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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

Farmland Need Not be a Sacrificial Lamb

During yesterday’s otherwise excellent field day at the USDA’s soil conservation lab in Morris, the “S” word reared its ugly head. “S” as in our best farmland needs to be “sacrificed” in the name of food and fuel production, leaving room for only an odd corner here and there to provide a smattering of natural…  Read More

Denying the Science, Derailing the Solutions

I talked to a Todd County farmer yesterday who uses 100 percent no-till and other conservation measures to raise his crops. Conserving soil is important to him, and so he’s quite upset at how mobile humus has been on neighboring farms this fall/early winter. “You know that little skiff of snow we got the other…  Read More

Midwestern Farmers Invited to Answer this Question: What Do YOU Want in the New Farm Bill? 

Farmers in Minnesota, Iowa & Wisconsin Asked to Participate in New Survey

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — As discussions around the 2023 Farm Bill get off the ground, a key group of people are being asked to share their views on the future of agricultural policy: farmers. During the next several weeks, the Land Stewardship Project (LSP) is circulating the National Young Farmer Survey in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin in…  Read More

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

Spring Wind Farm

Come out to your farm each week, enjoy spending time with the land and your fellow CSA members, and choose exactly which veggies you want to take home! We don’t box our produce…instead we display your food like a produce stand and tell you how many pounds to take based on your share size (choose…  Read More

Making Room for Relationships

How Journeyperson is Helping Racing Heart Pace Itself

Pack-shed or people? That’s the question Les Macare and Els Dobrick are grappling with on a dank day in mid-March as they brave a biting wind to inspect the garden plots, cover crops, and outbuildings on Racing Heart Farm in western Wisconsin. With the exception of some onions sprouting in one of the hoop houses,…  Read More

Ear to the Ground 263: Public Investment in Public Goods

Anna Racer and Pete Skold have used state and federal “spark plugs” to build a farm enterprise infrastructure that’s good not just for them, but the community as well. Back in 2012, we interviewed Racer and Skold soon after they graduated from Farm Beginnings and launched Waxwing Farm. Check out that conversation on Ear to…  Read More

Ear to the Ground 261: Pigs, Pastures & Pollinators

Nettle Valley Farm is using silvopasturing to prove ecological sustainability and profitable livestock production can coexist — creating healthy pollinator habitat in the bargain. LSP’s Ear to the Ground episode 265 describes Nettle Valley Farm’s beginning farmer incubator program. More information: • LSP’s Grazing & Soil Health web page • Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation…  Read More

Farm Transitions Profile: The Making of a Successful Farm Owner

When Timing is Everything, Sometimes it Pays to Manipulate the Calendar

Harvey Benson had a simple transition plan for the farm that had been in his family since the late 1860s: he would continue living on those 160 acres until he died, and then it would be passed on to his partner, Bonita Underbakke. In fact, when people ask him if he’s lived on the farm…  Read More