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Tractor Time Episode 24: Jeff Moyer, Rodale Institute, 2018 Eco-Ag Award Winner

Hosted by Ryan Slabaugh. Sponsored by Albert Lea Seed.

Good day and welcome to Tractor Time podcast brought to you by Acres U.S.A., the Voice of Eco-Agriculture. We are happy to be bringing you another episode, our 1st of season 3 starting this year, and 24th overall.

On today’s program, we’re going to honor our 2018 Eco-Ag Award winner, who we celebrated in December at our 43rd annual conference. Jeff Moyer, is a longtime organic farmer, author, lecturer. His work with the Rodale Institute, both in hands-on farming and as executive director, is advancing the state of the art of organic agriculture and building bridges to bring these methods to mainstream, conventional farmers.

His talk at our conference was aimed at helping farmers see the future of the organic certification industry, and how words like “regenerative” and “sustainable” are already being fought about in the advertising board rooms across the world.

“Like it or not, we’re in a food fight,” he says. “Right now, organic is in the middle of that fight. So is the word regenerative. And sustainable. And sustainability.”

Other past winners who have showed up on the Tractor Time podcast have included Dr. Vandana Shiva, who won in 2017, Ronnie Cummins in 2009, Joel Salatin in 2006, and Neal Kinsey in 2003.

Learn more about the Rodale Institute here.

 

Book excerpt: Eco-Farm by Charles Walters – The Soil-Life Connection

Acres U.S.A. founder Charles Walters wrote Eco-Farm: An Acres U.S.A. Primer to be the definitive guide to eco-farming. That includes managing farm and ranch soil fertility, crops, fertilizers, weeds, insects and more while avoiding dangerous chemicals.

The excerpt below discusses the importance of maintaining the microorganisms and other lifeforms within the soil by understanding and working with the soil food web.

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Tropical Agriculture Conference Topics Range from Greenhouse Management to Soil Humus, on Day 2

BELMOPAN, Belize — Perhaps it was better when the power went out. The lack of microphones forced Ronnie Cummins with Regeneration International to start Wednesday’s Tropical Agricultural Conference shouting over the passing trucks.

The extra volume didn’t hurt the critical nature of his message.

Crowd at the Tropical Agriculture Conference

Crowds listen to speakers rotating between five stages, talking about regenerative agriculture.

“Thank you for what you do every day, and I’m going to thank you in advance for what you’re going to do in advance every day,” Cummins said. “The next 10 years, what you do, what I do, what we all do around the world, we either move in a regenerative direction, or it’s going to get very, very difficult for our children.”

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First Ever Tropical Agriculture Conference Brings Regenerative Agriculture Experts to Belize

BELMOPAN, Belize — Belize Ag Report Publisher Beth Roberson sat in the second row, eagerly awaiting the arrival of Belizean Senator Godwin Hulse. The country’s minister of everything from agriculture to environment to immigration was held up in traffic, but would be arriving soon.

Andre Leu speaks at the inaugural Tropical Agriculture Conference in Belize

André Leu with Regeneration International helps kick off the inaugural Tropical Agriculture Conference in Belize on Tuesday, Nov. 13.

The crowd was patiently waiting. It’s summer in Belize, the temperatures are in the 80s, and around us a city surrounded by hundreds of miles of jungle. Roberson, also a farmer, had attended the Acres U.S.A. Eco-Ag Conference & Trade Show last year, and with the help of Belize officials and Regeneration International, returned to her country inspired to start a movement.

Now, less than a year later, she was watching the first day of the inaugural Tropical Agriculture Conference in the nation’s capital. Moments earlier, speakers like André Leu, Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin and Alvaro Zapada Cadavid had introduced the audience to silvopasture and pastured poultry techniques.

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Book Excerpt: How to Start and Operate a Successful Container Plant Business

The book Made From Scratch: How to Start and Operate a Successful Container Plant Business by Louise Placek serves as a comprehensive, step-by-step guide for those interested in learning how best to create and organize their container plant business.

Chapters include topics such as greenhouses, botany basics, disease and pest management, marketing, handling employees and more.

Appendices include example activity logs and forms, instructions for making a soil-texture analysis, even tips for creating a simple employee handbook!

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Soil Balancing: Worth Another Look — The Ohio State University Soil Balancing Team

Farmers make multiple management decisions daily — decisions driven by questions and input. Helpful input can come from many sources, guiding what to choose or avoid. Most university-led research has placed soil balancing on the “avoid” list. Still, it’s practiced by many farmers who report improved soil tilth, better crop yields and quality, and greater ease in managing weeds as the ‘balance’ of their soils improves.

At least one team of university researchers remains curious, wanting another look at soil balancing. Their work is beginning to reveal that farmers and researchers think, talk about, experiment with, and understand soil balancing differently. If those differences could be bridged, what new questions and helpful input might researchers and farmers find by working together?

The Science Behind Soil Balancing: Basic Cation Saturation Ratio

Soils vary in their nutrient content, but also in their ability to hold nutrients. A soil’s ability to hold nutrients is measured by its cation exchange capacity (or CEC). Generally, a soil high in clay content will have a higher CEC, but organic matter also increases CEC. Soils with a high CEC hold more nutrients and thus, can release more than soils low in CEC. Continue Reading →