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When Buildings Are More Than Buildings

When a business closes in a rural community, the following 24 months or so are key. Whether it be a farm, small town grocery or repair shop, if the real estate it occupied is still lacking a day-to-day human presence a year or two down the road, it sends a troubling message about the future…  Read More

The Grass Master’s Apprentice

An Innovative Farming System Requires Innovative Training One sign that you’re a solid employee is that the boss hates the idea of you walking out the door, never to return. So let’s consider the case of Ryan Heinen, who has worked on the west-central Minnesota dairy farm of Nate and Angie Walter for the past…  Read More

LSP Promotes CSP at a Critical Time

This week, the Land Stewardship Project is reaching out to farmers across Minnesota and Wisconsin with an important message: now is the time to sign-up for a program that rewards you for practices that produce positive conservation benefits on the land. The deadline for enrolling in the current Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) round of contracts…  Read More

Nightmare Before Christmas: Winona County Gets Frac Sand Review Wrong (Again)

This fall, LSP uncovered serious errors in the process of environmental review that was being done on proposed frac sand mines in Minnesota’s Winona County. Eventually, the county acknowledged that the problems we pointed out needed to be corrected, and started the environmental review process over in November. Unfortunately, the county’s second attempt at environmental…  Read More

Renting It Out Right: A Hilltop View of the Land’s Potential

Mark Erickson’s Relationship with Landowners is Rooted in Healthy Soil

When considering significant changes to the way one farms, there’s nothing like a couple acres of convincer, a template for the potential offered up by tapping into the land’s ability to build soil health in an economically viable manner utilizing livestock and perennial plants. Mark Erickson points out just such a personal proving ground on…  Read More

A Dairy Farm Rises From the Ashes

Not long ago, Rich and Carol Radtke were on a bit of a roll. They had graduated from the Land Stewardship Project’s Farm Beginnings course and felt the program had provided them a solid basis for developing a profitable farming operation on land they and their three children moved to in 2008. Before taking the…  Read More

Farm Transitions: That Farm on Highway 40

A Pioneering Organic Operation, a Trial Run, & the Next Generation Black, ominous clouds were approaching fast, and Luke Peterson was in a bit of a panic as he stood next to his tractor parked in an 80-acre soybean field, scanning the sky. Hooked up to that tractor was a rotary hoe, and before this…  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

The Beauty Beneath Our Feet

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…  Read More

I See Cover Cropping as an Investment in the Future

Cover crops and soil health are hot topics now. My Albert Lea Seed House catalog now offers not only the old standards like clovers and rye, but also specialized multi-species “cocktails,” daikon type radishes brand named “tillage radish,” transplants from drier locales like cowpea, and pollinator- friendly species like phacelia. If you are like me…  Read More