Blog • Page 2

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  • Small Group Insurance Market May be an Option

    *This blog contains new information as of Nov. 1*

    The individual health insurance market, the place where many self-employed individuals purchase medical insurance is — candidly — a mess. Many Land Stewardship Project members are adversely affected by the current state of this market: premiums exploding, coverage choices dwindling, provider networks shrinking....

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  • Cover Crops: The Hardest Step is the 1st One

    Dean Richards (black sweatshirt) talked about why he grazes a field of rape/oats, a practice that saves him the cost of purchased feed, improves his herd health, adds fertility to this field, and gives his permanent pasture a rest.

    The telephone rang late one afternoon in early October. It was a call from a jubilant, if exhausted, dairy farmer who said he’d planted 20 acres of rye the previous night. He said he’d been attending Land Stewardship Project cover crop/soil health events and that despite the pitfalls of harvest, machinery and too much rain, he was determined to do something this year. “I just...

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  • A Leadership Transition at LSP

    I have been a member of the Land Stewardship Project since 2008, first joining through the Farm Beginnings program. Since then, and even before, as a grass-fed beef farmer, a professor of sustainable agriculture law issues, and now renting our farm fields to Farm Beginning’s graduates, I have observed and participated in...

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  • Carbon, Cattle & Conservation Grazing

    Integrating managed rotational grazing of livestock and conservation cropping systems makes farmland a net sink of greenhouse gases. Source: Journal of Soil & Water Conservation, 2016. CLICK IMAGE to ENLARGE

    Sometimes the rules of simple cause and effect don't directly apply. Take, for instance, the fact that cattle are ruminants, and like all ruminants they utilize a wonderfully complex digestive system to turn forages and grain into meat and milk. A major side effect of all that fermentation on four legs is the production of methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas.

    So cattle are major...

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  • From Frac Sand Mines to Pipelines: LSP Members Stand Up Against the Dakota Access Pipeline

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    In Boone County, Iowa, fertile farmland stretches as far as the eye can see. But as our van of Land Stewardship Project members rounded the corner on a rural road, we saw a disturbing sight: miles of black, vacant land where the landscape has been shaved to make way for the ...

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  • BOOST Dinner Source York Farm has a 50-Year Plan

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    Andy Cotter and Irene Genelin bring an eclectic background to farming. He studied mechanical engineering in college and she was a French major. They met while competing as elite unicyclists and were national champions in the pairs competition (think ice dancing on one wheel), as well as individual world champions in various categories.

    They also share a passion for good food as well as...

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  • Sen. Klobuchar: Consider the True Economic Costs of TPP

    Dear Senator Klobuchar:

    In considering whether or not to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, I hope you will look beyond the positions of main stream economists who believe in more globalization of economic activity and seek out those...

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  • Farming Fit for a New Climate Reality

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    As Laura Lengnick makes clear, “resiliency” is all the rage these days. It seems the term is being tossed
    around by everyone from Wall Street investment bankers to wildlife biologists. That the term is in such vogue is a good thing. It’s an acknowledgement that whatever system we’re talking about—economic, ...

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  • Goals, Realities & Soil Health

    It’s been said that soil without biology is just geology—an accumulation of lifeless minerals unable to spawn healthy plant growth. And as intense monocropping production practices increasingly remove more life from the ground than they return, it sends that soil closer to fossilization via what conservationist Barry Fisher calls, “the spiral of degradation”: eroded,...

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  • Frac Sand Mining & Food Production Aren't Compatible

    In the 1980s, we helped start the Winona Farmers' Market in Winona, Minn. Today, downtown Winona is buzzing with activity on Saturday mornings, with 40 vendors selling vegetables, fruits, meats, flowers, baked goods, dairy, honey and all sorts of delicious and healthy products, all grown and processed within a 50-mile radius of Winona.

    The Farmers' Market has provided sustainable...

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  • Farm Beginnings Profile: A Decision-Making Community

    Finding the weakest link in a farming operation is often easier said than done. But sometimes a few energetic pigs accomplish the task quite nicely.

    “Today, fencing suddenly moved up the list as our weakest link,” quips Paul Freid on a brisk day in early May. He and his wife Sara, along with their 11-year-old daughter Clare, had just spent the morning grappling with that...

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  • Racism is Real, Deadly & Not Sustainable

    We are saddened and angered by the news that Philando Castile was shot and killed by police in front of his girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, just hours after Alton Sterling was killed by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families, and the series of events triggered by these killings is a tragedy that affects everyone...

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  • Making Our Farm & Food System Accountable

    There is no doubt a wide and abundant array of food is available in this country, but at what price? There is a lot of talk about our industrial system’s ability to make food like Big Macs and Big Gulps as cheap as possible. Nutritious, affordable food for all is critical. The problem is, all that “cheap food” actually comes with significant costs: air and water pollution,...

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  • Talking Conservation in Our Farm Leases

    With a single phrase, we can put conservation to work on rented land.

    And that would have a major impact from a landscape point of view: more than half the crops in Minnesota and Iowa alone are produced on rented acres, and every one of them could be saving soil, water, habitat and money with some mutually agreed statements set down between landowner and tenant. With a mission of land,...

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  • The Cropping Systems Calculator's Real World Roots

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    During my first meeting on a farm that was testing the Cropping Systems Calculator tool, there was plenty of skepticism about how this differed from the numerous other budget tools already available to farmers. This particular resource has been developed by the Land Stewardship Project through...

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  • LSP 2016 Legislative Wrap-up: Local Control, Sustainable Ag Funding & Healthcare

    The 2016 Minnesota legislative session ended at midnight on May 22 with the Land Stewardship Project engaged right until the end. Here is a summary of how the issues LSP was most engaged in fared during the session:

    👍Legislation weakening local control is defeated (HF 2585/ SF 2694). For decades, LSP has fended off efforts by corporate...

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  • LSP Helps Keep Local Control Strong (Again)

    During the recently concluded 2016 session of the Minnesota Legislature, the Land Stewardship Project and our allies stopped a significant attempt to weaken local control of controversial developments in the state.

    For decades, LSP has fended off efforts by corporate interests to limit local control of...

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  • Legislature: Move Forward, Not Backward, on MinnesotaCare

    NOTE: Land Stewardship Project Healthcare Organizing Committee member Al Kruse recently wrote this letter to the editor of the Marshall Independent:

    The April 27 Marshall Independent editorial about healthcare gets one important thing right: We have a lot of work to do to make quality, affordable healthcare available in our...

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  • We Rely on the Land, Not Frac Sand

    The Frac Sand Insider Conference is being held in La Crosse, Wis., today and tomorrow, with a projected 300 to 400 industry representatives expected to attend.

    Before the conference, the Alliance to Ban Frac Sand Mining and Address Climate Change, which the Land Stewardship Project belongs to,...

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  • A Hub of Soil Health Activity

    NRCS soil health specialist Barry Fisher (left), shown with CCSI "Soil Hub" farmers Dan DeSutter and Michael Werling. CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

    How Indiana is using cover cropping and early adopters as 'gateways' into a deeper understanding of sustainable soil management.

    It’s an overcast August morning in northeastern Indiana, and in a massive machine shed well stocked with the tools of a modern row crop operation, some 60 farmers are being reminded that growing corn and soybeans is about more than iron, oil...

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  • Bringing the Land & People Together in Mexico

    The Pochote organic market provides a place for campesinos and local producers to sell their goods. (Photo courtesy of Eric Nelson) CLICK IMAGE to ENLARGE

    On day two of our trip, we visited EDUCA (which stands for the Spanish equivalent of "Services for an Alternative Education"), an NGO located in Oaxaca City. It was housed in a two-story building, with a wall out front and a formidable door.

    EDUCA was formed in 1994 to promote civil participation, indigenous rights and...

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  • Farming in Mexico: In the Presence of Revolutionaries

    Farmer Román Kruz shows ears of native corn varieties to trip participants. (Photo courtesy of Eric Nelson) CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

    We didn’t realize the counter-cultural nature of the visit we made to Espacio Kruz. Because we didn’t know the history of the uprising in the state of Oaxaca that created the Holy Virgin of the Barricades.

    What Román Kruz and his family are doing on their small piece of property looks like homesteading and simple living. But it is so much more than that. It is validating...

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  • Tillage Radish: Tapping into the 2-Way Street of Innovation

    Tillage radish can grow two feet long and send taproots as deep as six feet into the soil. CLICK TO ENLARGE

    When I started working with the Land Stewardship Project on the Chippewa 10% Project, the work felt far away. Based out of Minneapolis, I was working on the ...

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  • Legislators: Put Water Before Corporations

    Dear Senators,

    I am writing to urge that the Natural Resources, Economic Development and Agricultural Budget Committee NOT approve a Pineland Sands Land and Water Study. Let me be clear: this proposal is NOT an appropriate allocation of "conservation" funds or, for that matter, any tax-supported funds. The so-called "need" for this study would NOT even exist if R.D. Offutt were NOT...

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  • Pacing Ourselves in the World Hunger Race

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    In the late 1790s and early 1800s, British economist Thomas Robert Malthus Imageused mathematics, the agronomic reality of the day and basic biology to lay out a grim assessment...

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