips for the Real World

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

Gary Van Ryswyk’s concern for how his farming methods impact the landscape is obvious. A practitioner of a no-till system that avoids disturbing a field’s surface as much as possible, he is particularly focused on keeping soil in place. “None of us who farm want the soil to move—we care,” Van Ryswyk told me one… Read more »

A Disappearing World Beneath Our Feet

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

As Midwestern farm fields take a long winter’s nap, evidence is piling up that even when the temperature’s above freezing, all that soil is basically in a bit of a stupor—so devoid of microbial life that it can’t even produce a decent crop without getting a hit of chemical inputs. The latest proof of this… Read more »