Regenerative Agriculture Podcast

By John Kempf

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Description

This is a show for professional growers who want to increase quality and yield -- for growers and agronomists who want to learn about the science and principles of regenerative agriculture systems. For those who believe there are better ways to grow.

Episode Date
A Geological Perspective On Regenerative Agriculture with David Montgomery
51:42

In this episode, John interviews David Montgomery, Professor of Geomorphology at the University of Washington. John and David discuss soil regeneration at length, pulling from David’s experience developing new topsoil in dead, stony ground and his deep dive into the science behind it.

David came to the field of regenerative agriculture from a unique position. As a geologist studying erosion, he became curious about agricultural impacts on soils.  

When David set out to write his first book, Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations, he imagined it would tie the subject of landscape formation over millennia to how soil erosion affected ancient civilizations. He ended up writing about the history of farming, because that's where soil erosion and degradation connects back to human societies. Spending more than a decade looking at how agriculture has influenced soil loss resulted in an epiphany that led him to see regenerative agriculture as the solution to historically degenerative agricultural problems.

In this thought-provoking interview, John and David discuss:

  • How conventional farming practices have contributed to mining the soil, and how this impacts the future of global societies.
  • David’s observations of rebuilding soil at scale and the science behind it
  • The 3 principles of successful soil regeneration:
    1. Minimal ground disturbance
    2. Keep the surface covered
    3. Grow diverse crop rotations
  • How the key to rapid restoration of soil fertility is about kick-starting the biology
  • Why David is an unrepentant optimist on the issue of reversing soil degradation, something he didn’t think would happen when he wrote the book on erosion.

John and David explore the soil-life effects of glyphosate as an antibiotic and mineral chelator, and conjecture as to it’s human health impacts. There is a fascinating glimpse of a South African farm that doubles as a cheetah rehabilitation area, that may spur new ideas on meshing agriculture with wildlife conservation. David shares about his two musical projects as well. https://www.bandmix.com/bigdirt/

 

David is the author of two books:

Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations  2007

Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life  2017.

 

David’s recommended reading list from the episode:

Dirt to Soil by Gabe Brown

Organic No-Till Farming by Jeff Moyer

The Third Plate by Dan Barber

 

The Community Impact Partner for this episode is Jerry Hatfield, director of the National Lab for Agriculture and the Environment at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. The ARS seeks partners to participate in on-farm research to further our collective knowledge about best farming practices. Please consider getting involved with this important work as a citizen-scientist, and look forward to a future podcast interview with Jerry soon!

Website: www.ars.usda.gov/nlae

Email: jerry.hatfield@ars.usda.gov

Phone: (5l5) 294-5723

 

Support For This Show

This show is brought to you by AEA, helping professional growers make more money using regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you grow on a large scale and are looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

Sign Up For Email Updates

To be alerted via email when new episodes are released, and get special updates about John speaking, teaching, and podcast LIVE recordings, be sure to sign up for The Regenerative Agriculture Podcast email list.

 

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com

Email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com

 

Credits

This episode was recorded by John Kempf and David Montgomery,  and produced by Nathan Harman, Robin Kitowski, and Anna Kempf.

May 15, 2019
Success is Like A Box of Cherries with Mike Omeg
01:25:22

Mike Omeg is a 3rd generation cherry grower who has spent the last few decades farming 350 acres of cherries in The Dalles, Oregon. Mike is an innovator with the vision for new approaches and the analytical mind to measure results. He’s tested myriad techniques in his quest for the best and most profitable methods of growing cherries, and was awarded the Good Fruit Grower award by the Fruit Grower News in 2017.

In this conversation, John and Mike delve into the type of bio-intensive system Mike has developed and the data he has collected in his trials. Mike has shown that profitable large-scale agriculture and regenerative practices are entirely compatible and speaks to how his operation has scaled regenerative practices. He also thinks deeply about return on investment, the economic growth of his operation, and discusses the positive impact that regenerative methods have had.

Believing that one of the fastest ways to improve soils is to grow a healthy crop, Mike explains his view of the tree as the conduit for putting carbon into our soils more efficiently than mulch or compost. Supported with the correct nutrition, the tree is simultaneously building this year’s crop and boosting nutrient levels in the soil for building future crops.

In the episode, Mike gives in-depth information on his experiments with different types of cover crops saying, "When we talk about having a return on our investment, we need to have every seed that goes into that mix be there because we know it’s going to earn us a return - not because we want to feel good that we're maybe doing something that we read in a book was important.”

Close to the end of this conversation, Omeg says, “I'm excited for every day to bring new challenges in farming. And focusing upon biological and restorative agriculture has just brought a real sense of joy to me when I walk through the orchard. It's exciting, and I love it.” Mike is truly an important figure in the landscape of stone fruit production. Check out his YouTube channel where he covers not only some of the most innovative stone-fruit production methods, but also a host of other fascinating topics.

Whether you grow cherries or cherry tomatoes, you will find this conversation between John and Mike to be fascinating and informative, with lessons that span all of agriculture.

Listen to this conversation to hear Mike explain:

  • His very practical experience and cost/benefit analysis with mulch, compost, cover crops and interplanting
  • How mow-and-blow replaced Mike’s use of compost
  • How plant sap analysis influenced his inputs management process
  • Mike’s extensive trials, and thinking process, for finding cover crops suitable for orchard alleyways
  • Specific information on Ajuga (Ajuga reptans), Moneywort (Lysimachia nummularia), and Comfrey (Symphytum officinale var. patens)
  • Nutritional defenses against the two major cherry diseases, bacterial canker and powdery mildew that he never imagined possible
  • An interesting anecdote on freeze resistance
  • The value of fish and other inputs on orchard plantings
  • The ROI on a bio-intensive system based on increased cherry size and firmness
  • How biologically intensive practices and large scale production fit together

Resources:

SeaShield (fish product mentioned by Mike)

Mike’s recommended sources for information:

YouTube

The Farming Ladder by G. Henderson

Please remember to support our Community Impact featured partners! Acres USA is North America’s premier publisher on production-scale organic and sustainable farming. For more than four decades they have been helping farmers, ranchers and market gardeners grow food organically and sustainably. Acres USA is dedicated to the mission of educating growers about the benefits of ecological farming, with content that is designed to help you grow your operation in an ecologically and economically sound way. Check out their books, podcast, and monthly magazine!

 

Support For This Show

This show is brought to you by AEA, helping professional growers make more money using regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you grow on a large scale and are looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

Sign Up For Email Updates

To be alerted via email when new episodes are released, and get special updates about John speaking, teaching, and podcast LIVE recordings, be sure to sign up for The Regenerative Agriculture Podcast email list.

 

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com

Email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com

 

Credits

This episode was Recorded by John Kempf and Mike Omeg, Edited by Nathan Harman, Produced by Nathan Harman, Robin Kitowski, and Anna Kempf.

Apr 16, 2019
A Conversation With Plants & Pascal Fafard
01:19:06

Pascal Fafard is a consultant and crop advisor in Quebec, Canada, working primarily with fruit and vegetable growers.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in agronomy and has been supporting and mentoring fruit and vegetable growers for more than 25 years. While working in IPM, nutrition and vitality advising, and the typical agronomic considerations, he realized that taking care of growers is as important as the grower taking care of plants.

This shift in focus led to his unique take on agriculture that has inspired advisors and growers to adopt more intuitive farming practices in the hopes of fostering greater peace of mind, increased clarity and enjoyment, better plant vitality and improved business productivity.

As you will hear, Pascal is committed to life in all its many forms and brings a perspective that stresses the importance of a close partnership between man and nature. His innovative approach encourages advisors and growers to unlock their full potential and to strive to realize what is most important to them.

This episode is largely the story of Pascal's thought journey on the nature of farming, the relationships we hold with nature, and the opportunity to make both more meaningful. He and John talk about the development of techniques to increase communication between growers and their plants, and a much more subtle way of interacting with our crops, which is intended to provide greater fulfillment to the grower, and better results.

We may be challenged to step outside our comfort zones, hearing what Pascal offers, but one may find it to be of great value.

"If there is something I want to say today...my only desire is... open new possibility to the grower, and if there is something that resonates in themselves from what I say, just take it. If there is something that doesn't talk to you just...throw it in the garbage.”

In this episode, John asks the question "What is it that plants desire from the grower?"

This episode introduces a Regenerative Agriculture Podcast first: quotes from actual plants, as translated by Pascal.

He notes that "When you communicate with nature you can receive information as a thought, as an image, as an emotion, you can be pulled to go somewhere in the field. It depends on the person...be open minded...it's got to be your way."

There are many stories from the field and a few action items, but this interview is not about science and agronomy. It's about a farmers relationship to life, and passion for the work of farming. These are esoteric concepts that Fafard presents eloquently and practically.

Pascal's course suggestions:

Maya Kincaid: The Sedona International School for Animal and Nature Communication

Pranic Healing - International course offerings: (USA EAST site: https://pranichealingusa.com/) (USA west site: https://pranichealing.com/)

And John's suggested reading on the topic: The Lost Language of Plants and The Secret Teachings of Plants, both by Stephen Harrod Buhner.

If you have questions or would like to set up a consultation with Pascal, please reach out to him at info@pascalfafard.com

 

Please remember to support all of our Community Impact featured partners! Chelsea Green is an employee-owned and mission-driven company and a leading publisher of hundreds of great titles, including Gabe Brown's recent book, From Dirt To Soil -- which we featured Gabe & his book on this show, in Season 1. If you like this podcast, you will love their books. And there is just enough winter left to read a few. Visit them at www.chelseagreen.com and enter the code "REAG30" at checkout, for a generous discount just for listeners of this show.

And finally, we are very pleased to announce the recent release of AEA’s new online learning platform, the Regen.Ag Academy, https://academy.regen.ag/

The first course is ready and more are on the way. This self-paced series of courses, each comprised of multiple video lessons, and graded quizzes, is geared toward the agricultural professional, Certified Crop Advisor (CCA), student, or highly motivated grower who wants to further their studies in regenerative agronomy. It is an accredited course and can be taken for CEU points from the ASA. We've been working hard to set up a platform where the best of John Kempf's teachings can be received, and where you can assess your own knowledge. We look forward to your participation and feedback. Check out Regen.Ag Academy here, and sign up to be notified of future course releases.

Thanks for Listening!

 

Support For This Show

This show is brought to you by AEA, helping professional growers make more money using regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you grow on a large-scale and are looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

Sign Up For Email Updates

To be alerted via email when new episodes are released, and get special updates about John speaking, teaching, and podcast LIVE recordings, be sure to sign up for The Regenerative Agriculture Podcast email list.

 

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com

Email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com

 

Credits

This episode was Directed by Geoffrey Shively and Nathan Harman, Edited by Nathan Harman, Produced by Nathan Harman, Robin Kitowski, and Jenna Sodano.

Mar 12, 2019
Season 2 Kickoff with Dr. Don Huber
53:28

Hi Friends!

Welcome to Season 2 of The Regenerative Agriculture Podcast!

Thank you for listening, spreading the word, and helping to make this show such a hit, while expanding our community in the fast-growing regenerative agriculture movement.

It is my honor to be part of this community along with you as we launch Season 2 of this show.

For this season-opening episode, we are immeasurably pleased to bring Dr. Don Huber back again, sharing more of his wealth of accumulated knowledge. Don was our first guest on the show in Season 1, and you can listen to the first-ever Regenerative Agriculture Podcast episode with Don, here.

Dr. Don Huber is a leading plant pathologist, Professor Emeritus at Purdue University, and prolific author, contributor, or editor of more than 300 published academic writings and three books.

For more than 50 years, Don has been a renowned researcher and principal voice in the field of crop-plant pathology, especially as it relates to the overlapping spheres of mineral fertility and microbial ecology.

As a research partner, consultant or advisor, he has contributed to work in more than a dozen countries and been awarded numerous honors and awards for his copious scientific contributions.

Critical among these, has been his work in: nitrogen efficiency; nitrification inhibitors; plant and microbial metabolite interactions; development of aminopeptidase profiling, whereby unknown micro-organisms can be rapidly identified and then cultured, by their amino acid profile; and copious work vastly furthering the understanding of mineral/ microbe/ disease/ herbicide interaction.

There are some heavy science topics in this show that may compel your own further research. But no matter what or where you grow, there are some truly high-value practicalities laid out in this conversation.

This all makes him a really exciting guest to have on the show.

In this episode, listen as Dr. Don Huber covers the following and more:

  • Reducing vs. non-reducing sugars and the role they play in energy storage and metabolism.
  • High levels of reducing sugars (glucose and fructose) are an attractant of insects and disease.
  • Manganese is an enzyme cofactor for the sucrose phosphate synthase enzyme that converts glucose and fructose.
  • Reducing sugars are exuded from roots, attracting pythium, Phytophthora, actinomycetes, oomycetes. Non-reducing sugars are less exuded and a poorer food source for these organisms.
  • Most soil pathogens remain dormant and harmless until activated by external nutrient sources. The grower can control this.
  • In disease suppressive soils, soil bacteria colonize the resting structures of dormant fungal or oomycete spores, causing fungistasis, keeping them dormant. Reducing sugars, as root exudates, disrupt this suppression by giving bacteria a more ready food source.
  • Airborne pathogens are also attracted to a deficient nutrient profile of the above-ground plant parts.
  • Rusts require an exogenous source of Zinc on the leaf surface for spores to germinate.
  • Siderophores can be prevented by antibiotics, nutritional integrity, and immune responses.
  • Some early fungicides did not affect the fungus, but rather the amino acid profile of the plant, denying the fungus its food source. Apple Scab example.
  • Aminopeptidase profiling that Don developed. Not directly practicable for farmers, but a fascinating and now commonly used lab practice, in microbiological research.
  • Nitrogen is not just N, from the periodic table.
  • Ammonium, Nitrate and Amino Nitrogen must be considered as unique substances, that affect systems differently and should be used differently.
  • Molybdenum’s role in the Nitrate Reductase enzyme functioning, and other details on nitrogen conversion and storage.
  • Ammonium is the most efficient form of Nitrogen for corn and wheat.
  • Nitrate requires 12-16% of all sugars just to convert to a plant usable form.
  • Ammonia, however, cannot be stored and must be metabolized as its taken up, which can be stressful for very small plants.
  • Efficient urea use and its reliance on the relatively abundant urease enzyme to hydrolyze ammonia.

At the end of the show, Don gives this reminder:

“It’s truly remarkable how everything is integrated to such a dynamic degree that it all relates together… Just look at the whole picture and make sure that we're meeting the needs of the plant… We need to look for the specific elements, but recognize that they're all part of an integrated system.” ~Don Huber

For more reading of Dr. Huber’s work, view his selected bibliography and further bio.

Be sure to check out the links below as I have some exciting announcements to make!

Enjoy!

John and The Regenerative Agriculture Podcast team at AEA

 

PS... 

I am excited to announce that, in alignment with my mission of making regenerative agriculture the new standard for agriculture, and due to popular demand, I am opening an online academy, the Regen.Ag Academy! The first course is entitled Precision Ag Nutrition Management, offering powerful and engaging information, along with 2 CEUs upon completion. We will be launching soon so signup for our Regen.Ag Academy email list here.

In the introduction section of this episode, you will hear the amazing Seth Godin (author of 18 best-selling books) mention his new Business of Food Workshop. It is worth checking out. I find a terrific amount of value in Seth's workshops.

If you are a large-scale grower of corn, popcorn, pinto beans, or other grains and broadacre crops, I welcome you to attend an event I will be hosting on February 27, The Regenerative Soil and Plant Health Academy and AEA grower lunch in Garden City, Kansas. Click here to learn more. Hope to see you there!

 

~

 

Support For This Show

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

Sign Up For Email Updates

To be alerted via email when new episodes are released, and get special updates about John speaking, teaching, and podcast LIVE recordings, be sure to sign up for The Regenerative Agriculture Podcast email list.

 

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com. You can email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com.

 

Credits

This episode was Directed by Geoffrey Shively and Nathan Harman, Edited by Nathan Harman, Produced by Nathan Harman, Jenna Sodano, Robin Kitowski, and Anna Kempf.

 

Feb 16, 2019
LIVE at ACRES 2018 with Ed Curry
58:02

John Kempf and Ed Curry take the stage in Louisville, KY at the ACRES Conference 2018 — a hotbed for regenerative agriculture practitioners for the last 30 years — to record the Regenerative Agriculture Podcast’s first ever LIVE show.

The Acres Conference isn’t just another trade show or conference; this is a gathering of passionate and purposeful people working to share information and tools, and challenge the status quo in agriculture for the greater good. This is why we chose Acres 2018 for our first ever Podcast LIVE and why John and Ed make such a great pair to co-create this inaugural episode at this event.

Ed is an old-school breeder and grower with a new-school mentality. More than 90% of the green chiles grown in the US and Mexico are from Ed’s breeding program. He is now the only breeder of his kind in the world.

Even if you don’t grow chiles, you can certainly learn something from this discussion.

The show covers important topics such as:

  • The art of visual phenotyping
  • Soil health’s impact on genetics
  • Increase in yield by maximizing genetic potential over time
  • Visually measuring the yield and quality of a chile crop within 30 days of planting
  • The relationship between early vigor and crop yield
  • How Ed’s management practices have brought steady decreases in Phytophthora and Xanthomonas bacterial spot
  • Ed’s prediction for the coming capsaicin revolution and its many positive benefits

One of the most powerful things Ed says is, “The soul of farming is the soil.” We agree.

The finale of our first season, episode #30, represents a huge milestone and our first ever Podcast LIVE. A huge THANK YOU is in order to all our amazing listeners around the world in the regenerative ag community who have supported this show and helped to make it such a success.

We hope you have a lovely holiday and we look forward to sharing the second season of the Regenerative Agriculture Podcast with you in the new year.

Thank you,
The Regenerative Agriculture Podcast Team

 

 

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

 

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com. You can email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com.

 

 

Sign Up For Special Updates

To be alerted via email when new episodes are released, and get special updates about John speaking, teaching, and podcast LIVE recordings, be sure to sign up for our email list.

 

Credits

This episode was Directed by Geoffrey Shively, Edited by Nathan Harman, Produced by Nathan Harman, Robin Kitowski, Jenna Sodano, and Anna Kempf.

Dec 07, 2018
Biocontrols for the future, with Pam Marrone
36:00

"It's a very exciting time to be in agriculture, and a really great time to be a farmer, I think, and a great time to be an entrepreneur." ~Pam Marrone

 

Pam is the founder and CEO of Marrone Bio Innovations, a leader in bio-pesticide research and manufacturing. She is a Ph.D. entomologist, turned entrepreneur.  Pam is an inspiration to not only the next generation of microbial Ag researchers but to women in science and business. In addition, her work has helped farmers who are looking for more benign ways to address pest challenges.

 

Marrone’s career has taken her from Monsanto and Novo Nordisk to entrepreneurial ventures such as Agraquest Inc. and MBI.

 

Her research screening for microbes and their products has yielded a library of tens of thousands of potentially useful microbes, and has given the world several of it's most widely used Bio-Pesticides.Pam also co-founded the Biological Products Industry Alliance to help growers understand HOW to make the best use of these materials in a combined whole farm program.

 

Throughout this fascinating conversation you will discover:

  • 50% of pharmaceuticals are derived from natural products, but only 15% of pesticides
  • Environments where one is more likely to find insecticidal microbes compared to fungicidal microbes
  • Technologies that are enabling faster and more effective microbial and metabolite research
  • Microbial shifts observed due to different farming practices
  • Ecological and profitable advantages of BioControls over synthetics
  • The great need for more multifactor, on-farm, holistic research as opposed to single-factor, silver bullet research
  • Why it's not necessarily the bacteria or fungi themselves, but the compounds they produce that we are looking for

 

Enjoy!

John

 

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

Episode Resources

 

 

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com. You can email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com.

 

Sign Up For Special Updates

To be alerted via email when new episodes are released, and get special updates about John speaking, teaching, and podcast LIVE recordings, be sure to sign up for our email list.

Nov 30, 2018
Practice of Biological Farming with Gary Zimmer
57:07

This week, we present a follow-up to the interview I conducted last week, in Episode 27, with Gary Zimmer. I hope you enjoy the chance to dive deeper into some of the topics raised in the previous episode. 

Gary has been a key figure in the development of regenerative agriculture in America, is a sought-after speaker, and is the author of both The Biological Farmer (now available as an updated and expanded second edition), and Advancing Biological Farming. He is the founder of Midwestern BioAg, a consulting and fertility provision company headquartered in Madison Wisconsin.

Gary's consulting has largely been in broad-acre crops and dairy, but the powerful information he offers can be universally transferred to any crop. Gary's analogies between ruminant digestion and soil mineralization helps us understand concepts in biological farming.  This talk is sprinkled with fast-paced wisdom, anecdotes, research, and philosophy.

The conversation centered on three topics which are critical to every farm:

 

  1. Trace Minerals
  • Gary's preferred trace mineral nutrition sources and distribution methods
  • A lively discussion on sap, tissue, soil and dairy ration testing
  • Using mineral inputs when and where needed, with purpose, based on data

 

  1. Nitrogen Management
  • Nitrogen management is NOT merely a numbers game
  • Digestibility and solubility are the critical considerations in N management
  • The use of various nitrogen stabilizers such as polymer coatings, humates and carbohydrates
  • The use of S, Mg and Mo to stabilize nitrogen in the soil
  • Growing crops without purchased nitrogen
  • Removing N availability as a limiting factor by growing N

 

  1. Carbon
  • A perceived N response which is actually caused by solubilizing carbon and releasing CO2
  • The economics of mineral balance in terms of yield bump vs. yield loss
  • How to best think about cover crops and their use

 

Thank you to Gary for joining us twice and hope everyone enjoys the show!

 

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com. You can email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com.

 

Sign Up For Special Updates

To be alerted via email when new episodes are released, and get special updates about John speaking, teaching, and podcast LIVE recordings, be sure to sign up for our email list.

Nov 26, 2018
Concepts of Biological Farming with Gary Zimmer
34:51

Gary Zimmer’s impact on modern regenerative agriculture technique and proliferation is hard to overestimate -- with an enthusiasm and zeal that are positively infectious -- we are privileged to have him as a guest on the podcast.

Zimmer is the founder of Midwestern BioAg, a company which advocates similar principals to Advancing Eco Agriculture, while focusing on dry soil amendments.

He farms with his family in Sauk County, Wisconsin and is the author of two seminal books on biological agriculture, which I highly recommend: The Biological Farmer (now available as an updated and expanded second edition), and Advancing Biological Farming.

In this episode, Gary:

  • Provides stories and insights from his decades-long career
  • Clarifies the distinction between soil-correction and crop-fertilizer
  • Reiterates the need to focus on biology in our soils and to use crop variation
  • Warns against simply replacing fertilizer sources point-for-point when transitioning to organic production

The discussion is lively, informative and short. Thus, we decided to invite Gary back for a follow up episode which will air next week, where Gary and I dive deeper into specific actionable steps growers can take to better manage nitrogen and trace mineral nutrition delivery from the soil.

Hope you enjoy!

John

 

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com. You can email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com.

 

Sign Up For Special Updates

To be alerted via email when new episodes are released, and get special updates about John speaking, teaching, and podcast LIVE recordings, be sure to sign up for our email list.

Nov 09, 2018
From Dirt To Soil with Gabe Brown
44:41

Gabe Brown is a clear, collected, and inspired voice for regenerative agriculture, having implemented and seen great changes on his family's ranch in North Dakota over time. In fact, Gabe’s A-Horizon (topsoil) is 27 in, and the soils on surrounding farms only have 4-6 in of topsoil!

Gabe is the author of the recently published and highly-acclaimed book, Dirt To Soil, from Chelsea Green. I highly recommend reading this truly inspiring and informative book.

Speaking and teaching about the practical steps for soil regeneration and farm profitability for more than 15 years, Gabe is also a partner with Soil Health Consultants LLC, an all-star group of ag thinkers and doers engaged in challenging the status-quo of agriculture.

In this episode Gabe and I speak about:

  • The time when Dr. Norman put a 4 ft long probe into the ground and the soil would collapse with only 2 ft in the probe because of tremendous pore space.
  • The reception of his book and the increased adoption of regenerative agriculture he’s observed.
  • How to drive wholesale change in agriculture: the role of producers (most), consumers (a lot), processors (plenty) and government (not much!).
  • His desire to educate consumers regarding their role as potential Regenerative Ag advocates who leverage their food purchasing power.
  • The need for growers to focus on photosynthesis, carbon cycling, and support of  biological systems.
  • The relative value of soil testing, which test is most valuable, and what to measure.
  • The idea that Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium are abundant enough in soils and the atmosphere to supply all NPK needed for crop and livestock production, and can be made available through cover cropping and biological cycling.
  • Dr. Norman's research on Gabe’s farm documenting soils with up to 70% pore space.
  • The real potential to increase nutrient density, environmental conditions, and farm livelihood in the near-term.
  • And the one thing he wishes every farmer in the country would do.


This is Gabe's second time on the show and I am pleased to welcome him back. Listen to Gabe's and my previous episode, which received great feedback, here.

Hope you Enjoy!

John

 

P.S. Next Tuesday, Nov 7th, I will be hosting an AEA webinar to discuss our seaweed product and why plants respond so differently to it than to other seaweeds. Sign up for the webinar here.

 

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

  

Related Resources

Book: Dirt To Soil, by Gabe Brown

TEDx Talk: Gabe Brown on Regeneration of Our Lands: A Producer’s Perspective

Webinar: John Kempf on How Crops Benefit From Robust Soil Microbial Populations

Podcast: Eliminating the need for synthetic fertilizer with Kris Nichols

Webinar: John Kempf on Changing Agronomy With Biology

Webinar: Capturing Residue to Build Soil Organic Matter

Book: Soil, by David Montgomery

 

 

 

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com. You can email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com.

 

 

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Credits

This episode was Directed by Geoffrey Shively and Nathan Harman, Edited by Nathan Harman, Produced by Nathan Harman, Jenna Sodano, Robin Kitowski, and Anna Kempf.

 

Nov 02, 2018
Traits of Exceptional Farm Managers
42:05

In this episode, I explore the characteristics shared by farm managers whose operations are exceptionally successful, and consistently outperform similar farms in the region.

In my experience as a field consultant and working with AEA's growers, I’ve observed a set of distinctive managerial patterns in the more successful growing operations. These traits bring outstanding results when farmers apply them over time. Listen to this episode for insights on these characteristics, and how they make growers more successful on their operations.

This podcast episode was originally recorded an exclusive webinar and received such fantastic feedback, I wanted to share it with you. Because this was a webinar, the audio quality is a somewhat lower than usual.

The concepts I cover include:

  • Focusing personal energy on increasing revenue, while delegating responsibility for decreasing costs to  managers
  • Developing an intimate understanding of the agronomic science needed to increase revenue
  • Focusing on developing manageable data, measuring, and documenting which techniques work or don't
  • Making decisions based on data, particularly economic data
  • Having an intuitive heart connection to your crops

 

Click here sign up for our email list and get updates when new episodes are available.

 

 

 

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

 

Related Resources

Extraordinary farm managers do more of these things, than others:

  • Focus their time and energy on increasing revenue (spend 80% of own finance related planning time)
  • Delegate decreasing costs to accountants, advisors, and/or other staff (spend 20% of own finance related planning time)
  • Develop an intimate knowledge of the science needed to increase revenue
  • Put a big focus on developing data sets, measuring, and documenting the techniques that work and don't work
  • Are decisive and make decisions based on data, particularly economic data
  • Plan for the long-term
  • Expect perfect implementation and execution from themselves and staff
  • Have close relationships with staff, bordering on family
  • Spend time learning new information (reading books, attending events, listening to educational media)
  • Are open-minded to exploring new information
  • Think big, start small, and scale fast
  • Have an intuitive heart connection to their crops

 

 

 

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com. You can email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com.

 

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Oct 25, 2018
Fungi Matters with Peter McCoy
50:39

Peter McCoy speaks for the fungi.

His mission is to increase awareness, appreciation and the practical use of all manner of mushroom and mycelia. Peter is a co-founder of the grassroots advocacy group, Radical Mycology. He is also the author of a book by the same name which I’ve found to be the most thorough, current, and inspiring mycological reference available.

For those of you new to the wonderful world of Fungi and regenerative agriculture, mycology is the study of fungi (mushrooms, lichens, molds, etc.) and is a fundamental element of building soil health and profitable regenerative systems.

Peter is in high demand -- appearing in publications, speaking, and recently starting the world’s first mycology school (Mycologos), dedicated to the practical arts and science of working with fungi and, after much fanfare, being successfully funded on Kickstarter.

Peter is well-versed in fungal impacts on agriculture systems on which this podcast episode focuses. His advocacy also covers ecological restoration, medical research, manufacturing, human nutrition, and more.


Actionable Information Within This Episode:

  • Why fungi should be considered a primary component in agricultural systems.

  • Types of fungi to know in farming and how to encourage them.

  • Utilizing fungal roles in the carbon cycle, soil aggregation, stability, and porosity.

  • Calcium syncing and phosphorous harvesting.

  • Myco-remediation techniques for neutralizing toxins.

  • Drought, heat and disease resilience and tolerance.

 

 

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

 

Related Resources

Animation: Mycorrhizal Fungi in Action

Regenerative Agriculture Podcast: Eliminating the need for synthetic fertilizer with Kris Nichols

Good Life Revival Podcast: Permaculture, Rewilding, and Homesteading with Peter McCoy

Webinar: John Kempf on How Crops Benefit From Robust Soil Microbial Populations

Webinar: John Kempf on Changing Agronomy With Biology

Webinar: Capturing Residue to Build Soil Organic Matter

Organization: Open Source Ecology (Peter McCoy, Advisor)

Wikipedia: Mycology

 

 

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com. You can email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com.

 

 

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Oct 17, 2018
How Nutrition Impacts Dairy Performance
54:17

Dr. Silvia Abel-Caines is a Veterinarian with a Ph.D. in Ruminant Nutrition, who is currently working as the Staff Ruminant Nutritionist for Organic Valley. She has researched neonatal immunity and colostrum supplementation in dairy calves and has also performed research on improving the fatty acid profile of milk through nutrition.

Combining the knowledge from her experience with ruminants and her technical training and research, Dr. Silvia Abel-Caines provides grazing insights and key information on maximizing dairy production by managing all aspects of cow health.

On this episode of the podcast, Silvia and I talk about

  • The roles of key trace minerals in plant health and performance
  • The science behind immunity with nutrition
  • How the lack of key mineral access leads to plants being largely comprised of nitrogen
  • Animal behavior and the feeding sequence
  • How farmers can change what ruminants graze for by what they are fed prior to letting them out to pasture

 

 

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

 

Resources

The Farm as EcoSystem by Jerry Brunetti

Grass, the Forgiveness of Nature by Charles Walters

Management-Intensive Grazing by Jim Gerrish

The Albrecht Papers

The Art and Science of Grazing by Sarah Flack

Soil, Grass, and Cancer by André Voisin  

 

  

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com. You can email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com.

 

 

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Aug 31, 2018
How To Prevent Nitrogen and Phosphorous Leaching
50:05

In this episode, John discusses specific methods for the management of nitrogen and phosphorous for maximum benefit while reducing leaching, runoff, and pollution. Learn how to address nitrogen and phosphorus from both organic and conventional approaches. This episode contains effective, actionable information geared towards responsible and regenerative fertilizer management.

This episode is sourced from a previously recorded AEA webinar and contains specific AEA product recommendations -- which means, you can also tap into visual versions of this information, here:

Recorded Webinar presentation (video)

Webinar Slide deck

 

 

 

Preventing Nitrogen and Phosphorous Leaching - Episode Highlights

 Key Points:

  • Plant nutrients should be available without being water soluble

  • Nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers can be stabilized to prevent them from leaching

  • We can maintain and increase yields while reducing nutrient runoff when the right technology is used

 

Phosphorus exists in the soil in four states:

  • Plant available inorganic, orthophosphate (1 lb per acre)

  • Microbially complexed, organic, unavailable (50 lb per acre)

  • Adsorbed to soil particles, unavailable (150 lb per acre)

  • Mineral, (includes precipitated), unavailable (up to 9000 lb per acre)

 

Phosphorus can be lost to water by:

  • Loss of soluble inorganic P shortly after applying

  • Loss of small soil particles with adsorbed P (majority)

 

Plant available inorganics:

  • Become rapidly complexed

  • Adsorption

  • Precipitation 

  • Binds with Fe, Al, Mn in acidic soils, and Ca in alkaline soils

  • Best availability at ph 6-7

 

Microbial Complexed

  • Microbial processes mineralize and release orthophosphate,

  • Can tap into adsorbed P and mineral P 

  • Optimal soil temperature of 65-105º F

 

To prevent phosphorus leaching

  • Accelerate the mineralization process to release more P from unavailable reserves

  • Mychorrizal fungi and phosphorus solubilizing bacteria (BioCoat Gold)

  • Apply P that is available but not soluble

  • Add stable humic substances which have a high anion exchange capacity, can hold P without leaching (HumaCarb)

  • Microbial stabilized nitrogen, added carbon, sulfur, molybdenum

  • Rejuvenate and ATS

 

 

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

 

Resources

http://nmsp.cals.cornell.edu/publications/factsheets/factsheet12.pdf

https://www.sciencelearn.org.nz/resources/961-the-phosphorus-cycle

https://www.extension.umn.edu/agriculture/nutrient-management/phosphorus/the-nature-of-phosphorus/docs/the-nature-of-phosphorus.pdf

http://www.cropnutrition.com/availability-of-phosphorus-fertilizer

http://soilquality.org.au/factsheets/phosphorus

http://blog.nutri-tech.com.au/the-phosphate-equation/

 

 

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com. You can email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com.

 

 

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Aug 10, 2018
3 Things To Do When Plants Don't Respond to Nutrient Applications
09:33
Sometimes growers apply fertilizers to crops that don’t respond to the applications like they're expecting. When plant health and vigor is in a decline, and nutrient applications don’t move the needle, how can we reclaim the situation? 
 
Through our consulting experience, we have learned that when nutrient applications bring little response and plants are going downhill, applying the right biology will reverse the direction of a declining crop with a speed and effectiveness that is almost magical. I discuss the three steps we take to flip directions in short order. 
 
Enjoy!
 
 

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com. You can email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com.

 

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Jul 31, 2018
The Job of a Farmer is to Feed the Soil with Sarah Singla
36:30

Sarah Singla is a farmer, agronomist, and educator from Southern France. Her family farm has been in no-till production since 1980. When she took the reigns in 2010 she additionally pursued a wonderfully complex diversified cover-cropping, mixed species, multi-income-stream approach that is highly thought-out, yet fluid.

Sarah has visited growers the world over in direct communication about their production systems. Her experience is broad, yet she consistently finds the most successful producers reducing erosion, increasing soil microbiology and working with nature. She has since become a champion of regenerative agriculture.

In this episode, you will find particularly useful information on cover/crop/animal/bee systems in grain-based production. Sarah expands on her compelling vision for the regenerative future in agriculture with multiple examples and options to fit any farm.

We discuss:

  • How learning and education for farmers is linked to farm profitability
  • Goal-based thinking in agriculture - what it is and how it works better than following any one methodology such as organic, no-till, sustainable, etc.
  • Techniques for preventing erosion
  • Techniques for reducing fuel consumption of tractors and equipment
  • Improving degraded soils
  • Fertilizer reduction

 

 

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

 

 

 

Resources

Dirt, The Erosion of Civilizations, by David Montgomery

 

 

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com. You can email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com.

 

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Jul 27, 2018
Ecosystem Diversity Prevents Insect Pressure
55:22

Jonathan Lundgren is an agroecologist, Director of the ECDYSIS Foundation, and CEO of Blue Dasher Farm. He received his Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of Illinois in 2004 and was a professional pesticide evaluator with USDA-ARS for 11 years.

Jonathan's research and education programs focus on assessing the ecological risk of pest management strategies and developing long-term solutions for sustainable food systems. His ecological research focuses heavily on conserving healthy biological communities within agroecosystems by reducing disturbance and increasing biodiversity within cropland.

In this episode, Jonathan and I discuss

  • How diversity in insect populations decreases pest problems
  • Why the term "pesticide safety" is meaningless, and the ecological implications and risk assessment of pesticides
  • How to develop agroecosystems that reduce the need for insect management products and other agrochemicals
  • How to design a proactive pest management system
  • Beekeeping, varroa mites, overwintering, and other interesting aspects of bees and honey production

 

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

Resources

 

 

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com. You can email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com.

 

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Jul 20, 2018
The Fallacy of Perfect Soil Reports
15:11

Soil analysis should be used as a milestone to monitor progress towards growing healthy crops; they should not be used as a goal. Every nutrient and soil amendment application needs to produce a strong crop response, not just a soil analysis response. When we apply this understanding properly it means that we will not apply uneconomical quantities of soil amendments to balance a soil analysis that do not first provide a benefit to the crop.

 

On the mini-episode this week, I talk about 

  • where soil tests are needed for optimal farm performance
  • how a soil test can be a detriment 
  • what to look for in a soil report
  • what the numbers aren’t telling you
  • why you can decrease your annual fertilizer inputs and get a better crop response

 

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

Resources

https://www.advancingecoag.com/soil-samples-analysis 

 

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com. You can email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com.

 

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Jul 16, 2018
Microbial Influences on Crop Quality with Greg Pennyroyal
55:17

Greg Pennyroyal is the Viticulture and Enology Coordinator at Wilson Creek Winery & Vineyards in Temecula, California. He is also the Professor of Viticulture for Mt. San Jacinto Community College. Greg has worked in many industries including medicinal organic herb production, traditional eastern medicine, and botanical medicine research and development. Greg has been active in researching neurodegenerative diseases in conjunction with the University of California, Santa Barbara and has a breadth of knowledge about plant health that is a true delight.

 

In this episode, Greg and I discuss

  • How the microbiome determines ‘terroir’ and influences flavor and quality,
  • Using plant sap analysis, and how well it correlates with field observation
  • Can you produce fruit with more flavor and metabolites in a stressed environment, or in an optimal environment?
  • Plus many more highlights

 

Support For This Show

This episode is brought to you by AEA - Advancing Eco Agriculture - leading regenerative agriculture since 2006.

Visit www.advancingecoag.com today and learn how AEA can help you increase quality + yield.

 

Resources

 

Music Greg recommends:



Episode 16 - Greg Pennyroyal - Highlights

 

2:30 - Greg’s journey bringing him to where he is today

  • Greg started on a family farm, not having any experience or idea what he was doing
  • Greg’s advice on finding a mentor, and how a local dairy farmer became one of Greg’s first mentors
  • How Greg found his practical experience and down-home logic helped him when thinking critically about what he was taught in college
  • Why Greg moved on after a decade, and him ending up at Trout Lake Farm for the decade after

 

8:25 - Integrating business and agriculture

  • The importance of not being greedy when developing a solid place in the market

 

9:00 - Greg’s movement to Leiner Health Products and his increase in research possibilities

  • Why looking for alternatives to standard agriculture doesn’t mean we need to be looking for alternatives to science
  • Greg’s views on having a perspective of connecting the dots on a higher level than deep science

 

10:30 - Standardizing natural products like medicine

  • Greg’s breakthrough on finding plants growing in ecosystems closer to where the plant was native to, where biological principles were used, had much less variation from season to season and farm to farm
  • This was because plants that are built better and grown in a biological system tend to have more biochemical homeostasis

 

13:10 -  The connection between biological integrity and the human genome

 

13:30 - Greg’s homeopathic testing with interesting results

 

15:45 - Greg’s work on an MS medication from a rare Tibetan herb, and how it was similar to California white sage

 

17:20 - The importance of being aware of misinformation on both sides of unconventional and conventional agriculture

 

17:50 - Greg at Wilson Creek Winery and Vineyards

  • Greg loves making wine!
  • Viticulture is one of the few agricultural crops that a paid for quality. Great grapes = higher wine prices.
  • x6 value of the commercial value of grapes
  • How different regions of growing contribute to the taste of wine - which is due to the microbiome of the area (microbial patterns)

 

23:05 - More info on plants being grown in their native environment grown using biological practices

  • Level 1 - plants struggling to survive
  • Level 2 - getting in balance
  • Level 3 - enhance production of what plant has difficulty producing when not balanced
  • Highest level -  Disease and insect resistance plant producing healthy offspring

 

26:10 - Bringing plants into balance

  • Both from a nutritional perspective and from a microbiome perspective
  • Getting plants onto a positive cycle and out of a negative cycle

 

29:10 - The amazing resiliency of plants

  • How quickly stressed trees can recover when given the proper opportunity

 

30:15 - Great results of plant sap analysis over petiole analysis

 

32:00 - Plants expressing different chemical profiles based on the nutritional and microbial environment

  • Everyone cares about flavor and aroma
  • Stressing a plant vs. producing in an optimal environment
  • The debate in the wine world on deficit irrigation
  • Greg doesn’t believe enough research has been done in this area, but Greg thinks for plants “stress is stress”, and that plants want to produce great output

 

37:40 - Reverse bell curve on plant water and nutrient deprivation

  • Needing to balance macronutrients and micronutrients

 

42:10 - What has been something that has really surprised Greg? 

  • How the land-grant university system has been co-opted by certain interests
  • The backlash on people speaking out against conventional agriculture practices
  • How Greg has seen misinformation reinforced from his time working in the pharmaceutical industry

 

44:35 - What does Greg believe to be true about modern agriculture that others do not?

  • The whole idea that we are stewards of the ecosystem isn’t true - we ARE the ecosystem, and the microbiome connects all of us
  • This makes the idea of spraying roundup on plants very questionable
  • How this relates to a decline in human health

 

48:15 - What is a resource Greg would recommend?

  • See the resources section (above). 

 

50:40 - What question does Greg wish he was asked?

  • Greg’s small growers' co-op
  • Greg’s work in teaching vineyard skills to kids on the autistic spectrum

 

 

Feedback, Booking, and Production Contacts

John@RegenerativeAgriculturePodcast.com

Booking@RegenerativeAgriculturePodcast.com

Production@RegenerativeAgriculturePodcast.com

Jul 13, 2018
Vegetative and Reproductive Nutrients with John Kempf
21:34

I’ve been asked a lot recently about how to manage vegetative growth versus reproductive growth. On the mini-episode this week, I talk about which nutrients drive strong vegetative growth, and which drive strong reproductive growth and development, along with the hormonal interactions which drive plant dominance. Nutrients in both categories interact with and synergize or antagonize certain plant hormones. These interactions shape how trees and plants develop reproductive buds and fruitwood versus shoot growth. On this episode, I talk about which nutrients are vegetative, which are reproductive, and how to switch plant dominance between vegetative and reproductive stages.

 

4 Vegetative Growth nutrients:

  • Nitrate Nitrogen (not ammonium or urea)
  • Potassium
  • Chloride
  • Calcium

 

Reproductive nutrients:

All other nutrients will bring a slight reproductive response but the below 3 drive the strongest reproductive growth.

  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus
  • Ammonium

  

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com. You can email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com.

 

Sign Up For Special Updates

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Jul 10, 2018
Rethinking Plant Physiology and Absorption of Nutrients From the Soil
01:06:17

Dr. Jerry Pollack is a pioneering water researcher whose work in structured water and cell biology has been described as being some of the most important research that will be conducted in the 21st century. His research creates a completely new paradigm of cell biology and nutrient absorption. He is recognized worldwide as a dynamic speaker and author, whose passion lies in plumbing the depths of natural truths.

Dr. Pollack received the 1st Emoto Peace Prize and is a recipient of the University of Washington's highest honor, the Annual Faculty Lecturer Award. He is founding Editor-in-Chief of the research journal WATER and Director of the Institute for Venture Science. Dr. Pollack's (award-winning) books include The Fourth Phase of Water (2013), and Cells, Gels, and the Engines of Life (2001). Dr. Jerry Pollack maintains an active laboratory at the University of Washington in Seattle.

In this episode, Jerry and I discuss

  • How water moves to the top of a 100-yard tall redwood
  • How nutrients are absorbed across cell membranes and plant roots
  • The role of EZ water in moving nutrients through vascular tissue
  • How plant roots can absorb complete compounds from the soil solution

 

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

  

Resources

Cells, Gels and the Engines of Life

The Fourth Phase of Water: Beyond Solid, Liquid, and Vapor

 

Episode 15 - Dr. Gerald H. Pollack - Highlights

4:50 - What is exclusion zone water? (EZ Water)

 

  • We all learned water had 3 phases, but the idea that water could have a phase between liquid and solid has been around for some time
  • EZ water is between solid and liquid. Gel-like, almost like raw egg whites
  • EZ water has a negative charge, unlike ordinary water
  • Energy comes from infrared light
  • EZ water is also called fourth phase water, ordered water, or structured water

 

13:10 - John strongly recommends reading two of Gerald’s books:

 

 

 

 

13:40 - How are nutrients and water transported inside a plant? How are nutrients absorbed by root systems? How does EZ water relate?

 

  • How a tube in water that allows water to continuously flow works in the same way that trees can transport water
  • Energy is coming from light absorbed in the water will drive the flow of water
  • How this same idea can apply to the cardiovascular system in the human body

 

27:45 - How is this related to nutrient mobility?

 

31:35 - Alternate mechanisms for nutrient absorption by cells

 

  • The assumption that the cell membrane is impermeable is questionable
  • Why the idea of thousands of pumps and channels in the membrane doesn’t work
  • The cell gets its electrical potential from the negatively charged water
  • If there is no impermeable barrier, then substances can be absorbed by the cell

 

42:40 - Simplicity is the essence of science

 

45:50 - What is the limitation of what cells can absorb?

 

  • Substances could move in and out of the cell in transition areas of water to EZ water

 

49:25 - Water crisis in agricultural - soils that cannot hold water well anymore

 

  • Soils need charge distributions just right to build EZ water
  • Water holding capacity is diminished when the soil is destroyed, directly related to the ability to make EZ water

 

54:30 - What is the question Gerald wishes he was asked?

 

  • The role of water in health - absolutely central. Cells cannot function properly unless properly hydrated
  • The role of grounding in health and in its ability to convert water to EZ water
  • Juicing to get EZ water from inside plants

 

 

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com. You can email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com.

 

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Jun 29, 2018
Why Regenerative Agriculture with John Kempf
08:18

On the mini-episode this week, I focus on why we should develop regenerative agriculture, how it is different, and why it is important. In the past 10 or 12 years, a lot of conversation has been had on sustainable agriculture. In this episode, I explore what it is that we want to sustain, why regeneration is important, and how regenerative farming systems impact the bottom line in a way that sustainability cannot.

 

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com. You can email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com.

 

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Jun 26, 2018
BioEnergetics in Agriculture with Steve Diver
44:52

Steve Diver has earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Horticulture and has conducted research on fruit and nut production, and seasonal changes in elemental concentration in pecan fruit and leaves. He has served as the Extension Horticulture Agent in Muskogee County, Oklahoma, and has also worked as an Agriculture Specialist with the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.  In 2010, he established an independent firm, Agri-Horticultural Consulting, which provided soil analysis and consultancy services in eco-agriculture, organic and sustainable farming, and environmental sciences.

 

In this episode, Steve and I discuss rock powders, biology, and bioenergetics, the oxidation/reduction potential in soils, the use of liquid biological agents in soil health and crop success, and the value of bioenergetics in agriculture. Steve has some really great knowledge from his many years of experience in the lab and in the field.

 

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

 

Resources

Acres U.S.A

William Albrecht, Gary Zimmer, Neal Kinsey

Korean Natural Farming (KNF)

Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) 

 

Episode 13 - Steve Diver - Highlights

3:06 - What are Steve’s memorable moments leading him to where he is today?

  • Steve got a good introduction to organic and biodynamic farming

 

4:35 - What did Steve encounter that was different compared to the work he had been doing?

  • Steve has been interested in organic agriculture for a long time
  • 3 pillars of eco agriculture: minerals, biology, bioenergetics

 

6:50 - What lead Steve add bioenergetics to minerals and biology in these pillars?

 

9:10 - Discussion around Oxidation/Reduction Potential -Eh (Redox)

 

12:40 - What is something that has surprised Steve over the years? 

  • Prairies have a very fungal nature
  • Steve was finding high ratios of fungal to bacteria on prairies (7.5:1)
  • Liquid biological amendments (LBA)

 

14:40 - What kind of crop response was Steve seeing?

  • Using both a LBA and some kind of management practice (with some sort of rotational grazing) can lead to impressive changes in species composition
  • Roadmap: Above ground plant succession is mirrored by below ground soil food succession

 

16:50 - Can the use of LBAs change the health of crops, and also types of plants that would become dominant in certain ecosystems

  • Yes!
  • The story of the postage stamp farm and the very effective use of LBAs

 

18:20 - When we consider applying biological inoculants to the soil profile, how do we ensure this inoculant actually survives?

  • Qualitative assessment, lab testing, and microscopic analysis

 

19:50  - What is something that has puzzled Steve for a long time?

  • The slow nature of the agriculture as a whole - industry, government, education

 

21:30 - What is the opportunity in agriculture today?

  •  The ability to grow crops that perform well, yield well, are pest resistant, have high nutrient density without relying on so many chemical inputs
  • Soil health has taken a back seat (soil testing, mineral balancing, etc.)

 

24:30 - Substantial yield/quality responses from integrated systems

  • In most cases when regenerative principles are applied, there is a strong yield response - Often in the first year, always by the second year.

 

26:30 - Based on Steve’s experience, how much are growers leaving on the table?

  • There is a perceived dichotomy of organic vs. conventional farming, but there is a difference between the terms organic, sustainable, biodynamic, zero budget natural, integrated crop livestock, etc.
  • Regenerative agriculture is a good term to cover what you can do to regenerate and improve farm ecology
  • For the conventional farmer still chemically based - there are many resources: information, field days, workshops, seeing what others are doing.
  • Actionable advice: Conventional farmers can greatly benefit by simply adding cover crops
  • Bioenergetics are the icing on the cake - you need the fundamentals down first (organic matter management, nutrition, fertility)

 

32:00 - What is a non-mainstream view that Steve believes to be true?

 

35:20 - What are some resources Steve would recommend?

 

36:15 - What Steve has learned about farmers

  • Incredibly innovative
  • Regardless of where in the world - farmers have a lot of brainpower!

 

39:40 - What is the question Steve wishes he was asked?

  • More depth into bioenergetics - what do the terms mean?
  • Steves advice: look into what is going on in holistic health and holistic agriculture

 

41:40 - Going through different eras in agriculture

  • Through the chemical era, into the biological and ecological era
  • Organic produce and holistic health used to be black sheep - now they are becoming widely accepted

 

 

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com. You can email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com.

 

 

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Jun 23, 2018
How Soil Health Impacts Performance of Cherry Varieties with Professor Lynn Long
44:44
Professor Lynn Long has worked in sweet cherry research and Extension at Oregon State University since 1988. At that time, the main cherry variety being grown was Bing on a Mazzard rootstock, leading to disease and susceptibility to weather pressure. Lynn has been an advocate for diversity in varieties and rootstocks, maintaining a cherry variety trial since 1996, and evaluating nearly 100 varieties and selections for potential adoption by the sweet cherry industry in the Pacific Northwest. He has been instrumental in progressing the use of dwarfing rootstocks and new training systems in commercial orchards. Long has authored many publications and has spoken in grower oriented meetings in 16 countries around the world. 

In this episode, Lynn and I discuss the future of sweet cherry production. Lynn believes the future development of tree fruit will emerge when we begin better managing ‘the other half of the tree' - the root system.  
  • How soil health and compost applications contribute to varietal performance
  • How modern dwarf rootstocks compare to older varieties
  • What is the future of biological and mechanical solutions to automate harvesting
  • Successfully reducing bacterial canker with plant nutrition
  • ...And more! 
Very thought provoking for any tree fruit grower!
 
 
 

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

 

 

Resources

Cherries: Botany, Production and Uses

https://extension.oregonstate.edu/people/lynn-long

 

 

Episode 12 - Lynn Long - Highlights

2:45 - What are some memorable moments that have lead Lynn to where he is today?

  • In the 90’s, cherry production was focused on one single variety. There wasn’t a lot of diversity at the time.
  • In 1994, Lynn went to Europe and gained knowledge that changed the way cherries are farmed in the US

 

4:10 - What shift happened, and how did Lynn start managing trees differently?

  • Lynn had been researching cherry rootstock
  • Lynn saw what farms in Germany, France, Spain, and elsewhere in Europe were doing, and brought this knowledge back to help growers understand

 

7:40 - How does the vigor of modern dwarf rootstock compared to older varieties?

  • A lot of farmers prefer older varieties
  • Dwarfing rootstock seen to be more shallow

 

9:10 - What has been missing in looking at the “other half of the tree”

  • Everything from research to management has been focused on only half the tree - the top half.
  • We are seeing more and more research being done on what is happening below ground with the tree

 

11:20 - What are some of the things Lynn has observed to cause him to start to wonder what is happening in the soil profile?

  • Dwarfing rootstock in hard soil affecting the growth and behavior of trees
  • Leaves look stressed and wilted, impacting food quality
  • Keeping microorganisms alive throughout the entire year to affect the health of the ecosystem and the tree

 

14:20 - What has Lynn learned from compost trials?

  • Struggling orchards turned around
  • Taking stress off the tree by keeping soil cooler
  • How can adding organic soil help the health of the tree?
  • Success Lynn has seen in Chile

 

18:00 - What has been something that has surprised Lynn?

  • The grower community being open with ideas and their operations
  • Growers who share the most often receive the most

 

21:30 - What is something that Lynn believes the be true that is different from the mainstream? 

  • Mainstream agriculture is only focusing on the top half of the tree

 

23:30 - How does managing what is happening below the soil change how we manage above the soil?

  • Issues we are struggling with now may become minor issues later

 

26:00 - How will the canopy be affected by a changing root system?

  • Getting high-quality fruit all around the tree, not just the top

 

29:20 - Success in reducing bacterial canker through ecosystem management

 

33:30 - What is a resource Lynn would recommend?

 

35:40 - What does Lynn wish he was asked?

  • Where is cherry production going in the future?

 

37:00 - What does Lynn think the future holds in fruit and vegetable production

  • Labor shortage problem
  • Mechanical and biological solutions to getting cherries off trees without laborers

 

40:00 - How does Lynn see an orchard of the future?

  • Being able to automate the process of collecting cherries without dropping quality

 

 

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com. You can email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com.

 

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Jun 20, 2018
Eliminating the Need For Synthetic Fertilizers with Dr. Kris Nichols
58:42

Dr. Kris Nichols has conducted innovative research on soil biology, understanding how to regenerate soil health quickly. She is the founder and principal scientist of KRIS (Knowledge for Regeneration In Soils) Systems Education & Consulting Services. Dr. Nichols has also been the Chief Scientist at Rodale Institute and a Research Soil Microbiologist with the USDA.

In this episode, Kris and I discuss how to harness the power of fungi to decrease the use of synthetic fertilizers, the symbiosis between bacteria and water retention, and climate-resilient crops.

 

 

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

 

Resources

 

  

Episode 11 - Kris Nichols - Highlights

3:00 - What are some of the highlights that have lead Kris to where she is today?

  • Kris researched mycorrhizal fungi at the University of Minnesota
  • Kris worked with USDA and fell back in love with agriculture, especially when seeing concepts from the lab being practically implemented

7:00 - Not being able to regenerate soil to full potential when using synthetic fertilizer

  • Organisms in the soil have huge potential to resolve nutrient issues in plants
  • In a lab, Kris could see this to be true - but many growers were still relying on synthetic fertilizers
  • Need to put the tools in place to optimize organisms in soil (mycorrhizal fungi especially) to maximize effects on plants

10:10 - Applying soluble phosphorus fertilizers removing the need for a symbiotic relationship between plants and mycorrhizae

  • Timing is very important when adding amendments - making sure the plant needs are being met when it has those needs
  • Many times, plants are unable to make use of all the fertilizer applied
  • Can’t “outsource” the job of mycorrhizal fungi

 

17:10 - What other fertilizers could have a damaging effect?

  • Soluble fertilizer does the most damage in “outsourcing” the jobs of the microbial community
  • Organic fertilizers are broken down by the microbial communities, and so they do not cause this same damage

 

19:20 - Plant and root absorption of amino acids and proteins

  • The untruth of using synthetic fertilizers to avoid “mining” the soil

 

27:10 - Water use efficiency

  • We have no idea how much water a plant actually needs!
  • There are cellular water needs, but also in the rhizosphere around the plant
  • Getting efficient mycorrhizal fungi (especially early on) allows the creation of a network for water and nutrient delivery in plants

 

34:10 - Layers of efficiency from mycorrhizal fungi

  • Able to extend beyond the root system
  • Phosphate soluble bacteria interactions with mycorrhizal fungi
  • An analogy for how this bacteria helps: Plants are figuring out how to get water “from the driveway to the house”, instead of “from the neighboring town to the house”
  • Nutrients moving between plants in a system through mycorrhizal fungi

 

43:00 - What has been something that has really surprised Kris?

  • Kris’ experience with cancer lead her to think about how essential carbon exchange was in plants
  • Stopping the flow of carbon - “What is stopping the payment from flowing?”

 

46:30 - What does Kris believe to be true about modern agriculture that is not a mainstream view?

  • Regenerative systems allow us to “have our cake, and eat it too” - meaning are able to feed 14 billion people nutrient dense food while having a high quality of life and while maintaining and enhancing ecosystem services
  • Incredible potential to do so much more than we are

 

50:00 - What is the impact of biology on producing higher levels of plant secondary metabolites?

  • Many compounds are coming directly from soil compounds which find their way to plants - which end up in the food chain
  • There has been so much focus in plant nutrition on nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus
  • Building up a more resilient network - making more soil aggregates
  • Creating a mycorrhizosphere
  • Making a good network allows for making secondary compounds

 

59:20 - What are some resources that Kris would recommend?

 

 

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com. You can email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com.

 

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Jun 15, 2018
Dr. Jerry Hatfield on Why Should We Care About Soil Health
41:15

Dr. Hatfield is the laboratory director for the USDA’s National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment. He has also served on the faculty of the University of California-Davis and is a Past President of the American Society of Agronomy.

In this short but very powerful episode, Jerry and I discuss the mechanics of improving plant efficiency in capturing water, nutrients, and light and put that into productivity. We talk about the role that the soil-plant continuum plays in not only developing the productivity but also the quality of the products that plant is harvested for. Jerry and I discuss the fundamental functions of the soil aggregate structure and the value of gas exchange and water infiltration.

 

 

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

 

Episode 10 - Jerry Hatfield - Highlights

3:10 - What have been some of the highlights that have lead Jerry to where he is today?

  • What drives Jerry:  Finding out how can we improve the efficiency of plants to capture water and light, and put that into productivity
  • What is the role of all this in increasing productivity and quality of what is harvested

 

5:30 - Why should we care about soil health?

  • What does the surface of the soil look like? (Aggregation structure)
  • Getting air and water into the soil helps drive the biological processes under the soil
  • This determines what the plants are doing (how well they can take up nutrients)
  • We need to care because this makes the whole plant system much more efficient - the soil health is the unifying factor

 

11:10 - How does soil quality improve so many various characteristics of plants 

  • Creating a more balanced soil - creating a condition for the plant to store more carbohydrates more efficiently, for example
  • Allowing the plant to optimize itself

 

13:00 - How do we regenerate and improve soil health?

  • Restoring biological activity - Biology has four needs: food, water, air, and shelter
  • Putting a cover over soil
  • Allowing the biology to express itself when it’s not being cooked at high temperatures
  • Supplying food to the biological system the entire year
  • Diversity of plants increase diversity of biological system

 

18:30 - How fast can we regenerate and improve soil health?

  • We can begin seeing changes within one growing season

 

20:30 - What has Jerry observed regarding a diverse number of plants producing soil changes?

  • Comparing cover crops  - Cover crop cocktails changes are much more rapid
  • Crops begin behaving differently with crop rotation

 

27:45 - Are we just regenerating soil, or also the thought processes and models around agriculture?

 

29:00 - Increasing water use efficiency and nutrient efficiency

  • Water and nutrients are tied together - optimizing together leads to stability
  • The plant may be nutrient limited - leading us to expending water to little effect
  • How efficient is the plant at capturing solar radiation?

 

33:10 - What does Jerry believe to be true about modern agriculture that many others don’t believe to be true?

  • How important improving soils are to increasing productivity - allowing genetics to be optimized

 

35:20 - What is the opportunity for improved yield and quality? What does this mean for growers in terms of profitability?

  • If you improve soils in “bad” parts of field, immediately improve overall profitability
  • No tillage growers have been able to drop nitrogen by 50% without affecting yields because soil is providing nutrients
  • Producers need to think about what they are getting out of their inputs

 

38:10 - What action should farmers take right now?

  • Getting a cover crop on system
  • Increasing biology in soil
  • Crop rotation and diversity
  • Cover crop cocktails
  • Reduce tillage

 

 

 

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com. You can email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com.

 

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May 30, 2018
Plant and Insect Communications in Biological Cropping Systems with Dr. Larry Phelan
51:07

This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Larry Phelan, a professor at Ohio State University where he heads research programs studying the role of soil communities in plant health and susceptibility to disease and insect pests in biological farming systems. Larry also heads programs researching the identification and behaviors of plant secondary compounds and insect pheromones that affect host finding and other behaviors.

In this episode, Larry and I discuss plant and insect communications, soil communities, and the concept of biological buffering - the capacity of biology in the soil to absorb large amounts of nutrients that are applied and contain those in their cells and release them over a period of time. We also talk about Larry’s new initiatives in the city of Cleveland to incorporate urban agricultural systems. I had a lot of fun with this episode - some of the topics Larry touches on are absolutely fascinating.

 

 

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

 

Episode 8 - Larry Phelan - Highlights

3:10 - What are the memorable moments leading up to where Larry is today?

  • Larry was trained as a chemical ecologist - where he would identify pheromones and plant attractants
  • As he started talking to organic farmers, he noticed they had fewer issues with insect pests than conventional farmer neighbors

 

5:30 - What were the differences that Larry noticed in organic farming?

  • During this time, many organic farmers were doing their own research
  • Many organic farmers had animals integrated into their farms
  • “If we have healthy soil, then we are going to have a healthy plant, and insects don’t like healthy plants” - Larry was seeing the truth to this and wanted to test
  • Larry wanted to figure out if insects could tell a difference between plants from organic farms, and if this was more related to the short-term effects of fertilizer or the long-term effects of mismanaged soil
  • The results: Regardless of fertilizer used, the plants growing in soil from the organic farm received few insects eggs

 

9:20 -  Biological Buffering

  • With an influx of organic matter, you create a soil community that is beneficial to the plant
  • Nutrients absorbed into the soil community are released over time - putting the plants in better nutrient balance
  • Plants are almost always limited by nitrogen levels - they’re going to take all they can get and will take more than they can deal with
  • Insects are also limited by nitrogen, so plants with excess nitrogen are very nutritious for insects
  • No difference in production between organic and conventional farms

 

15:20 - Why can insects not utilize plants as a food source that doesn’t contain as many amino acids

  • Free amino acids can short circuit the plant defense system - Insects get these free amino acids they don’t have to break down
  • Proteins vary in digestibility in insects

 

18:20 - What had surprised during Larry’s research into all of this?

  • 30% ammonia and 70% nitrate resulted in best plant growth
  • Where the plant was out of balance, that’s where the insects grew the largest and had the best survivorship
  • Survivorship of insects dropped as they approached the 30/70 ammonia/nitrate ratio

 

22:40 - What is some practical advice growers can implement?

  • The importance of organic matter added to the soil to sustain a beneficial microbial community
  • Important to distinguish between old organic matter and biologically active organic matter - need to focus on active organic matter

 

26:10 - What is the impact of a nitrogen application on soil biological profile? 

  • Plants can shut out mycorrhizae and can grow a shallow root system
  • When the plant invests in growth above ground, it doesn’t have as effective of a root system to gather water and nutrients
  • We don’t want plants to encounter any extremes
  • Starter fertilizer isn’t allowing plants to grow resilience they need and can cause plant growth to stall out

 

35:00 - Applying only insoluble start applications

  • Resulting in large root systems
  • High phosphorus levels without phosphorus application  
  • Mineral profiles not very different in organic plants regardless of fertilizer application

 

38:10 - What is something that Larry believes to be true about modern agriculture that is different from mainstream views? 

  • The use of soluble fertilizers has been one of the most disruptive practices in mainstream farming
  • How different organic farms view what they do - Conventional farmers have a prescriptive approach. Organic farmers had more of a system perspective
  • “Tied up” nitrogen isn’t a bad thing - It gives you “money in the bank” in your soil

 

41:30 - What is a resource Larry would recommend?

 

43:10 - What is a question Larry wishes he was asked?

  • Soils in urban centers under vacant lots opening the possibility of urban farming
  • Do what degree has the legacy of smokestacks, heavy metals, etc affected soil community. Can these soils be rejuvenated or are these soils effectively lost?
  • The influx of organic matter are reducing levels of lead and the bioavailability of the lead - allowing cities to reduce the danger of lead in soil
  • Lead is going to be there - need to find a way to bring it out

 

49:20 - Damaging impacts of chronic pesticide use and exposure

 

  

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com. You can email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com.

 

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May 18, 2018
Winning the Weed Control Challenge on Organic Crops with Klaas Martens
01:04:46

This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing a great farmer and friend of mine, Klaas Martens. Klaas has been farming for more than 30 years and has driven the adoption of sustainable farming practices through his work with numerous national organizations and advisory committees. This episode contains some really great information from Klaas’s many years of experience developing sustainable farming systems.

In this episode, we talk about the cultural practices that form the basis of weed control, how Klaas thought he had discovered a pathogen that could become a new herbicide, and what it turned out to be, how to see and monitor field variables, crop rotations, and how Klaas has managed the weed control on his farm in upstate New York for the past 30 years.

 

 

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

 

 

Episode 8 - Klaas Martens - Highlights

2:50 - Going from conventional farming to completely organic

 

3:40 - Having to unlearn some things from a university education

 

4:20 - Klaas was noticing that his observations in farming were contradicting his learned models and assumptions

 

5:15 - What have been the memorable moments that have lead Klaas to where he is today?

  • Learning that cultural practices form the basis of all weed control - chemicals are auxiliary only
  • Cultural practices are everything you do in the tending of your fields - what you do to set up the situation the crop is growing in
  • What happens if you abandon a field? See the crop rotation in nature

 

10:20 - Why was Klaas looking for info in books written before 1945?

  • These chemicals were all recent - agriculture had existed long before
  • Knowledge was lost when chemicals came long

 

12:00 - How does this relate to how Klaas manages crops and weeds on his operation?

  • Klaas realized work today will have results later
  • Reframing from “How do I kill it?” to “Why is this here? What is its function?”
  • Klaas started to study what various weeds and pests actually did in the soil - How do you read what the soil is trying to tell you?

 

15:00 - The weed that frustrated Klaas and made it seem organic farming was going to be impossible 

  • Pests were moving in because they were attracted to unhealthy weeds

 

18:00 - John’s experience with Canadian thistles

  • There is an organism that lives on the deeper roots of Canadian thistles that it needs to survive - it can only live in anaerobic soil

 

21:30 - What advice would Klaas give to growers to emulate some of his success?

  • Shifting soil biology leads to shifting weed populations
  • Changing the microbiology of the soil

 

24:50 - What practices lead Klaas to this result?

  • Diverse rotation
  • Cover crops - tried not to have soil uncovered over winter
  • The importance of the smell of the soil
  • We are looking above ground at the plants when we should be looking below ground at the soil

 

27:00 - Healthy Soils, Sick Soils by Dr. Franz Sekera and Margareth Sekera

  • Sekera took soil and put it under a microscope to see what he could see - discovering the organisms were water living
  • Soil breaking down at 70 degrees F

 

31:00 -  Klaas’s experience with producing dry beans and mustard

  • Klaas had a great experience with dry beans, but it dropped very significantly over the years
  • Klaas’s rotation wasn’t reducing pathogens, it was promoting them
  • Some plots had great looking beans, some had beans that died - Some crops made the problem worse, some didn’t have an effect, and some resulted in very healthy beans.
  • One that was very beneficial was yellow mustard

 

36:00 - How did Klaas’s weed profile change after incorporating these changes?

  • The soil was trying to say something - that’s why the mustard kept coming up

 

37:40 - What is Klaas’s crop rotation?

  • 20-30 different crops
  • Flexible - Klaas wants to respond to what the soil is telling him
  • They used a basic rotation, but they worn it out

 

41:30 - What are the variables Klaas is monitoring?

  • Fields having a certain color point to different problems. Yellow points to sulfur. Blue is often a phosphorus indicator. White can be potassium or calcium.
  • These are little data points, still need to do soil testing’

 

45:40 - How has Klaas seen the ecosystem evolve in regards to disease and insect resistance?

  • Bugs don’t hit healthy plants
  • Using epsom salts instead of insecticides when plants are low on magnesium
  • Insects will avoid plants when all three magnesium, sulfur, molybdenum are adequate supply

 

51:00 - Putting on a nutritional application resulting in all insects disappearing. 

  • Plants can launch a defence when they have supplied proper nutrition

 

52:30 - Most nutritional imbalances are not a result of deficiencies, they are the results of excess of products that growers apply.

  • Overapplication causes imbalances

 

53:40 -  What does Klaas believe to be true about modern agriculture that others do not believe to be true?

  • The soil is basically screaming when the farmer is doing something they shouldn’t be - in the form of weeds, insects, etc. These are the symptoms.
  • We aren’t dealing with the underlying problem
  • Too reliant on point and shoot solutions

 

56:00 - What are some books or resources that Klaas would recommend?

 

1:00:45 - What is a question Klaas wishes John had asked?

  • “Where do we find help and guiding in managing our farms?”
  • No one person is the source of knowledge for these topics
  • Sharing observations and ideas with other farmers is invaluable - but also to keep yourself and others grounded

 

 

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com. You can email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com.

 

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May 12, 2018
Erosion, Soil Balance, and Cover Crops with Steve Groff
01:03:02

This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Steve Groff, a farmer and cover crop pioneer who has also worked with the University of Maryland on extensive cover crop research. Steve founded Cover Crop Coaching in 2016 and has spoken to audiences across North America, Europe, Australia, Japan, and many other parts of the world on the use of cover crops across the full range of agricultural applications.

In this episode, we talk about important management tools to incorporate with cover crops, the causes of erosion in a soil system, and how farmers can supply consumer demand for nutritional value. We also discuss farm economics, the books Steve read that started him in cover cropping and a step by step guide for growers who want to start developing healthy soil.

 

 

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

 

 

Resources recommended by Steve

 

 

Episode 7 - Steve Groff - Highlights

3:00 - What are some of the memorable moments that have lead Steve to where he is today?

  • Steve started no till in the early 80’s - Solely to stop soil erosion
  • A key moment for Steve was 3 years into doing no till - He noticed his soil was beginning to “mellow out”
  • Today we can transfer to no till much faster than ever before
  • In 1995 Steve started researching cover crops - he noticed after a drought year that he had 28 bushels more of corn preceding the previous 3 years
  • Steve is all-in on cover crops!

 

8:20 - Erosion is a symptom of a bigger problem

  • Healthier soil isn’t going to blow or wash away
  • We don’t have a runoff problem, we have a water infiltration problem
  • Steve is encouraged by seeing mainstream agriculture start to clue in

 

10:00 - Can we completely resolve erosion with the use of cover crops?

  • We can greatly reduce it
  • Not just cover crops - there are many other practices however they are a key component. Cover crops are a tool - you need to manage them properly
  • Having a living root in the soil as long as possible is important
  • Having diversity of species is important - we can enhance this with cover crops!
  • Less/zero soil disturbance is important

 

12:30 - What are some of the other important tools farmers should incorporate?

  • Fertility management - (Ex: Avoid anhydrous ammonia, high salt fertilizers)
  • Once you get your soil functioning, you can start unlocking things that were locked before, such as allowing more access to certain minerals
  • Steve isn’t saying everyone needs to be no till - but does advocate it. Tillage is a destructive event

 

15:10 - How important is it to have a diversity of cover crops?

  • There is a time and a place for single species cover crops
  • Steve always plants mixed species
  • You have to play around and see what works on your farm!
  • How many species do you need? Going beyond 6-8; advantages start to level off.
  • Mixed species doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive
  • Cover crop mixes can be thought of as a “one plus one equals three” solution

 

20:30 - What is something that Steve has puzzled over?

  • The link to human health from how we grow plants and nutrient density
  • Steve noticed that the USDA doesn’t say how they establish the averages for nutritional value
  • Steve is looking into creating branding for nutritional basis

 

26:00 - Does Steve believe it is possible that farmers will be compensated for growing quality

  • Generally, Steve thinks yes.
  • Majority of plant genetics are made for yield - so it may take awhile to get right
  • There are some plant breeders that are now breeding for quality over yield

 

30:50 - Buyers care about flavor and aroma - These are the same markers of nutrient density

  • Flavor and aroma is what makes repeat customers
  • These can also be traced back to plant genetics and breeding - it’s important to build from the ground up
  • Big similarities between microbiome of our gut and the microbiome of soil

 

35:50 - What is something that has surprised Steve in his work?

  • The importance of soil health - What tools like cover crops and no tillage are capable of
  • Once you get the system working, you don’t need as much input!
  • Steve expects to continue being surprised as he tries to discover more

 

38:00 - What does Steve believe to be true about agriculture that many others do not?

  • Reducing input is not going to lead to “mining out” the soil
  • That the use of insecticides and fungicides can be reduced
  • “Would you take chemo to prevent cancer?”

 

41:40 - What does Steve believe to be the biggest opportunity in agriculture today?

  • Cycles always come and go
  • Regenerative agriculture and growing with reduced input
  • Steve believes there is a bright future ahead

 

45:00 - What is a book or resource that Steve would recommend?

 

46:50 - What ideas or technology is Steve excited about for the future of agriculture?

  • Advancement on cover crop equipment

 

50:10 - Is Steve having fun?

  • YES!
  • Steve finds it fulfilling to help farmers and being a steward of God’s earth

 

51:10 - What would Steve recommend to a farmer starting down this path today?

  • Ask: What do you want to accomplish? Good to prioritise when you’re new
  • Time of year will determine species to plant
  • Only apply a new practice to the amount of plants you can afford to lose
  • Learn all you can - Talk to and follow those who are achieving what you want to do

 

54:40 - What does Steve wish John had asked?

  • How the economics work out - “How can I do this, and flourish?”

 

56:20 - What has been the economic impact of cover crops on Steve’s operations?

  • Looking at 5 years - Fertilizer went down 50%, and chemicals went down 37%

 

58:20 - What was the cost of these results?

  • Growing your own cover crops cuts down on cost
  • 60-80 lbs of nitrogen instead of 175-200 lbs
  • Average corn yield is between 185-200
  • For pumpkins: Can cut nitrogen rate to 45-50 lbs

 

  

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com. You can email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com.

 

 

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May 05, 2018
Symbiotic Relationships in Ecology with Dr. Don Huber
01:26:20

In this episode, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Don Huber, a leading plant pathologist and Professor Emeritus at Purdue University. We discuss how to manage soil-borne diseases by managing crop rotations, and the management needed to grow 500 hundred bushels corn.

Don shared intriguing observations on how soil-borne disease pathogen populations remain present in the soil constantly and are actually ‘beneficial’ saprophytic fungi until the right environment is present. Root diseases are a result of the soil environment, not a result of the presence or absence of the organism.

 

 

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

 

Related Resources

 

 

Episode 4 - Dun Huber - Highlights

2:40 - What are Don’s most memorable moments leading him to where he is?

  • Don has fun wherever he is!

3:10 - What has puzzled Don in his research work?

  • Studying soil ecology is looking at a black box. Need to slowly build a picture of everything involved.

 

4:10 - What is something that has surprised Don?

  • How seemingly contradictory things all work together, such as a lot of nutrient relationships
  • Secondary functions of things like manganese and iron start to come into play
  • What are the ecological niches that make the system work?

 

6:30 - Challenge of manganese availability. What is contributing to that?

  • It’s a dynamic relationship with soil and fungi.
  • Need organisms and nutrients to increase uptake
  • Need the bacteria that are responsible for the valiant state - oxidizing groups and reducing groups
  • Manganese can be there, but not available for uptake

 

11:10 - Pathogens dependant on manganese oxidation. Are they directly dependent, or are they producing a manganese-deficient plant? 

  • Both can be correct. They don’t necessarily need the oxidation.
  • Enzyme isn’t going to work for you without a cofactor

 

 

13:50 - How do populations change when you have a crop infection?

  • The plant is providing nutrients and resources for the pathogen
  • Soil inhabitant vs soil colonizer
  • A soil colonizer is an organism that can be provided its nutrient base from a host
  • Infection isn’t the result of the presence of the pathogen, but the level of plant health and microbial ecology in the rhizosphere

 

20:20 - What are the tools the growers have available to manage soil ecology most effectively and to develop a disease suppressant soil profile.

  • Crop rotation - each crop influences a certain group of organisms in the soil
  • Cover cropping
  • Time of tillage
  • Farming is really managing ecology

 

28:30 - Is it also possible to use these tools to manage and suppress soil-borne pathogens? 

  • Definitely!

 

31:20 - What are some useful crops or cover crops that have a strong disease suppressive effect?

 

  • Depends on disease and overall soil biology
  • Perhaps the best crop: Oats!

 

36:50 - What are the key characteristics shared by disease suppressing crops?

  • Boils down to nutrition - may be indirect or direct

 

39:10 - Can fall tillage application create a rebalancing effect of both reducing organisms as well as oxidizing organisms?.

  • Yes! Doesn’t have to be every year
  • Long term no-tillage can reduce the efficiency of ecology

 

41:20 - What are the impacts of nitrogen on developing disease suppressive soils?

  • Most soil organisms are hungry for 2 things: nitrogen and carbon
  • Changes can cause massive stimulation

 

44:30 - What is the impact of ammonium on an ecosystem with reduced nitrogen

  • Tremendous reduction of disease
  • Reducing environment creates an increase of manganese availability

 

46:30: What is the impact of carbon-nitrogen ratio on disease suppressive soils as well as yield?

  • Depends on the carbon source
  • It’s not the carbon to nitrogen ratio, it’s the form of nitrogen involved
  • Ratio works if working with the same nutrient source

 

48:30 - Quality/Quantity of photosynthesis - How can we increase quantity of photosynthesis and quantity of root exudates in soil profile.

  • Manganese, manganese, iron, sulfur, etc. are essential for photosynthesis
  • Mineral nutrient deficiency will reduce overall efficiency.

 

54:30 - We are not tapping into efficiency of plants by limiting carbon dioxide

 

55:10 - Increase in photosynthesis producing increased biomass

 

55:30 - What is the potential for plants to increase their volume of photosynthesis? 

  • The potential is 100%
  • 5-10x depending on what the plant it, starting point, etc.

 

1:00:30 - What kind of yields did Don achieve during his yield trials? What plant populations were growers using? 

  • 350+ bushel

 

1:07:10 - What happened from then, to today when growers are struggling to grow 250 bushel? Why were these not adopted on a broader scale?

  • Focus moved to other areas when there was “too much production”
  • Requires a long term commitment
  • Private company interest is the bottom line
  • We forget it’s an ecology that needs to be managed

 

1:11:30 - What is something Don believes to be true about modern agriculture that others do not believe to be true?

  • Have to think about entire systems, and not focus on a single piece
  • You have to make a few mistakes in order to get there

 

1:14:00 - What does Don see as the biggest opportunity in agriculture today? 

  • Reinventing the wheel!
  • Getting back to nutrient density
  • Eliminating pesticides, especially glyphosate
  • Agriculture is the basic infrastructure of society. Recognizing the stewardship we have to the soil

 

1:18:10 - What are some books or resources Don would recommend?

 

1:22:30 - What is a question Don wishes John had asked him?

  • Glyphosate’s impact on soil ecology
  • Don is excited to see cover crops being used
  • Maintaining balance within soil environment
  • Supporting the crop with nitrogen

 

 

 

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com. You can email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com.

 

 

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Apr 28, 2018
The Value of Nutrient Density with Dr. Matt Kleinhenz
01:04:32

In this episode, I interviewed Dr. Matt Kleinhenz, a professor at the Ohio State University in vegetable crop physiology who has done research in many areas of horticulture and crop sciences. We talk about high quality food production, how growers and consumers view nutrient density, how farmers can influence the market, Matt’s views on nutritional yield, and how growers can stay up-to-date on the latest crop breakthroughs.

 

 

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

 

 

Episode 5 - Dr. Matt Kleinhenz - Highlights

[0:03:20] - Matt’s memorable moments that have brought him to where he is today 

  • Matt’s interactions with growers bringing him questions, especially focusing on “how to produce more of a better quality product?” 

 

[0:04:10] - Where is the demand coming from for growers who want to produce a higher quality product?

  • Some demand comes from grower’s ethics who see themselves as part of a larger picture.
  • Business wise - maybe coming from complaints or questions of the quality of their product.

 

[0:05:00] - What defines quality for growers? What are they seeking to produce?

  • What does quality mean in the eyes of a particular group? Shape, size, texture, aroma, flavor, etc.

 

[0:07:00] - What has Matt observed in terms of nutrient density? Will there be a demand for “nutrient dense” foods?

  • Nutrient value/density is a complex topic, and we need to be specific when discussing it.
  • Will there be a time when more people are paying more attention? Matt thinks so, but we aren’t there yet.

 

[0:11:00] - Is there evidence we have lost nutrient density in our food supply? 

  • Matt thinks it’s possible.  
  • The market is not demanding nutritional value, so it makes sense farmers are not focusing on it.
  • How does a farmer display nutritional value?

 

[0:19:00] - Organic industry confusion

 

[0:20:40] - What has been the one thing that has really puzzled Matt for a long time?

  • Matt has seen some farmers have a lack of understanding around the basic biology of the crops they grow.
  • You can’t be as effective as possible without a firm grasp of the basics.
  • People are following a process, not understanding the crop they are growing.

 

[0:23:40] - What are the important pieces growers should study?

  • Understanding can come from many different places.
  • Study the process of farming: Take notes, take pictures, and review these. Install ways to record information such as temperature and rainfall. This information is good for farmers themselves, and when getting outside help.
  • Read, listen, watch videos.
  • Keep a healthy skepticism, but not to the point of being close minded.
  • Implement as many ways of knowing as possible, and start with the simple ones.
  • How do other professions describe nutritional value?

 

[0:30:00] - One characteristic of the most successful growers

  • They seek to understand “How do we make money?” They seek to understand the specific characteristic to their crop that is most desired by the market, and how to manage it.
  • Repeat sales come from quality. Improve the value of the transaction by improving the product.
  • BRIX has little bearing on nutrition

 

[0:34:54] - What does Matt believe to be true about agriculture today that most don’t believe to be true?

  • One area Matt hears about less is asking what role growers play in society and our daily lives?

 

[0:36:35] - How to remedy underappreciation for growers?

  • Matt thinks growers need to ask more of themselves, and they could be more assertive about what they do, how, and why.

 

[0:38:50] - What makes growers who make an impact stand out from the rest?

  • Growers need to be able to see their product as the buyer sees it, not as a farmer.

 

[0:42:50] - John’s story of farm with hail damage with an interesting crop response

 

[0:48:05] - What is the job the buyer wants from food?

  • Growers should be as informed as possible about what their buyers expect from the product, and what they aspire to.
  • The different perspective of food of cancer survivors, for example. Are growers knowledgeable about what these people are looking for?

 

[0:52:20] - Where is the greatest opportunity for growers today?

  • Continue to do what they’ve done, but better!
  • Be a partner in the process of enhancing the social component of what they do; be connected.
  • Use natural resources well.
  • Be a student of the farm and all aspects of the business.

 

[0:54:20] - Matt’s single recommendation for growers to learn more

  • Learn something new. Challenge yourself to learn new things about your crops or your farm.
  • Get an alternative point of view, and don’t become too comfortable with what you “know” to be true.
  • Get exposure to research if you have none.
  • Be aware of some of the newest trends

 

[0:57:30] - What technology or ideas is Matt excited about for the future of agriculture? 

  • Grower-friendly technology for monitoring environment.
  • More computing power to take advantage of data

 

[1:00:10] - What is the question Matt wished he was asked? What would Matt like to discuss the most?

  • Nutritional yield = yield x nutrient value
  • Can we move the needle on nutritional yield?
  • What are growers hearing from people in terms of quality?

 

[1:02:00] - Should we measure crop production in terms of carbohydrate or protein production per acre?

  • Some of this is already being done.
  • It’s hard to ask farmers to fully understand this, but getting an understanding is important.
  • Growers need to create the market, not just respond to it

 

[1:02:40] - How can a grower shift perspectives in the market?

  • Be as informed as possible.
  • Be conversant with this information to be able to showcase nutrient density when it isn’t obvious
  • Being able to understand what contributes to making better color and flavor, for example, and how these characteristics relate to the nutrition of the food.

 

 

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com. You can email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com.

 

 

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Apr 21, 2018
How Insect Pests Identify Unhealthy Plants with Dr. Tom Dykstra
01:11:18

This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Tom Dykstra, the founder and laboratory director at Dykstra Labs, who also has advanced degrees in entomology and has worked with Dr. Phil Callahan.

In this episode, we talk about plant and insect communications, and how plants can only see and feed on plants who are unhealthy (insects are only attracted to unhealthy plants)We also discuss Dr. Dykstra’s current day work in bioelectromagnetics, entomology, and agriculture. This episode is a truly amazing glimpse into these very fascinating areas and how they relate to plant physiology.

 

 

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

 

 

Episode 4 - Dr. Dykstra - Highlights

3:00 - What memorable moments lead Tom to where he is today?

  • Getting fired at the University of Florida leading to the path he’s on now
  • Work with flea larvae leading into Tom’s PhD project
  • Insect bioelectromagnetics

 

5:40 - What is the potential impact of Tom’s work on agriculture? What might farmers be able to apply?

  • Optimizing photosynthesis to optimize Brix level - leading to healthier plants

 

8:30 - Photosynthesis thoughts. How much is it possible to increase photosynthesis beyond what is normal? What tools can optimize it? 

  • You can increase it substantially
  • Most plants between 4-8 brix. 12 serious insect damage stops. 14 is a genuinely healthy plant
  • Plants are not working up to anywhere near their potential
  • It’s a matter of getting the photosynthetic rate up
  • Need to not be putting up blockages - ex. pesticides
  • Brix is by far the easiest thing to do to measure plant health
  • Need to be weaning off pesticides immediately

 

17:30 - What can we do to increase energy flow in the soil profile?

  • How much can you afford to lose? Start here
  • Allow weeds to grow here - put out sugar as often as you can
  • This is the cheapest and simplest way to clean out soil as fast as one season
  • Switching over immediately can be a little painful, but anyone can transition slowly
  • Cover crops can also help, but not quite as fast
  • Erosion has recently become a problem

 

25:00 - Cover crops or applying sugar directly

  • Cover crops take time and can help soil more over time  - directly applying sugar is a massive dose
  • Variety of cover crops is better than just one

 

27:30 - Why has erosion become such a challenge?

  • Because microbes are gone - leading to fluffy soil that is easily washed away

 

28:40 - What has been something Tom has puzzled over for a long time?

  • How insects smell - Tom’s own research
  • 10-15 years where Tom was unable to put the pieces together
  • In Nov 2016, they were able to decipher details in how insects smell

 

31:20 -  Why some insects are attracted to certain regions while others are not?

  • Insects smell with antenna and palps
  • Certain insects are “tuned” into certain smells
  • Some plants will advertise themselves as unhealthy - insects will not attack healthy plants
  • Insects are only looking for digestible plants (unhealthy)

 

35:20 - What are some of the compounds that serve as insect attractants we could manage and monitor? 

  • Ethanol is a universal odorant advertising plants as unhealthy - a lot of plants will release some sort of alcohol
  • Every insect has its own brix cutoff where it will not attack a plant
  • Massive brix level drop before a storm - temporary measure in plants

 

42:30 - Are nitrate nitrogen and ammonium nitrogen insect attractants?

  • Indirectly, yes!
  • High nitrogen is not a direct attractant, but the imbalance in the plant causes the plant to advertise itself because it’s stressed

 

48:10 - What are the possible detection distances for these insect signaling compounds?

  • They can be detected by great distances! Tremendous. No matter the distance.

 

50:20 - Why do some people seem to attract mosquitoes, and some do not?

  • Like plants, this is the difference between healthy and unhealthy people. Mosquitoes seek people who advertise themselves as having disgestable blood.
  • Mosquitoes have a choice, and are going to choose the most digestible blood available

 

54:10 - What are the differences between healthy and unhealthy mosquitoes?

  • Not all insects are going to have the same diseases. They have states of health and unhealth

 

57:00 - What has been something that has really surprised Tom?

  • How different insects are smelling the same molecule - Tom’s focus in his research
  • Insects have multiple receptors for smell
  • Tom has learned throughout his life how little we know so far on these topics

 

1:01:20 - What does Tom believe to be true about agriculture that many others do not believe to be true? 

  • Insects are only attracted to unhealthy plants 
  • Because of this, pesticides are unnecessary

 

1:06:30 - What is a book or resource Tom would recommend?

  • Going out there and talking to farmers directly
  • Tom likes giving direct advice

 

 

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com. You can email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com.

 

 

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Apr 17, 2018
Disease Resistance and Regenerating Soil with Dr. Michael McNeill
52:20

In this episode, I had an awesome time interviewing Dr. Michael McNeill, who is an agronomic consultant with several degrees in soil fertility, plant physiology, and quantitative genetics. We discuss how fertility and genetics impact plant response to disease invasion, what causes the suppression of soil health, Michael’s experience quickly regenerating soil, how farming has changed since the green revolution, and how to develop a plant profile that protects against disease.

 

Mentioned In This Episode:

N. A. Krasil'nikov SOIL MICROORGANISMS AND HIGHER PLANTS

 

 

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

 

Regenerative Agriculture Podcast, Episode 3 Timestamps:

4:10 - Michael’s background

 

  • Michael’s seen the transition of his farm going from all horses, to the GPS guided tractors they use today.
  • He sees a need to bring back certain aspects of the type of farming he learned from his grandfather, especially In terms of improving soil health and maintaining soil fertility.
  • Michael’s operation has gone completely organic.
  • Around 42,000 acres of organic crops in Michael’s area, with farmers ranging from 320 acres to 15,000 acres of organic area.

 

6:50 - Michael’s professional work

 

  • Michael left the farm for a few years for a degree at Iowa State University, majoring in agronomy for a B.S. degree in soils and soil fertility. Michael has a masters degree in plant physiology, and a PhD in quantitative genetics.
  • After university, Michael studied the impact of diseases as weapons and how to defend crops against diseases.
  • Michael learned about how fertility and genetics can create environments that can defend against pathogenic invasion.
  • Michael had experimented with GMO’s and moving genes from different species into plants, which he chose to step away from. This lead to focus on a quantitative genetic approach, and more into soil fertility and health.
  • Michael has moved into agricultural consulting as well

11:00 - What is the scope of Michael’s work?

 

  • Most of Michael’s work is working with soil health and soil fertility.
  • Michael says soil health never used to be a big issue compared to today

11:30 - What has changed with soil health?

 

  • Michael noticed plants in old photos looked much healthier
  • Michael asked: what changed from back then? He says it’s due to use of herbicides.

 

14:30 - Production dropping on farms

 

  • Michael has observed a drop from 200 bushels per acre to 70-80. Michael has seen this across many farms.

 

16:10 - How do you go from depressed yields to back up to larger numbers

  • Michael advises to firstly figure out what is going wrong, and stop doing that.
  • “Get the food right” for the soil.
  • There is no magic bullet solution

 

19:00 - What is causing the suppression of soil health?

 

  • Excessive tillage doesn’t seem to bother soil. However, you must be careful with which tillage tool to use.
  • Tillage does not cause the same damage as herbicides, anhydrous ammonia, or high sulphur fertilizers

 

21:40 - What are the damaging effects of herbicides on soil health?

 

  • Michael thinks we haven’t paid enough attention to soil micronutrients
  • They are important to plant growth, and easily chelated by pesticides.

 

23:00 - What did Michael learn from his grandfather would be relevant today?

 

  • Crop rotation is lacking.
  • Michael’s grandfather had to grow oats for his horses, which are great at improving soil health.
  • Michael says we should think of oats as an excellent cover crop.
  • No better fertilizer than animal manures.

 

26:00 - What did Michael learn from studying diseases as a weapon?

 

  • Diseases can continue to kill crops for many years.
  • Antibiotic type products can strip soil protection
  • It hard to fix contaminated soil. There is microbial life in soil that will keep everything in balance, provided you can provide the right nutrition.

 

29:40 - Is it possible to grow crops that don’t have disease?

 

  • Michael says yes! It’s very hard to get disease to invade a perfectly healthy plant
  • An unhealthy plant cannot convert sugars into complex sugars, which disease can’t use.

 

33:10 - What has been something that has puzzled Michael?

 

  • Michael’s answer: The impact of lack of micronutrients in crops.
  • Minerals are being chelated inside the plant tissue by herbicides
  • Sap analysis correlates more with what plants are showing visually

 

36:20 - What are the things Michael believes to be true that others don’t believe to be true?

 

  • Michael believes soil can grow healthy and high yielding plants with minimal additional inputs

 

37:10 - How to grow healthy, high yield crops without fertilizer

 

  • Creating healthy soil that allows plant roots to go deep into the soil for access to needed minerals

 

40:10 - What does Michael not believe to be true?

 

  • Michael’s answer: Most people believe you have to put a lot of inputs in to get decent yield. Most people don’t understand how the system works and are trying to swim upstream.

 

41:20 - What technology or ideas is Michael excited about?

 

  • More involvement in food production
  • Wasting too much good soil

 

42:10 - Where is the biggest opportunity in agriculture?

 

  • Growers that are looking to improve sustainability of their operations

 

43:00 - What is the one book Michael would recommend for growers?

 

  • Mineral Nutrition and Plant Disease - Lawrence E. Datnoff, Don M. Huber, Wade H. Elmer
  • Books relating to microbial life in soil

 

45:20 - What is the one action Michael recommend growers take?

 

  • “Stop poisoning the soil”
  • Transitioning vs. stopping all at once
  • Michael has had total success with other farmers implementing this

 

 

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com. You can email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com.

 

 

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Apr 14, 2018
Social Impacts of Regenerative Agriculture with Gabe Brown
01:05:31

In this episode, I interviewed Gabe Brown, a rancher who is a veteran no-tiller and the owner of Brown’s Ranch in Bismarck, N.D..

We discussed Gabe’s experience farming without applying any fertilizers, the ability to feed more people with regenerative agriculture than with the current system, the economics of grazing beef, and the tremendous opportunity of growing non-commodity crops. This episode is a great look at the practical applications of regenerative agriculture systems.

Gabe's new book, Dirt to Soil, will be available in fall 2018 from Chelsea Green and Amazon.

 

 

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

  

 

Episode 2 - Gabe Brown - Highlights

0:02:40 - What moments have lead Gabe to where he is today? 

  • Since Gabe wasn’t born and raised on a farm, he didn’t have any preconceived notions, and was open to new ideas
  • Gabe went to no tillage
  • Gabe learned how to use the land without the use of synthetic inputs

 

0:04:40 - What were the key pieces Gabe changed to how he had been farming?

  • Incorporating livestock
  • Lowering synthetic inputs

 

0:07:20 - How important is it to incorporate livestock?

  • Soil health revolves around carbon
  • We can still definitely improve soil health without livestock, however they will not reach the levels of soil that had livestock
  • Cover crops are still a no-brainer, however!

 

0:12:00 - Commodity crop mindset

  • We have a human health crisis
  • Nutrient density is a fraction of what it used to be
  • Health of soil ecosystem is causing downward trend in nutrient density
  • Focus on human health is a coming wave

 

0:16:40 - Do we actually have a food production problem? 

  • We have a distribution problem, not a food production problem.

 

0:20:50 -  Iowa’s change from 1946 

  • Gabe is succeeding by focusing on growing different things
  • Money coming from working on little things

 

0:25:00 - Agriculture is fun again!

  • Much more enjoyable to work with a model of life rather than death

 

0:26:20 - We have a model of agriculture antagonistic to growers core values 

  • There are human health implications

 

0:28:30 - Can we increase meat consumption globally and produce an equivalent or greater amount of meat using the system Gabe has described?

  • Absolutely yes!
  • Not having animals out on the land causing issues
  • Commodity vs regenerative model - growing cover crops, grazing

 

0:32:40 - Growing food as medicine 

 

0:34:10 - What has really puzzled Gabe?

  • Dealing with perennial weeds
  • We have to get fungal activity back into soils

 

0:38:20 - What has surprised Gabe?

  • Not able to be truly regenerative without removing or significantly backing off the use of synthetics

 

0:40:40 - What synthetic fertilisers has Gabe been using?

  • Dry synthetic fertilisers such as urea
  • They were significantly over applying nitrogen and phosphorus
  • Need to wean off of synthetics   

 

0:43:40 - What does Gabe believe to be true about modern agriculture that others don’t believe to be true?

  • We aren’t given an owners manual for our soil
  • Need to realize soil is living, dynamic, resilient ecosystem
  • What thing that sets Gabe’s operation apart: Living growing root in the ground as long as possible throughout the year

 

0:47:00 - Most growers haven’t observed truly healthy plants

 

0:48:20 - What is the biggest opportunity in agriculture today?

 

0:51:00 - What is a book or resource Gabe recommends?

 

0:53:30 - What ideas and technology is Gabe excited about for the future of agriculture?

  • Leaps in knowledge of soil biology
  • Instrumentation to scan a food item to scan nutrient density
  • Advancements in measuring carbon

 

0:58:00 - What actions would you recommend for growers?

  • Educate themselves - have a desire to learn
  • 5 principles - least amount of disturbance possible, armor on the soil, diversity, living root in ground as long as possible, animal integration. Try these 5 on a given field for 5 years
  • Getting more perennials growing

 

1:01:50 - What question does Gabe wish John had asked?

  • Just try something! Don’t have to do it all to start
  • Need to not drive young people away from agriculture

 

 

 

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com. You can email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com.

 

 

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Apr 14, 2018
Increasing Biological Populations with Dr. Robert Kremer
59:59

In this episode, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Robert Kremer, a microbiology scientist for the USDA who also works as a professor in plant sciences at the University of Missouri. In this episode, we discuss Robert's project with the USDA decomposing weed seeds in soil, native soil microorganisms and microbial interactions, and the implications of AMPA and glyphosate on soil biology. We also discuss Robert's thoughts on the challenge of manganese availability, how growing GMO's impacts soil health, building soil carbon, how to choose soil inoculants and many more fascinating insights from a highly respected soil scientist.

 

 

Support For This Show & Helping You Grow

This show is brought to you by AEA, leaders in regenerative agriculture since 2006.

If you are a large-scale grower looking to increase crop revenue and quality, email hello@advancingecoag.com or call 800-495-6603 extension 344 to be connected with a dedicated AEA crop consultant.

 

 

Episode 1 - Dr. Kremer - Highlights

0:03:00 - What are Robert’s memorable moments leading up to where he is today?

  • Robert was asked by the USDA Agricultural Research Service to look at the possibility of decomposing weed seeds in soil used in microbiological approaches.
  • Robert saw in the 80’s, weed and pest management was mainly chemical based.
  • Through trying natural ways of controlling weeds and attempting to understand what pesticides do, which lead him soil quality/health.

 

 0:05:50 - Has Robert had success in developing biological controls? Are there tools available for farmers to use today?

  • Robert found it almost impossible to control all weed growth.
  • Modern input based agriculture ecosystems built up many weed seeds in the operations Robert was working on.
  • Robert’s work has helped set the stage for other work that has been done in this area.

 

0:08:10 - Is Robert aware of any development relevant to fruit and vegetable production systems? Or in areas where ecosystems have longer crop rotation incorporating cover crops? 

  • Agri-Food Canada has contributed to this area
  • However, Robert doesn’t believe there is a lot of development

 

 0:09:40 - The impact of pesticides?

  • Robert has found some pesticides to be damaging to certain microorganism, while the same pesticides can be stimulating to other microorganisms  
  • Microorganisms were able to adapt to commonly used insecticides and herbicides
  • These compounds were building weed resistance, but also altering the soil microbial community at the same time
  • Finding residual glyphosate in the soil

 

0:14:40 - How long does Robert find that glyphosate residues are remaining in soil?

  • Plots that had gone a year without RoundUp had as high glyphosate levels as plots that received the glyphosate in the same year, showing there was a carry over of residual glyphosate
  • Robert found it seemed random which plots had high levels of residual glyphosate
  • AMPA can be just as toxic as glyphosate itself
  • Robert was observing 10-50x more AMPA than glyphosate

 

0:17:40 - What are the implications of high concentrations of AMPA in soil profile?

  • AMPA has very similar effects to glyphosate on soil

 

0:18:30 - What defines soil quality and health? 

  • Two main indicators: soil organic carbon, and microbial diversity
  • A high proportion of soil organic carbon is active carbon. This is the portion of carbon that supports the microbial community and plant growth protection
  • Diversity in fungi and bacteria

0:25:00 - What can a farmer today do to start measuring these factors?

  • Labs exist that can put together soil assessments
  • Some states have incentives for farmers to do this

0:27:00 - What are the long-term impacts of soil quality/health by compounds such as glyphosate or AMPA? 

  • Robert has noticed glyphosate tends to suppress beneficial groups of bacteria
  • Manganese can become “tied up” because the plant cannot access micronutrients 

0:31:00 - What are the long-term implications of manganese immobility in soil profiles?

  • Shift in microbial diversity.
  • Including cover crops or different crops in rotation can help free up manganese 

 

0:33:30 - What crops are really effective at having a reducing effect and shifting the availability of manganese in the soil profile?

  • When you have a diversity of cover crops, some will be able to mobilize micronutrients
  • Common example: Buckwheat
  • Sorghum 

 

0:35:20 - How to GMOs impact soil microbial community

  • Some early GMO soybeans roots seemed to release higher levels of amino acids and soluble carbon, which can attract potential pathogens
  • In some GMO corn varieties, side effect of having more lignin

 

0:39:10 - What does Robert believe to be true about modern agriculture that many others don’t believe to be true?

  • Depletion of soil organic matter. Robert has seen a drop from 3% organic matter down to around 1%

 

0:41:00 - How can we regenerate the soluble carbon component in the soil profile?

  • Having a diversity of plants, and having living roots in the soil as long as possible
  • Follow corn or soybean with wheat

 

0:43:20 - What is a book or resource Robert would recommend to growers?

  • Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web by Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis
  • Mycorrhizal Planet by Michael Phillips 

 

0:45:10 - What is the question Robert wishes John had asked?

  • Robert is often asked about biological products

 

0:46:00 - What ideas or technologies is Robert really excited about?

  • Lots of classifications of biological productions: Biological stimulants, probiotics, prebiotic
  • Robert has been impressed with what some prebiotics can do
  • Although, some show promising signs but end up not improving total yield 

 

0:51:30 - Do we have the conditions to give an inoculant or probiotic the opportunity for success?

 

0:53:40 - What is the one action Robert would recommend that growers should take?

  • Need to keep soil covered, even better to keep living plants on the soil
  • Integrate livestock with crops is a great, but mostly forgotten practice

 

0:55:00 - What are the economic implications of managing grazing very closely and carefully?

  • Not only benefit for crops, but for the quality of meat as well.
  • We’ve gotten away from what an agricultural ecosystem should be

 

 

Feedback & Booking

Please send your feedback, requests for topics or guests, or booking request have a Podcast episode recorded LIVE at your event -- to production@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com. You can email John directly at John@regenerativeagriculturepodcast.com.

 

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Credits

 

Hosted by John Kempf. Co-created & Directed by Geoffrey Shively. Produced by Anna Kempf, Jenna Sodano, and Nathan Harman, and Cody Nesbit.

 

Apr 13, 2018