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Ear to the Ground No. 258: Prairie’s Horizontal Grandeur

What happens when you get out of the car and wade into a prairie? A scientist and a soil expert talk about this biome’s under-appreciated beauty, its outsized benefits, and how grazing can fuel its ecological energy.   Other Ear to the Ground Podcasts on Prairies & Farming: • Episode 25: The farm as natural…  Read More

Ear to the Ground No. 259: Kernza’s Stress Test

In his ongoing attempt to create a regenerative, soil-healthy farm, Kaleb Anderson is pushing a plant science breakthrough further using rotational grazing. Other Ear to the Ground Podcasts on Kernza, Forever Green & Kaleb Anderson: • Episode 229: A farmer and a researcher discuss the potential agronomic, economic, and ecological benefits of a commercially-viable perennial…  Read More

LSP Land Line: Big Ag Gravy Train, Habitat Loss, Soil Health, Dairy Crisis, Nitrogen, Kernza

Sept. 25: An LSP Round-up of News Covering Land, People & Communities Very large farms collect one-fifth of USDA’s coronavirus payments (9/23/20) Chuck Abbott reports on Agriculture.com that the government’s COVID-19 payments to agriculture have been a gravy train for mega-operations. According to an analysis done by the Environmental Working Group, the largest 1% of…  Read More

Pollinators in Peril

As last week’s Congressional Research Service report on bee health makes clear, the crisis plaguing pollinators is not a single, big bad bogey man. It’s likely a combination of factors such as habitat loss, pesticide poisoning, introduced diseases and the stress of making domesticated honey bees the insect equivalent of migrant workers. That’s the bad…  Read More

Ear to the Ground No. 250: Letting Water Call the Shots

When Mark Erickson’s combine got stuck in the muck, he knew he needed to unearth a different relationship with the land. Mark Erickson was interviewed as part of the We Are Water initiative, which documented the stories of several farmers in the upper reaches of the Minnesota River watershed who are using innovative production methods…  Read More

Sustainable Ag’s Most Critical Conversation

What is the most critical discussion that needs to take place to ensure a sustainable food and farming system long into the future? Is it one on policy, farming techniques, green technology, consumer preferences or soil fertility? No. It’s the conversation that takes place between Nettie and Gerald during LSP’s play, Look Who’s Knockin’, which…  Read More

Good News on the Beginning Farmer Front

What with ridiculously high land prices and Washington’s inability to focus on agriculture long enough to pass a Farm Bill, it’s easy to get down about the prospects for beginning farmers these days. That’s why a national meeting held in Rochester, Minn., earlier this month was so important—not only because it proved that there are…  Read More

‘The Most Abused Chemical We’ve Ever Had in Agriculture’

Former Purdue University professor Don Huber is no chemo-phobe — he just hates to see a product of science go to waste. LSP’s podcast/PowerPoint presentation on the herbicide glyphosate featuring Huber makes that point. In the presentation, Huber comes across as a scientist who is profoundly disappointed that a sound crop production tool has, in…  Read More

Loving the Land Enough to Let it Go

While recording a recent LSP podcast interview with southwest Minnesota farmer Carmen Fernholz, I was reminded of how important it is that farmers identify closely with the land they’re producing a livelihood from. As Fernholz put it: “If you’re a good farmer you can’t help but become attached to the land. And when you become…  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