rotational grazing

Jeepers Cats That’s Some Healthy Soil!

Turning a Massive Problem into Soil Fertility & Economic Value

I recently witnessed the return of life to Jordan and Rachelle Meyers’ fields, which are transitioning from giant ragweed and thistles into soil-building plants such as chicory, red clover, and wild bergamot. During the past few years, the family, which farms in southeastern Minnesota’s Houston County, has used hard work and attention to the soil…  Read More

Ear to the Ground No. 252: Stewardship as Measure

Beginning dairy farmer Carrie Redden talks about how she sees successful land stewardship and successful farming as deeply intertwined, and why more non-farmers need to make that connection as well. Carrie Redden was interviewed as part of the We Are Water initiative, which documented the stories of several farmers in the upper reaches of the…  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

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 Beginnings Profile: The Curve of Binding Energy

Okay, calculus lesson of the day, courtesy of some pasture grass, fencing and a herd of ruminants. Calculus, in case you’ve forgotten, is the mathematical study of rates of change. It can be a handy way to calculate where you’re headed and how long it will take to get there. Let’s say you are a…  Read More

Farm Beginnings Profile: Derek & Carrie Redden

A Confederacy of Consultants

It’s field day time on this western Minnesota farm, and it’s made clear from the outset that there will no main presenter, no expert from on-high telling it like it is or isn’t, no PowerPoints produced by consultants. This is a field day where farmers learn from other farmers. “You are all consultants,” Richard Ness…  Read More

Farm Beginnings Profile: Micro Goals-Big Plans

Walking down a sloping lane on a spring afternoon, Luke and Liana Tessum surprise an Angus beef cow wandering up from a bottomland paddock. The lone bovine, and 18 cow-calf pairs grazing on the pasture below, represent the reaching of what the 30-something couple calls yet one more “micro-goal.” In December, the Tessums paid off…  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 Beginnings Profile: Brad & Shelley Schrandt

Riding the Storm Out

A few years ago, Brad and Shelley Schrandt faced a dilemma: should they keep their dairy herd at around 20 cows for a few more years while working off the farm, or should they expand enough to justify quitting those town jobs? They went for the expansion in an attempt to simplify their life. Shelley,…  Read More