Saturday, February 1, 2014

2014 Healthy Farms Conference Breakout Sessions II

Register here, 2014 Healthy Farms Conference

Breakout Sessions
Friday, February 14th, 2014. 1:30pm. 

 Holistic Biological Monitoring. 
Ralph Tate

You really want to make your land better, but how do you really know if your land is improving? Everything is so different from last year and the year before! The amount of rain, the temperature, how many animals you grazed! It is not hard to determine, but it requires an objective approach to measuring and recording results. Come join us for a fun “how-to” in biological monitoring. It will give you something to consider for this coming year!

About Ralph:
Ralph is an engineer, served a career in the Air Force and worked in the aerospace industry for over 12 years. Ralph became interested in sustainable agriculture after a friend shared Joel Salatin’s book, You Can Farm. Since then, Ralph has read extensively on sustainable agriculture, health and nutrition, and the importance of nutrient dense foods, such as grassfed beef. Ralph and his wife, Carolyn, are graduates of the first Nebraska Farm Beginnings class in 2006. He became a Holistic Management Certified Educator in 2010. During his CE training, he developed grazing planning software following Allan Savory’s approach to planned grazing. This software is now offered through Holistic Management International and has been purchased around the world. Ralph is currently a member of the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society and a beekeeper. Carolyn comes from a family who has farmed in Jefferson County for over three generations. Ralph and Carolyn bought part of her family’s farm, had it certified organic in 2008, and use it to custom graze cattle. They have four children and four grandsons.

A No-Till System for Organic Farming
Randy Anderson

A complex rotation has been proposed that may help organic producers minimize the need for tillage to control weeds.  The rotation includes perennial legumes, small grain crops, corn, and soybean arranged in a 9-year interval.  Management tactics have been developed to convert perennial legumes to cropland without tillage, and to control weeds during a 2-year interval of small grains.   Also, a system based on winter-killed cover crops can control weeds adequately to grow no-till soybean following the 2-year interval of small grains.

About Randy:
Randy Anderson is a weed ecologist with the USDA-ARS in South Dakota.  His research focuses on reducing the need for weed management inputs by understanding the aspects of weed population dynamics.  He developed a population-based approach to weed management that reduced input costs for weed management 50% compared to conventional practices. He is now seeking to develop a no-till organic farming system.

Farming with Less Muscle, Lessons Learned.
Lucinda Stuenkel

As farmers, we are aging and we have less access to skilled labor than any other time in history. How do we continue to do what we need to do with less muscle? Find out how one farm survived the loss of two big strong experienced men and still managed to increase soil fertility, continue conservation practices, and operate a grass-fed livestock operation. Yes, it can be done with less muscle. One widowed farm manager's experience of what works and what does you can use to enhance your agricultural operation.

About Lucinda: 
Lucinda Hardesty Stuenkel grew up on a small dairy and was very active in 4-H. After early retirement from a teaching career, she has come full circle back to farming with the sudden untimely deaths of loved ones and is managing it from an ecological and physically economical (lightweight labor) perspective.  The farm has cow/calf pairs and grass-fed beefs who graze 12 months of the year, wheat, soybeans, milo, corn, alfalfa, brome, and cover crop mixes. We regularly host conservation tours for various agencies so others can see some methods for improving water quality, reducing erosion, enhancing soil health, and rotational grazing systems. We also use low stress animal handling techniques to benefit both the cattle and the humans involved, and have redesigned our facilities with these goals in mind. This presentation is about improvements we have made to date. Lucinda has four children (ages 19 to 26) and two awesome grandchildren.

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