Posts Tagged: sustainable agriculture

Forever Green: Alternative, off-season crops could benefit economy as well as ecology

Posted by & filed under Loon Commons blog.

By Julie Lund of the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources Sciences (CFANS). Posted on CFANS website: http://www.cfans.umn.edu/about/solutions/forever-green   Minnesota has 27 million acres of farmland dominated by corn and soybeans. Over the years, as high-yield varieties were introduced, these food and feed crops edged out prairie and pastures, and the state’s… Read more »

Healthy Farms, Healthy Frogs, Healthy Land

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

While walking a piece of North Dakota landscape under a withering summer sun, one’s thoughts turn to moisture—or rather, the lack of it. So when I and other participants in a soil health tour kicked up signs of cool, shady places while traipsing across a hay field, it seemed like a mirage. Green-and-black leopard frogs… 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 »

Deadline for a Strengthened Sustainable Ag Grants Program Announced

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

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) announced yesterday that it will award up to $250,000 in 2014 for on-farm sustainable agriculture research or demonstration projects. That funding amount is good news: it marks a $150,000 increase from previous years. The Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program has supported farming innovations in the state for almost a… Read more »

Purebreds, Pluggers & Profitable Soil

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

On a recent August evening in south-central North Dakota, soil scientist Kristine Nichols laid out what I like to call the “purebred vs. the plugger” approach to farming. “With healthy soil, you may not out-yield your neighbor in the best years, but you will out perform them in the not-so-good years,” said Nichols, a soil… Read more »

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 »

Fertilizer, Fishing & Farmer Specht

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

Dan Specht, who was taken from us all too soon last week by a haying accident, was the embodiment of the stewardship farmer. His kind, curious nature—housed in a powerfully-built, bear-like body—was complemented nicely by a passion for the land. And he represented what may be our best bet for balancing food production with a… Read more »

Minnesota Farmers: CSP is on for 2013

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

By Adam Warthesen, Land Stewardship Project One of the nation’s most innovative working lands farm conservation initiatives has received a financial reprieve, thanks to the continuing resolution signed by President Barack Obama on Tuesday. The continuing resolution, which was passed by Congress late last week, appropriates funds to federal government agencies through the remainder of… Read more »

What CapX2020 (& Bad Public Policy) Could Destroy

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

As LSP’s latest action alert makes clear, the companies behind the CapX2020 high voltage line are trying to get away with not paying for the true value of the Minnesota farm operations they will be destroying. Unfortunately, the attitude that land which isn’t sprouting industrial infrastructure or subdivisions is nothing more than cheap”wasted space” is… 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 »