Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

On this episode of Tractor Time, we’re presenting a double feature on farm activism. We caught up with Sherri Dugger and Judith McGeary at the Acres Eco-Ag Conference in Minneapolis back in December. Both of them were speakers at the multi-day event, which pulls in leaders in sustainable farming from all over North America and beyond. Sherri and Judith  are at the forefront of efforts to empower small farmers and to fight for better food policy. When we spoke with Sherri Dugger she was fresh off a trip to Washington D.C. It was there that Sherri and group of farmers and ranchers voiced their support of the Green New Deal. Sherri worked for years as a journalist, and she’s just as surprised as anyone that she’s evolved into a leading activist for farmers. Just recently, she was named as the executive director of the Socially Responsible Agriculture Project. Before that she was executive director of the Women, Food and Agriculture Network. She is the co-chair of the national Farmers and Ranchers for a Green New Deal coalition, which we talk about in this episode.

 

Judith McGeary is an attorney and activist. She’s a farmer in Cameron, Texas, and she’s the founder and executive director of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance. She’s a passionate advocate for building durable local food systems and a fierce critic of government policies that don’t serve small farmers. She’s a force of nature who uses her expertise in law to empower her fellow farmers and to set lawmakers straight.

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Kathleen Merrigan was instrumental in crafting the Organic Foods Production Act in 1990. She also served as the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture during the Obama Administration. During that time, she spearheaded the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food program. And just recently, she was named as the first executive director of the Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems at Arizona State University. She previously served as executive director of sustainability at George Washington University. And she was named one of the "100 most influential people in the world" by Time Magazine in 2010. As you’ll hear, she has a lot to say about the true cost of food and the future of organic farming. She has a big vision for a food system that takes into account biodiversity, human health, water quality, climate and waste.

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If you’re a reader of Acres U.S.A. magazine, you might recognize his name. Paul Dorrance writes for us frequently, and he does it with a teacher’s spirit and a sense of humor. Acres is unique in that we rely on people like Paul, people who are in the field, doing the hard, challenging work of farming. Paul is also one of the featured speakers at the Acres U.S.A. Eco-Ag Conference in December. Eco-Ag is kind of like Coachella, or Woodstock, if you prefer older references. Instead of music, we bring together a group of some of the biggest names in regenerative agriculture. I’m just looking a list and it’s incredible: Carey Gillam, Zach Bush and Kathleen Merrigan are keynote speakers. Here are some other names you might recognize: Neal Kinsey, Mark Shepard, Bob Quinn, David Montgomery, Andre Leu, Paul Dettloff, Gary Zimmer … the list goes on. Paul Dorrance is in that mix and I thrilled to introduce him to you.

 

He’s a former Air Force pilot. He wears a big, ten-gallon cowboy hat and he’s as humble as they come. In this episode, we’re going to learn a little about Paul, but also about his latest article for our magazine. In that piece, Paul writes about his misadventures in Livestock Guardian Animals.

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Tractor Time is back, after harvest, to get back into the swing of recording and broadcasting interviews with your favorite people in sustainable agriculture. And we’re coming back with some thunder. Our guest today is a good friend of Acres USA. John Kempf is the founder of Advancing Eco Agriculture, a crop consulting company, and is an expert in the field of biological and regenerative farming. A resident of Middlefield, Ohio, Kempf is a farmer who grew up in and remains a part of the Amish community.

John has always sought alternative approaches to prevent damage to crops, and will be leading a two-day class on biological agriculture in December at the 2017 Acres USA Eco-Ag Conference and Trade Show. His class is our most popular so far, in fact, and is filling up fast.

Learn more about us at www.acresusa.com.

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We know how busy farmers are this time of year, so we feel especially lucky to have our guest on today’s show. He really needs no introduction, but we’ll give it a shot anyway.

Joel Salatin is known around most agricultural circles as the most famous farmer in the world. He calls himself a Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic farmer, which is a mouthful, both in words and in meaning.

More practically, he’s a successful author and speaker, has written dozens of pieces for Acres USA magazine through the years, has spoken at our Eco-Ag conferences, and through all that, we’ve learned that he is not afraid to be funny, educational, or to step into controversy when he needs to. But his belief in honoring the land and the animals is something we respect the most, and why we are glad to call him a friend. 

He spoke to us about the challenges in the eco-agriculture movement growing around the world, and answers some questions about how ecology, agriculture and the food supply can work together. He also talked about how to create a truly "sustainable" farm.

"Unless you are generating two salaries from two different generations, you do not have a sustainable farm," Salatin told us. 

Hosted by Ryan Slabaugh.

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