September 21, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
Recent articles have left me scratching my head about the state of U.S. farm economics, especially looking at conflicting titles like, “Farm Income to Hit 7-Year High, Thanks to Record-Setting Aid” and “Farm Cash Receipts Forecasted to Hit a Decade-Low in 2020.” However, in a closer look, it actually makes sense. The COVID pandemic has precipitated one of the largest stopgap farm support payments ever seen, known as the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). Payments in 2020 are expected to total more than $37 billion to farmers and ranchers.
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September 9, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
Kiss the Ground is a new, feature-length movie that explores key soil health and regenerative agricultural principles, and features interviews with a wide range of authors, experts, farmers, researchers and scientists.
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August 23, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
There are many things that influence what a person does and how well they take care of the land they own or operate. Several studies show that any kind of absentee or non-operating landowner (investors, heirs, retirees) generally do not invest in conservation on the land as much as owner-operators. There are several reasons for that, but that is a topic for another day. Right now, I want to address why we have so much land ownership by outside investors or non-operating landowners and examine if we really want that much ownership/investment by folks outside agriculture.
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August 16, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
Sometimes, adversity is a blessing, though rarely does it seem so in the moment. Just ask Roy Thompson, a 33-year-old farmer from Akaska, South Dakota.
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July 26, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
I first spoke with the then 25-year-old Macauley Kincaid a little over a year ago, shortly after he attended a Soil Health Academy school.
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July 10, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
Parasite control in livestock is a major issue and has been heavily focused on for several decades now. There are numerous anthelmintics (chemical dewormers) available for internal parasite control and a host of pyrethroid and organophosphate products available for fly control. The issue with any of these products is that they are chemicals that impact not only the target pest but also other beneficial organisms. Parasite control products can negatively affect dung beetles, earthworms, other beetles, and a host of other beneficial insects.
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June 13, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
The 1859 novel written by Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, was required reading for millions of school kids in English Literature classes and is one of the best-selling novels of all time. The story is set in the late 18th century against the background of the French Revolution. Just as there were challenging times then, we are facing challenging times once again.
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June 7, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
Did you know that the health of plants, animals, ecosystems and humans is inextricably tied to plant phytochemical diversity? So, what are phytochemicals? In short, they are compounds naturally produced by plants that help the plants thrive in challenging conditions, fight off competitors, pest insects and disease. When you bite into a juicy strawberry or blueberry, enjoy vibrant-green lettuce or spinach, munch on a tomato or chow down on a juicy steak or hamburger, you consume much more than vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. You can also benefit from the incredible richness of phytochemicals.
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May 31, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
Concerns about the US food chain supply made their way into the mainstream this week, as more meat processing and packaging plants suspend operations temporarily due to coronavirus outbreaks in the workforce. When Smithfield Foods announced it was shutting its Sioux Falls plant indefinitely, CEO Ken Sullivan warned that doing so would create a ripple effect that would eventually hit grocery store shelves. The COVID-19 panic has revealed the weakness of our food system. Our current system is very fragile. It is estimated that the meals in the United States travel about 1500 miles to get from farm to plate.
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May 25, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
By the time you read this we will be fully into summer 2020. In many parts of the country it has been much cooler than normal well into the month of May. Even here in Mississippi we have had a very pleasant spring. Nighttime temperatures in the 40s and 50s with daytime highs in the 70s. Our cool-season perennials and annuals have persisted far longer than in most years. In the South we are full bore into our 2020 grazing season. Many of you in the northern states are just getting started. Regardless of when your grazing season begins, here are my top 10 tips for grazing success in 2020.
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May 17, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
Empty shelves and meat cases in grocery stores, oil at negative prices, record unemployment, skyrocketing national debt, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected many aspects of our lives.
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May 10, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
In my previous blog, I examined several institutional, philosophical and educational issues that have created unintended social distancing in agriculture. In this article, I want to shift the focus to examine another type of “social distancing.” This one involves the “relationship” we have with our food.
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