Archive for the 'agriculture' Category

Hosted by Ryan Slabaugh & Ben Trollinger / Sponsored by BCS America

Good day and welcome to Tractor Time podcast, brought to you by Acres U.S.A., the Voice of Eco-Agriculture. I’m your host, Ryan Slabaugh, and as always, I want to say thank you to our sponsors, BCS America. Today’s theme is all about happy pigs, and profitable pig operations, and an interesting breed called Guinea Hogs. 

First, I’ve got someone to introduce to everyone this episode. It will be the new host of Tractor Time, which I’m proud to say is Ben Trollinger, the new editor at Acres USA. I’m not going too far, but will stay involved helping Ben produce and grow the podcast, while I get to go focus on getting a few new exciting projects up and running.

Ben will join before he interviews Cathy Payne, our guest on this episode. Cathy is the author of Saving the Guinea Hogs, a new book that is on sale in the Acres U.S.A. bookstore.

First, I recently took a trip to Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania, and got a chance to tour their hog operation. To make sure this episode is all pig-themed, I thought I’d share some audio I got from touring their operation. 

Thanks again to our listeners and our sponsor, BCS America. You can find this podcast at ecofarmingdaily.com, acresusa.com, or anywhere podcasts can be played. Thanks, and have a great week. 

If you want, shoot a note to Ben at btrollinger@acresusa.com. He’d love to hear from you.

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Hosted by Ryan Slabaugh

Sponsored by BCS America

Good day and welcome to Tractor Time podcast brought to you by Acres U.S.A., the Voice of Eco-Agriculture. I am your host, Ryan Slabaugh, and we are humbled to bring you the 30th episode. Today’s topic is one we have to talk about, but it’s not a whole lot of fun – Monsanto.

Our guest today, Carey Gillam, is a veteran reporter who has been covering corporate America for 25 years, including Monsanto and most recently, Bayer. This year, she’s been busy covering the Monsanto trials, suing agencies under the Freedom of Information Act, and discovering an amazing array of corruption that is fueling the more than 11,000 lawsuits against the company.

Mainly, she’s uncovered the fact that Monsanto has lied to and tricked farmers, land managers, growers, ranchers and city managers for 50 years about RoundUp. That as they tell their employees to behave differently around the product than they do consumers. And that they paid for fake science, paid off reporters, and got especially cozy with politicians around the world. France’s Parliament is exploring charges that they kept a list of politicians they liked and disliked. That’s nothing new to us here in the U.S., but that level of targeted lobbying does not go over so well elsewhere in the world. But the bottom line is, it’s toxic to human and animal health, and juries around the world that have heard their defenses do not see any redemption in them – in fact, it is quite the opposite. The lying has only added to their penalties, and their liabilities now range in the trillions, and Bayer’s stock price is 40% declined from where it was at the time they purchased Monsanto.’

Here’s a clip from the Canadian Public Broadcasting Channel’s recent coverage, which summarized the issue:

To be clear, we are talking about the specific formulation Monsanto uses in its RoundUp product that includes glyphosate – that’s an important distinction. Monsanto’s spokespersons deny all this and say there is no proof their product is unhealthy or shouldn’t be used. You can still find it everywhere, and even though towns and ciiteis are starting to make it illegal to use, it’s use is still prolific.

And who is fueling this worldwide coverage? Our guest today, Carey Gillam. She wrote a book called Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer & the Corruption of Science, published by Island Press, in 2017. The way she threads her reporting in with current events paints a damning picture of Roundup, even garnering praise from Erin Brockovich.

And our guest today makes the strong point that banning RoundUp or glyphosate, or suing for billions, does not solve the real problem we are facing: an agriculture and food supply dependent on the lies that Monsanto has been giving farmers, and the safety nets are a bit too far down to feel comfortable leaping.

It’s our listeners who will really be solving this problem, but taking the information Carey gives us today to educate us on the forces at work in the herbicide world, and how we can make informed, healthy choices. You can make a difference by how you grow food, the food you buy at the store, and by the manner in which we defend eco-agriculture.

So, let’s get into the interview with our guest today: As a former senior correspondent for Reuters' international news service, and current research director for consumer group U.S. Right to Know, Carey Gillam's areas of expertise include biotech crop technology, agrichemicals and pesticide product development, and the environmental impacts of American food production. Gillam has been recognized as one of the top journalists in the country covering these issues.

A special thanks to our episode sponsor, BCS America.

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Hosted by Ryan Slabaugh

Good day and welcome to Tractor Time podcast brought to you by Acres U.S.A., the Voice of Eco-Agriculture. I’m your host Ryan Slabaugh, and today our episode is focused on soil health, and the philosophies of Glen Rabenberg. Glen has spent a lifetime journey building a system that works across climates and soil types, and in the next hour, we’re going to ask him to walk through his journey, and how he piece together the knowledge – and wisdom – he needed to eventually start his company, Soil Works, which helps so many farmers around the world.

As you will also hear, Glen will be leading a farm tour at our Healthy Soil Summit, August 21-22 in Davis, California. Registration is open at www.acresusa.com, and we are only allowing about 150-200 into the event, so sign up soon. Glen is also working with us to produce a series of podcasts we will release this summer focused on short, simple tactics you can employ on your farm to increase and improve your soil life.

One other announcement: We will also be opening registration to our annual conference, this year in Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 9-12, in May. We have a ton of great speakers — some new, including Marty Travis, the start farmer in the movie, Sustainable. We really want to see you there – we’ll be talking about biodiversity, regenerative agriculture and diversification tactics and a whole lot more. But today’s program is soil-soil-soil with Glen Rabenberg, and his life journey.

Our guest today, Glen Rabenberg is the founder and owner of Soil Works LLC. Born and raised in Bancroft, SD, he graduated from Desmet High School in 1980. He was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science, General Agriculture and Agriculture Economics from South Dakota State University in 1985.  Glen then went to work for Walco International as an Animal Science Technical Advisor. He spent most of the following years with Walco working with animal pharmaceuticals, veterinarians, and farmers. Through his experience he began to notice trends in the animal science industry.  He saw that many of the diseases he was employed to treat were the result of nutritional deficiencies from poor grains and forage that the animals were consuming.

Rather than conforming to the traditional methods of soil science, Glen brings his knowledge of animal science and applies it to the soil. Glen continues to search for new ways to restore the soil and aid in the production of quality food.  He aims to “bring soil back to the way nature intended.” He still maintains his third generation farm in Bancroft, SD and travels the world solving the world’s soil problems with a little bit of simplicity and the “rite” tools.

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Good day, and welcome to Tractor Time podcast brought to you by Acres U.S.A., the voice of eco-agriculture. This is a special episode, our 28th in our series, that will feature a friend and guest to Acres U.S.A., Dr. Paul Dettloff. A special thanks to our series sponsors, BCS America and Albert Lea Seed, who make this all possible.

Dr. Paul Dettloff has spent 50 years in large animal veterinary practice, working with farmers all over the world to help them think differently. He was well ahead of his time pushing grass as cattle feed, and working with holistic, proven tools that operate completely independent of the technology booms happening today.

His new hardcover book, A Guide to Raising Animals Organically, has captured his work in a fascinating, comprehensive way. We were very proud to be Dr. Paul’s publisher of the book, which is available now.

We are also very proud that Dr. Paul will be talking at our conference in December in Minneapolis. He will be leading a full day Eco-Ag conference session on soil preparation for cattle, cattle feed systems and will allow folks to peek inside his vet bag. He'll add on a workshop too about A2A2 milk markets that should be very helpful for today's dairy farmer looking for diversification techniques.

The last time he talked was 2007, and we wanted to share that talk with our audience today. It’s a fascinating story Dr. Paul weaves around his career as a veterinarian, and how he discovered organic along the way, and helped champion the growth and rebirth of old veterinary tools so important to sustainable and organic farmers.

So, here’s Dr. Paul’s talk from 2007, titled “Enhancing Vet Tools.” It’s more than just a story about livestock. It’s a story about how we treat animals, and how those animals can feed our farming ecosystems.

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Good day and welcome to Tractor Time, brought to you by Acres U.S.A., the Voice of Eco-Agriculture. I’m your host Ryan Slabaugh, and I’m happy to bring you the 26th episode of our podcast. Thanks again to Albert Lea seeds for making this episode possible.

A few announcements — Minnesota is the theme of today’s show. Acres USA will be in Minnesota in December for our annual conference, and one of the reasons — other than the great December weather there — is the amount of trailblazing agriculture that is going on in that region. You can learn more about our event at www.acresusa.com — tickets will go on sale later this spring. But before that, we’ll get into some of that agriculture, and talk to some of the country’s original grassfed beef farmers. 

Today, we’re going to have two cattlemen on the show to discuss their operations and some current topics, a few of which are creating quite a debate: Matt Maier, with Thousand Hills Cattle in Minnesota, and Will Winter, a teacher of holistic animal medicine and founder of the American Holistic Livestock Association. I met Will at our annual conference a couple years ago, and recognized his trademark cowboy hat and beard. He’s written for our magazine and spoken to our audiences before, and we’re excited to have him on the show today.

I met Matt’s team at our conference last year and learned that they had pursued Savory Institute Hub certification, and are — and have been —leading the way with regenerative agriculture. Their cattle were grazing 365 days a year in Minnesota, which is not an easy thing to accomplish, and takes a disciplined system. Will and Matt worked together in Minnesota at Thousand Hills.

During our talk, they walked me through the Polar Vortex experience, where temperatures reached -30 on their farm, and their reactions to the Green New Deal, as well as sharing some ideas and inspiration for new cattle farmers. 

Here’s a video that shows off the environment at Thousand Hills:

https://youtu.be/5ZezvrKOxS4

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Welcome to Tractor Time, brought to you by Acres U.S.A., the Voice of Eco_Agriculture. I’m your host Ryan Slabaugh, and lucky enough to be the GM/Publisher of Acres U.S.A., and very lucky enough to sit down and produce our 25th episode of Tractor Time. And thanks again to BCS America for being the sponsors of today’s program.

Today’s guest – I met Fred Provenza, professor emeritus in the Department of Wildland Resources at Utah State University, at our annual conference last December. We talked a bit about farming and soil, but in all honesty, we talked more about our common hobby of skiing and winter sports. When it came time to scheduling guests, I knew I needed Fred on the show so we could actually talk about our day jobs, and his lifetime of research into animal and human health.

So, today’s guest – Renowned animal behaviorist Fred Provenza has spent his academic career researching how animals respond to an intricately tuned system of flavor-feedback relationships. In other words, animals somehow instinctively seem to know what foods they need to stay alive and healthy. But what about us humans? Do we possess that same wisdom? He wrote about that in a new book from Chelsea Green called Nourishment: What Animals Can Teach Us About Rediscovering Our Nutritional Wisdom.

We’re going to get into that book, but more importantly, we’re going to use that book to talk about the larger health issues, and how our own bodies and own biology often can defy us – but they can also tell us exactly what we need to know. We’re doing to cover that and a lot more in this episode of Tractor Time, brought to you by Acres U.S.A. We recorded this interview on Wednesday, Jan. 23, via phone.

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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 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, Gary Zimmer in 2011, Ronnie Cummins in 2009, Joel Salatin in 2006, and Neal Kinsey in 2003.

Learn more about Rodale Institute here.  

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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 11th this year and 23rd overall, and I think we’re going to get in at least one more before the end of the year, so stay tuned.

It’s about that time. In a couple days, Acres U.S.A. is hitting the road — or getting on a plane, actually — and heading to Louisville, Kentucky, for our 43rd annual Eco-Ag Conference & Trade show. In the office, we’re at that hybrid stage of nervousness, confidence, anxiety and adrenaline, and our days are filled with all the little odd jobs – cutting badges, ordering bags, shipping off our bookstore – and we know a lot of our listeners who will be attending are doing the same. Getting ready for the week away. 

So we though it’d be appropriate to preview a few of our upcoming speakers on the show today, and include some of our sponsors. We don’t do a lot of advertising or sponsored stuff on this, so forgive us this one time. Plus, these aren’t your normal sponsorship messages. These are folks just like you – passionate about eco-agriculture and making a difference. And paying the bills, of course.

To start, here’s a quick thank you list to the companies and organizations that make our conference, and Acres U.S.A., possible. We don’t thank them enough for their support, so here is a big, giant, thank you to our advertisers, sponsors who make this all possible. Including, those who sponsor this podcast, some of whom we interviewed especially for this episode on all things eco-agriculture:

  • The Savory Institute and their co-founder and CEO Daniela Ibarra-Howell. You can hear an entire interview with Daniela on episode 21. She’s fascinating and her story is inspiring of how we can all see a problem – overgrazing and unsustainable agriculture – and develop a solution that can be applied anywhere in the world.
  • Midwest BioSystems and Edwin Blosser & Company. Edwin is a master at explaining how to use compost on large-scale farms, and we’ll hear from him on that on this episode. He’ll be speaking next week as well, and is just an efficient, patient teacher.
  • Eden Blue Gold. They are passionate about what they do, and the time and effort they’ve put into researching their products. You’ll hear about their process for creating organic inputs for large-scale production.

We also want to thank the following folks:

  • Brandt. They have a whole line of sturdy, well-built farm equipment, and we are kind of in love with their slogan: Powerful Value, Delivered. Yep. That about says it all. They stand by their work. Search for Brandt agriculture tools and you’ll see what we’re talking about.
  • Verde Agritech. Verde’s products are derived from an ancient 570 million years old rock named “glauconitic siltstone”, rich in a mineral called glauconite. The production process is 100% natural.
  • Terreplenish is another great supporter of Acres USA. If you are farming corn, or anything that you need help in retaining your nitrogen in your fields, then I’d encourage you to look up Terreplenish. This is what they do. They have a number of biological, sustainable solutions.

But we are going to lead off our show with a bit from Wil Spencer at Environotics, who will talk about a subject we don’t discuss often on this show – soil life and biodynamics. We talked in late October on the phone about what the licensed holistic naturopath has learned on the subject

Next up, we interviewed James Arpin in late October of 2019 about Eden Blue Gold. The interview may not be what you expect. James wanted to teach us about what he sees as the true differences between plants, animals and humans, and what our similarities, and differences, can teach us about how to interact. How we can heal each other. Here’s James Arden with Eden Blue Gold --   

Our third guest today is Edwin Blosser. His company, Midwest BioSystems, lives the word. When we talked about a year ago, he was looking out his office window at harvesters picking black beans that were going off to Chipotle. We talked about large-scale biological inputs, and what he’s learned from a lifetime of farming. If you’re attending our show, Edwin is a must-see, and find him at his booth, too. I started the conversation by asking him to tell us how he got into farming.

I couldn’t let this completely be finished though without a soundbite from one of our keynote speakers next week – Daniela with the Savory Institute and legendary grower and author Eliot Coleman are two of them, and our third is Joel Salatin with Polyface Farms. I asked him what he liked better, speaking or farming, and this was his answer. He’ll be leading our conference with a resounding presentation on Thursday night.

Now, that’s our show. Thanks for tuning into another episode of Tractor Time podcast, brought to you by Acres U.S.A., the Voice of Eco-Agriculture. Find us at www.acresusa.com, at ecofarmingdaily.com, or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Better yet, come find us in Louisville next week and say hello.

Thanks for listening, and have a great week.

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Hosted by Ryan Slabaugh

This episode is a bit unique from the others, which are usually done in the comforts of my office back in Greeley, Colorado. For most recordings, it’s me, a microphone, an interview guest and my dog snoring in the corner. If you need the full picture, I even prop a sign up in my windowed door that says, “On Air.” But that’s really just for me – it makes me feel official.

But so does this scene where I am today. Today, we are broadcasting from Belize, specifically, Belmopan, Belize, at the inaugural Tropical Agriculture Festival. We first met one of the organizers, Beth Roberson, a Belizian farmer, in Columbus, Ohio, last year during our annual conference. Beth left inspired to start her own educational conference down here, picked our brains a bit, and recruited some of our speakers and former Tractor Time guests like regenerative poultry specialist Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin and Regeneration International’s André Leu, among others.

Let me set the stage a bit. Belize is a small country of about 350,000 people, just south of Mexico and east of Guatemala. It’s known for having the second largest reef in the world off its coast, and for being an English colony until the early 1980s. The country, very proud of its freedom, is still finding its feet. The Guatemalan president threatens them with invasion, and England still has a small standing army there as a reminder to their neighbors.

Belmopan is a small town of a few thousand, and wears a few scars. The main roads are paved, but most are not, but a fountain roundabout greets visitors on the Western Highway. A bar-restaurant called “Cheers” greets guests as they arrive into town before a roundabout — I met the owner, and she told me she also runs a “small” farm behind it that includes horses, sheep, cattle, goats and chickens, and yes, she composts from the restaurant. On the other side of the highway, the entrance to a national park. Inside the town, a large agriculture grounds with stages, test gardens and plenty of native trees. This is where the festival was held this week.

The event started with the national anthem, sung by an 8-year-old local schoolgirl. It’s clear from the anthem what the country does not want — tyrants and colonizers. And it’s clear that they want to be a free country, although they are still grappling with which economy will drive its future. The tourism economy, which favors hotels and airports and large ports, or a more local economy, where manufacturing, agriculture and other jobs will fill the gap.

Agriculture, though, will have some part. It has to. Or at least, it’d be silly not to. Pineapples, mangoes, bananas, jackfruits, etc. From any city, it doesn’t take long to be in the country, where anyone would be taken in by the variety of flora, fauna and wildlife, which range from toucans to jaguars to crocodiles. Our first hour in the country, as we pulled into our hotel, the sounds of howler monkeys greeted us. (You’ll have to listen to the podcast for the full effect.)

The next day, the conference began. We heard a resounding call to action from Ronnie Cummins, on the board with Regeneration International, which was followed by two days of educational speeches on five different stages, ranging from permaculture to seed saving to agritourism. All were rooted in how Belize can transform its agriculture into one of the world’s best. And no matter what, you have to give something to a country that starts its weekends on Thursday nights.

Here’s what clips you can find on the podcast. Also, you’ll hear some thumping in the background, and truck noise. I apologize for that recording issue – (I wasn’t counting on so much foot stomping on stage when I set up the microphone, nor could I do much about the nearby highway traffic.)

Ronnie Cummins, Board Member of Regeneration International

Here’s that talk from Ronnie that opened up the conference. It’s about 16 minutes, and full of fire and fury. 

Taylor Walker, Biodiverse Systems Designer

Next, a highlight I recorded from Taylor Walker. A jack-of-all trades who designs gardens and permaculture environments, including Naples Botanical Gardens, Inland ecology Research Group, Sanibel Sea School and others. In Belize, he is managing Tropical Agro-Forestry farms.

I’ll play a few minutes of his talk, as he walks about 50-60 people in his class through specific plants that grow well in Belize, like bread fruit. 

Christopher Nesbitt, Regenerative Agriculturist

Christopher Nesbitt, a regenerative agriculturist, has spent 30 years restoring a piece of damaged land in the Maya foothills. His land is now filled with more than 500 species of plants, all of which are harvestable. His talk was about his work. Here’s just a piece about that biodiversity. 

Santiago Juan, Agritourism in Belize

Santiago Juan, born and raised in Cayo District Belize, owns and operates a resort farm in the country. He spoke about agritourism, and how Belize can use its organic lands, pristine wilderness, and local food production to create a unique, authentic experience. One side note: his talk was not without some controversy, as some Belizian farmers weren’t too sure they wanted hoards of camera-toting Westerners posing with their pigs. But alas, the discussion assuaged some fears, and again showed what is to be gained, or lost, in such a wonderful country, one that is still building itself into an autonomous, self-sustained citizen of the world. (And sorry for the popping on this audio. It was lunch time, and the nearby passing trucks’s jake brakes kept blowing out the microphone.)

That’s it — and a few rambles from me. Thanks for reading and listening.

Find the Tractor Time podcast in the iTunes store, or at www.acresusa.com, or at ecofarmingdaily.com. It’s a bunch of other places too. Thanks for helping grow our food   – have a great week.

 

 

 

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Good day and welcome to Tractor Time podcast. I’m your host, Ryan Slabaugh, the GM of Acres U.S.A., and we are excited to bring you another fun hour of conversation about ecology, agriculture, smart farming, human health – and more.

I want to thank our listeners. We recently went over the 20,000th download as a podcast, which is exciting for us. The world of eco-growers is always larger than we anticipate, and to us, that means things are changing for the positive. We hear so much about degenerative agriculture and its toxic toll on our world, but there is a silver lining – you. The listeners who are fighting tradition and convention with smart growing tactics, by understanding the soil, are the solution, and slowly but surely, we are making progress. It’s important we all agree on that one. It’s not that we don’t have challenges, and that they are not large and complicated, but we do not that the base-level agreement we want to get to is that the Earth, and its complicated and resilient life forms, will tell us what we need to know to grow our food. But it does require us to listen.

Okay, the high horse is getting tired, but it’s true. Our listeners are the silver lining, and one of the brightest spots on that lining is our guest today.

Daniela Ibarra-Howell is a native Argentinian, an agronomist by profession, and has more than 25 years of ranching experience. In 2009, she helped start The Savory Institute, headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, and became its CEO in 2011. Since then, she’s served on initiatives as wide as the UN Global Impact study, among a number of other roundtables and think tanks for healthy food and healthy agriculture. They are just too many to name.

Daniela will be a big part of Acres USA in the next couple months, a fact that we are very grateful for. She will be speaking at our annual conference in Louisville, Kentucky, Dec. 4-7, and keynoting an evening there. She will be featured in the November issue of our magazine, with an interview with Chris Walters. And, of course, we’re proud to have Daniela Howell on the Tractor Time podcast today.

Learn more about the Savory Institute at https://www.savory.global/.

Learn more about Acres U.S.A. at www.acresusa.com, or read our free, helpful content at www.ecofarmingdaily.com. You can find this contest on both sites, or for free in the Apple Podcast store.

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