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Ear to the Ground No. 254: Mastering an Evolutionary Monster

Farmer Tom Frantzen talks about hybrid rye, ecological resiliency, and why being uncomfortable isn’t always a bad thing. • To read the Civil Eats article on hybrid rye — “Hybrid Rye is Helping Farmers Fight ‘Superweeds’ Without Herbicide” — click here. • To read the Land Stewardship Letter article on hybrid rye — “A Grain…  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 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

Farm Bill: A Breakdown of the Breakdown

You’ve probably heard by now that the U.S. House failed to pass a Farm Bill last week. It came as somewhat of a shocker, failing 195 to 234, which is a pretty big margin. It’s the first time since 1973 that the House has voted down a Farm Bill. In what can only be interpreted…  Read More

Failure of House Farm Bill is a Failure to Lead

The House Farm Bill (HR 1947) failed today, 195 to 234, after three days of debate on amendments and proceedings. In what can only be interpreted as a slap in the face of U.S. House leadership, this failure typifies how dysfunctional this body of Congress has become, with the majority unable to pass legislation they…  Read More