Friday, February 27, 2009

Farming Between Your Ears!

Simple in form and complicated in application it really is amazing the power of the mind and of thought. Farming seems to have lost this idea. In the world where bigger means better, farming has tried to keep pace.

At the recent Organic Symposium held at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln several thoughts rang true. None was truer than the idea put forth by Dave Welsch. Welsch is an organic and livestock farmer in Nebraska. I have known him for only a short time, but his idea of "Farming Between Your Ears" was quite profound. Who would have thought that putting, well more thought, into your farming would make more sense, produce better yeilds, and provide more profit. It really is quite a simple idea. Thinking about the affect you have on your environment, and how that affect trickles down.

On two separate occasions I have heard Dave give the same reasons for his switch from a "conventional" operation to an organic farm. That reason again is simple and requires this idea of "Farming Between Your Ears." He simply wanted his children to be able to come visit him in the fields, to be able to wash his children's clothes with his own and to not have to worry about chemical residues. All of the other benefits of an organic and sustainable farm come with being a knowledgeable and smart farmer as well as caring about the land and being a good steward.

Another thought that was quite profound was put forth by the moderator, Dr. Chuck Francis. It was the idea of teaching these sustainable and organic methods to farmers across cultures and physical boundaries. A major tenet of agriculture today is the idea that we, American Farmers, must feed the world. I have no doubt that America has a wealth of resources in our farmers and in our farming communities. However Francis posed the idea of should we feed the world. My opinion is that he believes we should provide resources, opportunities and education for the world to develop and implement sustainable and organic opportunities that will increase their capacity to feed themselves while building and ensuring local infrastructure to keep it growing. It also seems to me that this would build upon the idea of sustainability within these communities and ensure long-term success.

The symposium was great! Most of those in attendance were college students who seemed to be unfamiliar with organic farming. Dave was quite popular and did a great job of discussing his operation and how and why he switched to organic. There are numerous benefits to attending these seminars and sessions. To me personally it is supporting a smarter and more sustainable way of farming to ensure the vitality of our family farms for future generations! I believe the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society is quite fortunate to have members such as Dr. Francis and Dave Welsch, they are an invaluable resource!!

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