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2020 Legislative Session: What Happened & What’s Next

The past few months have been harder than ever for thousands of Minnesotans. Our communities were already facing a serious farm crisis, inaccessible and unaffordable healthcare, increasing impacts of climate change, corporate consolidation across our economy, and more. On top of that, a pandemic has wreaked havoc on our healthcare system, farm and food system,…  Read More

‘Caring for the Land’ with Cover Crops, the Roller-Crimper & Spring CC Seeding

I “care for” 50 acres of certified organic cropland east of Caledonia in southeastern Minnesota. Although small in acreage, I am intent upon building back my soil using alternative farming practices like roller-crimping winter rye and spring-seeding rye before soybeans. I’d like to share some insights I’ve gathered while figuring out how to implement these…  Read More

Helping a Pasture Reach its True Potential

“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…  Read More

Feed the Plant, Starve the Soil

There are lots of reminders out there that we have a long ways to go before building soil health becomes a mainstay of our food and farming system. Some reminders are subtle, while others are about as blunt as a baseball bat to the head. A reminder of the latter variety is featured in the…  Read More

Healthy Soil, Healthy Farms, Healthy Communities (2nd of 2 parts)

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 Thursday afternoon in early September. As he says this, he’s beckoning some 120 farmers and others to follow…  Read More

Stripping Erosion Control to its Bare Essentials

While walking through a knee-high prairie planted on a central Iowa hillside Tuesday, I happened to look down. Trapped amongst all that vegetation was an impressive amount of rich, black glacial soil, the kind that produces record crop yields. And just a few feet away was the source of that soil: a soybean field planted…  Read More