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The Crop Insurance Conundrum

More Evidence that a Safety Net has Morphed into a Web of Destruction

When one sees the word “unambiguously” used in a carefully researched academic paper, it’s time to take notice. For example,  a recent Journal of Policy Modeling study reports results that are “…unambiguously suggestive of a crop insurance policy regime that is biased in the direction of increasing consolidation in crop farming….” That conclusion is based on…  Read More

Getting a Bio-Reaction from Soil

How Farmers Involved in an LSP Project Hope to Use the Johnson-Su Composter to Boost Biology

Calling all microbe enthusiasts! Looking to learn about better composting methods that encourage the soil biome to thrive, all with minimal effort? Then you may be interested in research the Land Stewardship Project and some of our farmer-members are doing on the “Johnson-Su Composting Bioreactor.” Developed by molecular biologist and research scientist David Johnson, along…  Read More

Ear to the Ground No. 257: The House that Biology Built

Tillage can do a lot of things, but building soil isn’t one of them. Soil expert Steve Lawler and Minnesota farmer Jon Jovaag talk about the importance of using nature as a guide when preparing a seed bed and bolstering the soil’s structure. • For more information on how to build soil health profitably, check…  Read More

Ear to the Ground 266: Activating Soil Life

How farmers involved in an LSP research project hope to use the Johnson-Su Bioreactor composting system to spark a chain reaction of underground ecological activity.  More information: • An LSP Slideshow on Johnson-Su Bioreactor Construction in Minnesota • How to Build Your Own Bioreactor • Managing a Johnson-Su Composting Bioreactor • Microbiologist Elaine Ingham You can…  Read More

Ear to the Ground 264: Center of the Universe

Pack-shed or people? LSP’s Journeyperson helped vegetable producers Les Macare and Els Dobrick make a big decision about a recent growing season. More information: • Land Stewardship Letter Racing Heart Farm profile • LSP’s Journeyperson Course • LSP’s Farm Beginnings Course • Racing Heart Farm You can find LSP Ear to the Ground podcast episodes…  Read More

Ear to the Ground 262: A Silvo Secondary Enterprise

Rachel Henderson and Anton Ptak’s secondary enterprise could be a boon for farm country pollinators. (In 2010, Henderson and Ptak were featured on Ear to the Ground soon after they launched their orchard enterprise. Check out episode 78 here.) More information: • LSP’s Farm Beginnings Course • LSP’s Journeyperson Course • LSP’s Grazing & Soil Health web…  Read More

Ear to the Ground No. 254: Mastering an Evolutionary Monster

Farmer Tom Frantzen talks about hybrid rye, ecological resiliency, and why being uncomfortable isn’t always a bad thing. • To read the Civil Eats article on hybrid rye — “Hybrid Rye is Helping Farmers Fight ‘Superweeds’ Without Herbicide” — click here. • To read the Land Stewardship Letter article on hybrid rye — “A Grain…  Read More

Farm Beginnings Profile: A Raw Deal on Farmland

Using Farm Beginnings & Soil Health to Push Marginal Land Beyond Expectations

There are upsides to launching a farm on raw, open land: no broken-down outbuildings or junk piles to deal with, the ability to truly start anew from the soil up. Then…there’s the other side of the fence, so to speak. “I decided to move the sheep before they move themselves,” says Hannah Bernhardt with a…  Read More

Ear to the Ground No. 253: The Power of Local Meat Processing

Livestock producer Eric Klein of Hidden Stream Farm describes why and how his family launched its own meat processing business. It’s been a financial and logistical challenge, but a few years down the road it’s already producing benefits for their farm as well as the local community. If you’re thinking of getting into small-scale meat…  Read More