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A Physician’s View: We Must Have Legislators Supporting True Healthcare Reform

It is time to acknowledge that the private, profit-making “nonprofit” corporate model is failing nearly all of us. Healthcare is a crisis for most people across the U.S., particularly in our rural areas. People delay going to the doctor because of $7,000 to $13,000 deductibles. Local newspapers announce benefit events to finance a child’s expensive…  Read More

Farm Beginnings Profile: Running it Through the Mill

On an afternoon in late June, west-central Minnesota farmers Anne and Peter Schwagerl walk out of the bright sun into the deep shade of an old granary that has six separate storage areas for various kinds of harvested crops—a throwback to an era when most Midwestern farms produced more than corn and soybeans. On many…  Read More

Speak Up for Healthcare that Puts People Before Profits

The Minnesota State Legislature has until midnight on Monday, May 22, to decide on a budget for Minnesota. As of today, no budgets have been passed. Things change by the hour, with important decisions happening behind closed doors, away from public input. The bottom line is that, without citizens in the room, who will be…  Read More

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

“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 Sanskrit Scriptures, which date back to 1500 BC. For a…  Read More

Carbon, Cattle & Conservation Grazing

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…  Read More

Is Spending 1/2 of Your Income on Healthcare Sustainable?

The Minnesota HealthCare Financing Task Force is meeting today to vote on recommendations by the work groups, which will then be sent on to the state Legislature. I am especially concerned about the much-needed recommendation to increase MinnesotaCare eligibility from 200 percent (current level) to 275 percent of the federal poverty level, which is the…  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

Continuous Learning About Continuous Living Cover

When it comes to introducing and supporting innovative sustainable farming practices, nothing beats a field day. Such events provide an opportunity for farmers to see firsthand how profitable, environmentally sound production practices are performing on their neighbor’s land under climatic, agronomic and economic conditions they can relate to. Studies have shown that while sustainable farming…  Read More

Extinction: Predicting the Future by Creating it

I originally downloaded the audio version of Elizabeth Kolbert’s new book, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, to simply keep me awake during a long wintry drive across the southern part of Minnesota and through the heart of Iowa. But by the time I arrived at my destination—a national conference on cover crops and soil…  Read More