Tuesday, September 21, 2010


It seems as if we are headed into another fall season very much like '09. Since midsummer this year, we have had rain in the forecast pretty much every week and a large proportion of the rains turn out to be heavy. Last fall was so wet that we pulled the cattle off the permanent pastures in October to keep them from being destroyed, and unusual problem with permanent pastures and those tough root systems.
We have straw laying in windrows that should have been baled in early August, a first crop of hay on the new seeding that was cut the first week of August and we cannot get to the point where either is dry enough to bale. We have turned each swath three or four times to keep it from rotting and smothering the new grass coming beneath.

It is this kind of thing that brings climate change to mind. This weather is unusual even in our forty years of experience. It is difficult to see what a farm might look like as it modifies itself to cope with this kind of weather. One thing that appears to be true is that, muddy pastures or not, perennial agriculture does better in adverse weather than annual cropping. I am pleased to see that attention is finally being paid to the Land Institute's work on developing perennial grain crops by the more conventional academic institutions.

Most of them, most of the time of course, are burying their head in the sand after the fashion of our own University of Minnesota, which just cancelled the showing of a well researched documentary about the Minnesota river on the grounds that it was too critical of annual cropping and conventional agriculture. Pivot point for the deed was a vice president of public relations who is married to a board member of the Minnesota Agri-Growth council and whose law firm serves as a lobbying mouth piece for conventional agriculture at the legislature.

Ever the same, ever the same.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Another oil well blows up in the Gulf just as we were being lullabied into forgetting the last one, the one bigger than twenty Exxon Valdez's. The oil industry sponsors demonstrations peopled by oil workers fearful of losing their jobs while nothing is heard of any effort to clean up the Minerals Management Service of the federal government that let it all happen. Meanwhile, Blankenship of Massey Coal is still running around loose acting arrogant about the death and destruction he has caused for miners and their families.

Nothing much changes until we change it in our own lives. That is what we are trying to do here at Pastures A Plenty with our constant efforts to get more of our production from perennial rather than annual plants. When you buy our products, you support these efforts, helping us learn to feed our sows and cattle more from grass and clover thus reducing the amount of grain needed, as well as getting more of the energy straight from the sun.

And our meat products are grown, processed and sold in the state of Minnesota, putting a pretty strict limit on shipping distances. We have a long way to go but we are headed in the right direction. Remember that your food dollars really do as much to conserve energy and redirect our economy as your vote. Maybe more.