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05.05.15 Healthy soil, healthy farms and healthy communities

5th May 2015

The Land Stewardship project (LSP) is a private, non profit organisation founded in 1982 to foster an ethic of stewardship for farmland, to promote sustainable agriculture and to develop sustainable communities in the USA.

As part of this project, they followed some farmers who were implementing different management techniques to help safeguard soils and improve microbial activity.  

Gabe Brown, a farmer from North Dakota, explains that healthy soil represents more than higher yields from crops, it is an investment in his farm's long term viability and the future of his entire community, human and natural.  Practices that Gabe and some other American farmers are using include conservation tillage, multi-species cover cropping, mob grazing and frequent rotations.  Their approach is being monitored and so far the results are good.  One of the project team working with these farmers comments: "they're pushing scientists, conservationalists, and sustainable agriculture in general to a new level."

This article uses real farm examples and explains some of the thinking behind implementing min-till cultivations, diverse mixes of cover crops and mob grazing to try and focus on reducing costs, improving profit and building soil health and organic matter.  

One scientist comments, "Gabe did something I thought was impossible, and instead of telling him 'good job' I said, what more can you do?  I don't know how far we can take it but I like the idea of not putting limitations or constraints on a system.  Can we take it a little further?

Read the full article here.