Archive for the 'Authors' 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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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 USA, the Voice of Eco-Agriculture. I’m your host, Ryan Slabaugh, and it feels like a spring day here in Greeley, Colorado, where we are recording episode 27 on this 20th day of March in 2019.

It’s been a very interesting week in eco-agriculture, and while I don’t want to get too much into the news, it’s worth mentioning that we have a bunch of customers lose buildings to the heavy winds and flooding in the Midwest and out near our offices, we are following another Monsanto trial that decided the behemoth is responsible for informing its users about the potential risks, including cancer, and the European Union has decided to investigate both Monsanto and Exxon’s involvement in climate change denials.

So the pressure’s on. A lot of people I’ve talked to think a vacuum is coming, where Roundup will be replaced by something … and we know the toxic race is on, but we sure hope some farmers can find a way to use nutrient-based farming techniques on part of their land.

At least, that’s why we are here today. We are going to talk to Jodi Helmer, a journalist, gardener and author of six books, who with Island Press is releasing a new book, Protecting Pollinators (Island Press, available in the Acres U.S.A. bookstore.) We wanted to take this chance to talk bees and butterflies … and even long-nosed bats. We haven’t had an episode dedicated to this topic yet, so we needed one, as we know pollinators are one of the secret ingredients for growing food that we’ve neglected to include in a lot of our commercial agriculture systems. We’ll learn more about where we are with this today, how the protect the bees movement is doing, and what we can do with the land we own, rent and work at to help foster a better environment.

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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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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, a podcast brought to you by Acres U.S.A. Today’s podcast features two guests. Both live together in Seattle, and are writers, advocates and change agents and, it should be noted, both are quite brilliant as well – Biologist Anne Biklé and Geologist David Montgomery.

We have interviewed both separately, and will run their interviews back-to-back.

Our second interview you will hear on this episode, Anne Biklé, is a biologist with an interest in environmentalism and, most recently, soil life. She’s an active speaker and author of The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health, which is available in our bookstore at acresusa.com. 

We are going in depth on new science into life in the soil, and discuss the significance of all the new information to farmers and growers.

But to set the stage, we will get to our first guest, David Montgomery, Anne’s co-author on The Hidden Half of Nature, and a writer, geologist, professor, and researcher who will set the stage for Anne’s deep-dive into the soil. It’s also worth noting that David is a recognized genius – or at least, someone who has been recognized as the closest thing to it. David Montgomery is a Professor of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle, and a member of the Quaternary Research Center.

In 2008, In 2008 Montgomery received a MacArthur Fellowship, generally known as the “genius grant,” for his work as a researcher and writer.

His early work began in topics of topography and geology. He was all over the television after the tragic landslide in 2014 in his homestate of Washington, and since then, has published books connecting the ideas of healthy soil and healthy civilizations.

In 2016, Montgomery published "The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health", a collaboration with Anne Biklé. The book addresses the relationship between microbial life, plants, and people.

His most recent work, Growing A Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life, released in May 2017.

Both are available from Acres U.S.A. store.

We welcome David Montgomery and Anne Bilké to the Tractor Time podcast.

Also, find all of the Tractor Time podcasts here, or for free in the iTunes store.

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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, the GM and publisher of Acres USA.

Last week, I took a trip. I spent about 36 hours in the car driving from Colorado to Illinois, down to Columbia, Missouri, back to Illinois, and back home to Colorado. For a few days while I was in Missouri, I spent time at a sacred ground to us. At the University of Missouri, hidden among the tall brick buildings, is an open space called “Sanborn Field,” run by a guy named Tim Reinbott. You probably recognize the name if you’ve ever been to our conference.

There, Tim has built and preserved what a professor named William Albrecht built there a century ago. Prof. Albrecht started test plots in hopes of showing what happens when you grow corn, continuously without fertilizer or manure, and what that does to the soil. I’ll save you the suspense. It looks terrible. The stalks, miniature compared to the other, more well-fed test plots, were brown and only about two feet tall.

The video’s on our website, ecofarmingdaily.com, if you want to check it out, too. But it’s him talking about how, because Missouri’s soil has natural phosphorous and nitrogen, it wouldn’t take much to regenerate that continuous corn plot. But they aren’t going to do it. It’s too good of a reminder.

It was near these fields that Charles Walters met William Albrecht for the first time. Charles, while trying to piece together the information that would build the foundation for Acres USA’s belief in ecology-based agriculture, found scientists he kept interviewing telling him about Albrecht. Charles being Charles, he did his research and found out Prof. Albrecht was just down the road a couple hours. He called the university, and they told him not to bother. But, again, Charles being Charles, he got in the car anyway and drove to meet the scientist. When he knocked on the door, a voice boomed out, “Don’t knock when you enter and leave the same way.” Charles walked in – and I learned all this from his son, Fred – and when Charles walked in, without even an introduction, said, “You must be from Western Kansas. You have good teeth.”

Albrecht had pioneered research to connect local food to local health. It’s science that more should understand today. He pulled dental records from the military and matched those with the amount of calcium found in the soil and they matched. It’s an incredible study, still available for free on the University of Missouri’s academic research site.

Anyway, the conversation sparked a longtime friendship. Charles would edit more than a dozen volumes of Albrecht’s research, and used that research to develop his stubborn and accurate view of agriculture – that the only way to make money, to make farming a viable job, is to work with nature. He met other Albrecht students like Neal Kinsey, and founded a lifetime friendship – in fact, Neal and Charles may have been Albrecht’s last students.

In Columbia, we heard from more than a dozen farmers and consultants who employ the Albrecht system of growing, and have proven results. Most of them are using the mineralization techniques Albrecht preached – balancing magnesium and calcium – and advancing on that research with biological techniques of composting and manure and the like. Nobody walked away with a question of whether or not the methods lead to results. The irony – was that all this was being presented in Monsanto Auditorium. Their hold on farmers being educated is not lost, but the biological processes we were sharing in its halls were far more important. In a cynical way, it just reinforced why we were all there, and why Sanborn Field down the street is so sacred.

So anyway, all this driving and inspiration got me thinking, that for our next show, we needed to go back in time and dip into our archives, and find a good conversation with Charles Walters. We found one of the last talks of his career, and it was aptly titled, “Then, Today & Tomorrow.” Given in 2006, you will find it’s still relevant today.

Charles passed away a couple years later, so I guess we are in his tomorrow. To all those listening, let’s keep up the good work, keep our food connected to nature, and feel blessed to have those who came before us pave such a clear path ahead.

 

 

 

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It’s that sound again – tractors, the voice of Charles Walters, and that happy little strum. It all means we are launching into a second season of Tractor Time Podcast by Acres U.S.A., the podcast for farmers who care about the Earth. My name is Ryan Slabaugh, and I’m lucky enough to be your host for a second season.

We have a lot in store this year. We are going to talk about a lot of eco-farming tactics and methods. We’re going to go back in time and listen to age-old talks that still apply today. We’re going to talk about with surveyers about the loss of farmland, and what you and I can do about it. Our goal this year is to also make sure we are talking with young f armers, to better understand how they see themselves fitting into the future of agriculture. Anyway, we’re so excited, we hope you are too. 

Today’s episode, like our very first episode, starts with the voice of Charles Walters. Charles started Acres USA in 1971 as a vehicle to report on the challenges facing small farms, and to help give farmers a resource for good, healthy, ecological growing in the face of large-scale toxic takeovers of our methods.

In today’s talk that we are re-airing from an Acres USA Eco-Ag conference in 1993, Charles introduces us to Neal Kinsey, who at the time, was new to the Acres USA family, and working on his legendary book, Hands on Agronomy. The book has sold thousands of copies to farmers and growers all over the world.

In this talk, again from 1993, Neal talks about the premises of his book, Hands on Agronomy. Enjoy, and thanks for joining us again for another season of Tractor Time.

Find all the Tractor Time episodes here, or on iTunes

 

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Welcome to another great episode of Tractor Time. We’re coming off a high from our 42nd annual Eco-Ag Conference & Trade Show in Columbus, Ohio, and wanted to use this podcast to help us celebrate the highlights.

There were many. They included the 1,100 people who attended from 15 different countries, who gathered to hear diverse and interesting viewpoints on ecology and agriculture. Not only did we learn about the finer points of soil nutrition, micronutrients, microbiology, micro fungi, but we also learned about the larger picture, and how ecologically based agricultural practices can benefit all of our global systems, from climate change to world peace.

If that’s a lot to get your head around, we feel you. Many of our conferencegoers came up to us and asked, “Now what?” They left feeling empowered and knowledgeable and motivated.

And that’s what made our plenary panel stand out, and why we are going to feature it on this podcast. On Friday morning, we were lucky to have Acres U.S.A.’s Fred Walters lead a discussion between Dr. Vandana Shiva, a peace and food health advocate who came all the way from India, and André Leu, president of IFOAM, who came from Australia, and Ronnie Cummings, founder of the Organic Consumers Association, an international group focused on real change in our food supply.

Each took 20 minutes to discuss their take on what is happening in agriculture, in the organic and sustainability movements, and why they remain so positive despite all the challenges and hurdles we have to overcome. I can’t wait for you to hear from our panel, and will let you get right to it.

One side note before we begin: you can find free video of this event at www.acresusa.com, and you can also order or purchase audio any of our other classes to help your eco-education. 

Anyway, this is our last podcast of 2017, and we wanted to also say thanks for a great year, and here’s to an even better 2018.

Learn more at www.acresusa.com.

 

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