Posts Tagged: soil erosion

Grazing, Cover Crops, Climate Change & Resilience

Posted by & filed under agriculture, climate change, Food and Sustainable Agriculture, Global Warming, Loon Commons blog.

The best farming system in the world means little if it isn’t resilient enough to bounce back from all the nastiness nature can toss its way. That’s become painfully clear in recent years as extreme weather events increase in frequency. Two upcoming Land Stewardship Project field days will focus on how diverse farming systems can… 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 »

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 »

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 »

Rolling Our Land To Death

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

I sat in a farmhouse one afternoon last month as a hot wind lifted rich topsoil from surrounding fields. On the drive in, I’d noticed a surprising amount of rill erosion on newly tilled cropland—surprising because recent rains had not been all that intense and the fields were not unusually steep. Out of the blue… Read more »

Crop Insurance: A Safety Net Becomes a Threat

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

When it comes to the crop insurance sweepstakes, southwest Minnesota farmer Darwyn Bach is a winner. But he concedes that his good fortune presents a quandary, since the way the program is implemented these days creates significant losers: the soil, beginning farmers and Main Street businesses that suffer when the number of families in a… Read more »

Denying the Science, Derailing the Solutions

Posted by & filed under Food and Sustainable Agriculture, Water.

I talked to a Todd County farmer yesterday who uses 100 percent no-till  and other conservation measures to raise his crops. Conserving soil is important to him, and so he’s quite upset at how mobile humus has been on neighboring farms this fall/early winter. “You know that little skiff of snow we got the other… Read more »

Let’s Stop Treating Soil Conservation Like Dirt

Posted by & filed under Food and Sustainable Agriculture.

Here’s the bad news: it turns out the USDA’s estimates that soil erosion rates are under control across the Corn Belt—something we reported in this blog last June—are probably overly optimistic, according to a report released a few days ago. The good news? Actually, there is none in this case. The same week this report… Read more »

USDA Secretary: You Can Make Conservation History

Posted by & filed under Food and Sustainable Agriculture.

An April 1 letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack from LSP Associate Director Mark Schultz: Congress and the Obama Administration are currently evaluating measures aimed at reducing federal spending for the present fiscal year and for 2012. The deficit reduction theme undoubtedly becomes more difficult in practice when actual program cuts and sacrifices are required…. Read more »