Blog • Page 2

Page 2 of 12
  • Across Rural Minnesota, People are Saying NO to Factory Farms

    Image

    NOTE: On Monday, Jan. 30, farmers and rural residents of Goodhue County’s Zumbrota Township gathered at the headquarters of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). They expressed their outrage that the MPCA prioritized rubber-stamping a proposed factory hog farm above protecting their...

    Read more...

  • The Beauty Beneath Our Feet

    Everything from "prom dress" fabric to paint dribbled over rocks went into creating Foutch's "Soil Horizon" piece. (CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE)

    For an artist, it’s always nice to get a little public recognition—it helps make up for all those hours spent alone in the studio. So when Deborah Foutch’s piece, “Soil Horizon,” won a blue ribbon at the Minnesota State Fair in 2015, she was thrilled. But even more exciting was that the artwork—it uses various pieces of painted fabric to represent the...

    Read more...

  • People Power Wins in Winona County

    NOTE: At the Land Stewardship Project's event celebrating the passage of the Winona County frac sand ban in southeastern Minnesota, LSP Winona County Organizing Committee members reflected on their involvement and the work that went into organizing the successful campaign for a ban. Committee...

    Read more...

  • Commissioner Stine: Protect Family Farms & Get Environmental Review Right on Factory Hog Farm

    Image

    My family and I operate a dairy farm in Goodhue County's Zumbrota Township in southeastern Minnesota. My father bought our farm in 1942, and I have lived on this land my whole life. My wife, my sister, my brother and I milk cows and raise corn, soybeans and alfalfa. We’re proud of the life we’ve built off the land, and we rely on the clean air and water in Zumbrota Township.

    ...

    Read more...

  • Connecting with Farmers in SE MN at a Critical Time for our Soil

    Image

    "Upon this handful of soil our survival depends. Husband it and it will grow our food, our fuel, our shelter, and surround us with beauty. Abuse it and the soil will collapse and die, taking humanity with it.”

    This quote was taken from the Vedas...

    Read more...

  • Helping a Pasture Reach its True Potential

    Image

    “What? Did you sell your cows?!?” This was the response from my neighbor, who had stopped by several years ago after seeing my pasture covered with 2.5-foot-tall grass. “I have never seen this pasture with grass longer than a golf green in nearly 30 years; you must have sold the cows!”

    This is a good description of where I started several years ago. I am the...

    Read more...

  • CCC: Cover, Cattle, Clean Water

    A rain simulation shows how continuous living cover reduces surface runoff of water while increasing how much moisture infiltrates through the soil profile.

    Andy Marcum’s eye-opener was when he walked a ridge on his farm soon after snowmelt and noted the ground was speckled with the delicate, purple pedals of pasque flowers—more than he’d ever seen in his life. For Dan Jenniges, the aha moment came when he realized that he was grazing more cattle on fewer acres, and yet still had plenty of grass available at the end of the...

    Read more...

  • MPCA: Listen to the People of Zumbrota Township

    Zumbrota Township residents present concerns to a packed MPCA meeting.

    On Monday, Dec. 12, I attended the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA) public informational meeting at Zumbrota City Hall. Fellow Zumbrota Township neighbors packed the conference room to show that we have serious concerns about a factory hog farm threatening to move into our...

    Read more...

  • Restoring Stewardship on a Worn-Out Farm

    Tom & Lisa Hoekstra

    After a lifetime of working for others in agricultural jobs, and retired after a career with the postal service, Tom Hoekstra and his wife, Lisa, bought a 150-acre farm outside of Plainview in southeastern Minnesota. Tom was 59 when they bought the farm in 2009. Right after their purchase, they immediately went to work re-building the soil and enhancing wildlife habitat. Tom and Lisa recently...

    Read more...

  • Returning Home to Farm, Committed to a Conservation Tradition & Building Soil

    Connor McCormick shows off a cover crop stand on his family's farm this fall. (Click Image to Enlarge)

    After receiving my degree from St. Olaf College last spring, I have returned to the family farm outside Caledonia, Minn. I come home with a deeper understanding that soil rich in organic matter and biota can function more efficiently than biologically deprived soils.

    Having grown up on this small southeastern Minnesota beef and crop farm, I have experienced, and have heard from my dad...

    Read more...

  • One Farmer's Journey: No-till, Cover Crops, Improved Soil Health & Yields

    Myron Sylling

    My journey into conservation started as a teenager in the mid-1980s— I was tired of picking rocks every year and filling ditches from erosion on a regular basis. We had changed to mulch-till by then to...

    Read more...

  • Protecting the Water, Protecting the Land

    This spring, a marketing firm hired by WEC Energy Group stopped by our farm a number of times. They wanted us to sign an agreement allowing an Environmental Impact Statement to be done so that a natural gas pipeline could be laid through our front field. We worried that all the work that we had done improving that field would be for naught if it were disturbed for the project. We also feared...

    Read more...

  • Soil Health Past, Present & Future on one SE MN Farm

    With the soil profile in the background, southeastern Minnesota farmer Curt Tvedt talks about soil health with Erin Walkenshaw of the Granary Project. (Click image to enlarge)

    NOTE: Southeastern Minnesota farmer and Land Stewardship Project member Curt Tvedt recently talked to LSP staffer Shona Snater about why he is excited about building soil health on his farm. Below is an excerpt of Tvedt’s thoughts:

    The soil scientists say there are more living species in a tablespoon of soil than there are people on the...

    Read more...

  • Water Quality & Farming: Looking for the Long View

    Dan Jenniges with a cover crop mix he used to prepare a seedbed for pasture improvement. (click image to enlarge)

    The Star Tribune newspaper recently ran an in-depth series of articles about the environmental risks faced by our Minnesota waterways, focusing on the Upper Mississippi, the Red River and the Chippewa River. The last article in the series...

    Read more...

  • 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....

    Read more...

  • 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...

    Read more...

  • 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...

    Read more...

  • 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...

    Read more...

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

    Image

    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 ...

    Read more...

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

    Image

    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...

    Read more...

  • 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...

    Read more...

  • Farming Fit for a New Climate Reality

    Image

    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, ...

    Read more...

  • 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,...

    Read more...

  • 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...

    Read more...

  • 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...

    Read more...