Blog

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  • LSP's Local Foods Listening Campaign Begins

    “We need to change this idea that food is a product or commodity,” said Land Stewardship Project member, farmer and leader, Josh Reinitz. “Food is not a product—it is our energy, our medicine, and is made by and for real people. Not consumers.”

    On Oct. 7, LSP members like Josh came together from across the state to launch LSP’s Local Foods Listening...

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  • When Nature Bites the Hand That Tills It

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    Tyler Carlson farms near “Gopher Prairie,” the fictional setting for Sinclair Lewis’s 1920 novel, Main Street. In the book, Lewis, who grew up in the real Gopher Prairie, otherwise known as Sauk Centre, used biting satire to poke fun at small town life. On this summer day, Carlson is finding the havoc burrowing rodents are raising in his part of central Minnesota...

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  • A Commitment to Racial Justice Helps Stop a Detention Center in Rural MN

    The Land Stewardship Project’s mission is to foster an ethic of stewardship of farmland, to promote sustainable agriculture and to develop healthy communities. LSP believes that private, for-profit immigration detention centers have no place in Minnesota. When we became aware that there was a proposal being considered in Pine Island, Minn., a group of concerned LSP members met at the...

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  • Protozoa, Pastures & Profits

    Innovative Farming Requires an Innovative Approach to Soil Health

    It’s a bright June day in southeastern Minnesota, and the hilly landscape is in full summer bloom. But as Chuck Henry watches his dairy herd graze a mix of winter wheat and Sudan grass, he has numbers on his mind: 33,000 bites per day, per cow; 300 pounds of dry matter per inch; six inches of forage...

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  • Perdue's SNAP 'Work Requirement' Comments Based on False, Damaging Assumptions

    It is becoming clearer that the chances of the U.S. Congress passing a new Farm Bill by the Sept. 30 deadline are slim. The main roadblock is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and the expanded work requirements called for in the House version. The...

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  • Soil Health: When the Neighbors Take Notice

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    Background: Land Stewardship Project Soil Builders Network member Willie Erdmann raises corn, soybeans, cover crops, hay, small grains, 100 beef steers and 25 beef cows on 300 acres near Ridgeway in southeastern Minnesota. On cropland, Willie is now almost entirely no-till, and has been using...

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  • The Healthcare Status Quo is Not Acceptable

    NOTE: Land Stewardship Project member Leslea Hodgson spoke at the HEALTHCARE-NOW conference in Minneapolis in June. LSP participated in the conference, which focused on organizing a grassroots movement around the principles of a healthcare system in which everyone is in and no one is left out. Below is an...

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  • Migrants are Not Expendable Commodities

    Recent revelations that at least 2,300 migrant children have been separated from their parents under U.S. President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy highlights an ugly fact: this country’s immigration policies are inhumane, divisive and...

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  • Bold Solutions Call for Bold Action

    Minnesota’s Next Governor Must Take Direct, Concrete Steps

    The people of Minnesota are beginning to consider what they would like the future of the state to look like in the context of the fall gubernatorial elections. Will they elect Minnesota’s first woman governor? Go “Back to the Future” with a former governor? Select a leader in agriculture...

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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...

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  • Now You Can Put Numbers to the Costs of Erosion

    Two years ago, the Land Stewardship Project released the Cropping Systems Calculator (CSC), a “what-if” tool to examine the costs and returns of two crop rotations. This tool includes scenarios that involve row crops and grazing, and provides important information...

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  • LSP Minnesota 2018 Legislative Session Wrap-up

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    From the beginning of the 2018 Minnesota Legislative session, it was clear that corporate interests and their legislative allies were pushing for special treatment at the expense of rural communities, family farmers and Minnesota values. As an example, six days into the session, Dr. Marin Bozic, a dairy economist at the University of Minnesota, testified before a joint Senate Agriculture...

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  • Don't Let Corporate Interests Weaken MN Democracy

    With spring fully and finally here, things are busy on my farm, but I wanted to take a moment to write to you about an issue moving forward at the Minnesota Capitol that goes against some of the most important principles and values I have. And I want to ask you to take action with me.

    Minnesotans value a...

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  • Climate Conversation: Generational Regeneration

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    Farmers possess a kind of ground-level common sense that seems increasingly rare in today’s fast-paced, technologically-driven world. Farmers develop this common sense from a real, experiential understanding of their land. Mike Krause is one farmer who not only understands the generations’ worth of knowledge behind his family farm, what the land has been through, and what it needs...

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  • Land for Labor & Love: One Idea for Repopulating & Regenerating the Countryside

    I am not seeing any solid program that addresses access to land for new farmers. I do see networking and apprentice efforts (such as the one we have at our Earth Wisdom Farm) but I am not seen a comprehensive program that actually provides a viable path to ownership, or resident stewardship. With so much farmland changing hands or about to change hands, and no viable financing available, I'd...

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  • There are no Healthy Communities without Racial Justice

    NOTE: Land Stewardship Project board of directors member Laura Frerichs spoke April 24 at the National Press Club during the People's Action Rural & Small Town Organizing Cohort Gathering. Below is the text of her talk:

    My name is Laura Frerichs. I’m an organic vegetable...

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  • Quick Wits, Grit, Guns ‘N Roses

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    Lou Anne Kling’s Legacy of Saved Farms & Saved Lives

    One day several years ago, western Minnesota farmer Lou Anne Kling was helping a financially-distressed chicken producer who was at risk of losing his operation. This was sometime in the 1980s or 1990s, and Kling had already spent countless hours on the telephone, in the car, in rural government offices and at her...

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  • 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 two years. He’s a quick learner and has proven to...

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  • MN Lawmakers Need to Stop Healthcare Malpractice

    During 2017, the Minnesota Legislature took these steps on healthcare:

    • Insurance companies received a $549 million cushion against losses associated with the small number of patients with costly claims. This was meant as an inducement to keep these companies in the marketplace.
    • A proposal to allow people in this same individual market to buy into MinnesotaCare, a...

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  • A Paradigm Shift is Needed

    The Land Stewardship Project board of directors has recently adopted a statement on climate change to help guide the organization as we move forward. As a member of LSP’s board, I am glad we have developed this statement, which can be seen here...

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  • Attend your Caucus to Move LSP’s Vision & Values Forward

    Have you been to your local precinct caucus? Maybe you always go, or you help lead your local caucus. Or maybe you have never been to caucuses before and don’t know what to expect.

    Whether this is your first time or you’ve been going for years, we’re encouraging all Land Stewardship Project members to go to caucuses for the party of your choice on Tuesday,...

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  • 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 farms, old buildings like this fall into disrepair, or at best...

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  • Farm Transitions Profile: Odd Acres of Opportunity

    Sometimes a Farm Transition is Done at a Distance

    On a brilliantly bright October afternoon, Chris Mosel makes his way over a clear-running brook and through a stand of basswood, oak and maple on his central Minnesota farm. As he approaches the edge of the woodlot, he steps over a strand of temporarily erected electric fencing that separates the trees from an open pasture....

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  • Trying Times Call for Building Soil Health

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    On a fall day just south of West Union in northeastern Iowa, Loran and Brenda Steinlage’s harvested field borders two sides of the local USDA Natural Resources Conservation office. With the green foliage of cover crops peeking through a thick mat of corn residue, their field provides a beautiful example of soil conservation amidst a landscape dominated by black, exposed fields.

    ...

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  • Our Minnesota Future: Building Governing Power to Advance LSP Values

    When you think about your community and Minnesota as a whole, what issues stand out as most needing to be addressed? When you allow yourself to step back and dream big, what do you hope for?

    At a time marked by extreme division, animosity and the feeling that nothing is getting done on the major problems we need to face together, it is not easy to think big. Our political environment...

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