Jan 19, 2013

Corps Keeps Barge Traffic Moving on Mississippi » Market to Market » Iowa Public Television

Data reveals the worst drought in half-a-century is intensifying in the Grain Belt.

Last week, the government released its final crop report for 2012, and the numbers revealed the agricultural impact of the worst drought in 50 years.

According to USDA, America’s farmers produced 10.8 billion bushels of corn in 2012, down 27 percent from initial estimates last spring. Nevertheless, analysts say better technology averted steeper losses and enabled growers to harvest a crop that ranks as the 8th largest in history.

The challenge this winter has been moving all that corn to market -- especially those overseas. Sixty percent of U.S. grain exports travel at least a portion of their journey on the Mississippi River. But prolonged drought has drained the waterway to historic lows, and contractors are working feverishly to keep the Mississippi – and the commerce it supports – flowing. Paul Yeager explains

The Mississippi River Basin is the world’s 4th largest watershed and agriculture in the basin has always been a major player in the U.S. economy. Farmers in the basin produce 92 percent of America’s agricultural exports and 78 percent of the world's exports of feed grains and oilseed.

But last summer, the same drought that wreaked havoc on U.S. crops also threatened to put a stranglehold on the primary shipping artery for 60 percent of U.S. grain exports.

Dan Overbey, Executive Director S.E. Missouri Regional Port Authority: “For a country our size to be the industrial we are, you depend on, you need transportation and it needs to be reliable.”

Dan Overbey is the Executive Director of the Southeast Missouri Regional Port Authority… a terminal where a variety of cargo gets transferred from barge, truck and rail. According to Overbey, the facility experienced an increase in activity last year as concerns grew over the drought’s impact on the Mississippi River.

Dan Overbey, Executive Director S.E. Missouri Regional Port Authority: “The grain elevator here, Consolidated Grain and Barge, they worked around the clock for two weeks shipping out a million bushel pile of what they had stored here. Really, the whole export market from this part of the country is built on low-cost river transportation. And if you’re sitting up here with 30-40 barges, and their too deep to go through, you’ve got a real problem.”

The Southeast Missouri Regional Port Authority is only two miles upriver from what has become ground zero in a battle to maintain navigable shipping lanes above the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers… a war waged by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Frank Segree, Master dredge Hurley: “American people don’t understand that for every one barge that comes down this river, it takes 100 train cars to fill that barge. It is the cheapest, most economical thing going.”

Frank Segree is the Master of the dredge Hurley, the flagship in the Corps’ fleet of vessels charged with maintaining shipping channels on America’s waterways.

Frank Segree, Master dredge Hurley: “And the bottom stops with the consumer. You, me, and everybody else, it affects every one of us and that’s what it’s all about.”

The Hurley is a dustpan dredge which operates much like a huge vacuum cleaner. Anchored in the channel by two cables, the Hurley pulls itself forward with the help of two massive winches. High velocity water jets loosen up sand and silt which is sucked up by massive pumps. The Hurley is capable of removing 5,000 cubic yards of river bottom every hour, and discharging the sediments outside of the river channel.

Frank Segree, Master dredge Hurley: “Congress mandated a 9 foot draft from Baton Rouge north. From Baton Rouge south, we maintain 4-5 feet draft. So we’re here to make sure the nation has nine foot. Commerce can bring 9 feet of draft down this waterway.”

Just upstream from the Hurley, private contractors have been enlisted to remove rocks from the river channel. Their mission is a bit easier than usual because the drought has made the rock more accessible.

Mike Petersen, Army Corps of Engineers: “The two contractors we have working this are out there and right now what they’re mainly doing is excavating the rock. They’re using heavy equipment to basically scoop it out of the bottom of the river. So we’ve been able to do the vast majority of the removal with mechanical means. We’re also doing some drilling and blasting as well.”

Despite the drought’s impact on water levels, the Corps believes it will be able to maintain a 9 foot channel on the Mississippi through spring. That is contingent, however, on whether the river rises as it traditionally does when snow and ice melt further upstream.

Mike Petersen, Army Corps of Engineers: “Right now we’re winning battles but we’re looking at a long campaign. This is year one of a drought, we’re guaranteeing a better channel next year with the rock work we’re doing. We’re keeping commerce moving with the 24-7 dredging. Plus we’ve used some our lakes to release water to provide us with a little more depth when we need it. So we’ve won little battles along the way, but we’re keeping an eye on the long view.”

USDA estimates that nearly 80 percent of America’s agricultural land was impacted by drought in 2012, making it the most extensive drought since the 1950s. If arid conditions persist through 2013 it will be a one-two punch with lower yields and increased shipping costs which, ultimately, will be passed on to consumers.

Mike Petersen, Army Corps of Engineers: “Right now, we’ve been able to accomplish the mission with the tools we have and the resources we have, that’s a little bit of a miracle. It’s been a fantastic success so far. But we have to remember the focus of this drought isn’t just the navigation channel on the Mississippi. It’s the entire Midwest.”

Study finds severe climate jeopardizing Amazon forest - YouTube

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PASADENA, Calif. - An area of the Amazon rainforest twice the size of California continues to suffer from the effects of a megadrought that began in 2005, finds a new NASA-led study. These results, together with observed recurrences of droughts every few years and associated damage to the forests in southern and western Amazonia in the past decade, suggest these rainforests may be showing the first signs of potential large-scale degradation due to climate change.

An international research team led by Sassan Saatchi of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., analyzed more than a decade of satellite microwave radar data collected between 2000 and 2009 over Amazonia. The observations included measurements of rainfall from NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission and measurements of the moisture content and structure of the forest canopy (top layer) from the Seawinds scatterometer on NASA's QuikScat spacecraft.

The scientists found that during the summer of 2005, more than 270,000 square miles (700,000 square kilometers, or 70 million hectares) of pristine, old-growth forest in southwestern Amazonia experienced an extensive, severe drought. This megadrought caused widespread changes to the forest canopy that were detectable by satellite. The changes suggest dieback of branches and tree falls, especially among the older, larger, more vulnerable canopy trees that blanket the forest.

While rainfall levels gradually recovered in subsequent years, the damage to the forest canopy persisted all the way to the next major drought, which began in 2010. About half the forest affected by the 2005 drought - an area the size of California - did not recover by the time QuikScat stopped gathering global data in November 2009 and before the start of a more extensive drought in 2010.

"The biggest surprise for us was that the effects appeared to persist for years after the 2005 drought," said study co-author Yadvinder Malhi of the University of Oxford, United Kingdom. "We had expected the forest canopy to bounce back after a year with a new flush of leaf growth, but the damage appeared to persist right up to the subsequent drought in 2010."

Recent Amazonian droughts have drawn attention to the vulnerability of tropical forests to climate change. Satellite and ground data have shown an increase in wildfires during drought years and tree die-offs following severe droughts. Until now, there had been no satellite-based assessment of the multi-year impacts of these droughts across all of Amazonia. Large-scale droughts can lead to sustained releases of carbon dioxide from decaying wood, affecting ecosystems and Earth's carbon cycle.

The researchers attribute the 2005 Amazonian drought to the long-term warming of tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures. "In effect, the same climate phenomenon that helped form hurricanes Katrina and Rita along U.S. southern coasts in 2005 also likely caused the severe drought in southwest Amazonia," Saatchi said. "An extreme climate event caused the drought, which subsequently damaged the Amazonian trees."

Saatchi said such megadroughts can have long-lasting effects on rainforest ecosystems. "Our results suggest that if droughts continue at five- to 10-year intervals or increase in frequency due to climate change, large areas of the Amazon forest are likely to be exposed to persistent effects of droughts and corresponding slow forest recovery," he said. "This may alter the structure and function of Amazonian rainforest ecosystems."

The team found that the area affected by the 2005 drought was much larger than scientists had previously predicted. About 30 percent (656,370 square miles, or 1.7 million square kilometers) of the Amazon basin's total current forest area was affected, with more than five percent of the forest experiencing severe drought conditions. The 2010 drought affected nearly half of the entire Amazon forest, with nearly a fifth of it experiencing severe drought. More than 231,660 square miles (600,000 square kilometers) of the area affected by the 2005 drought were also affected by the 2010 drought. This "double whammy" by successive droughts suggests a potentially long-lasting and widespread effect on forests in southern and western Amazonia.

The drought rate in Amazonia during the past decade is unprecedented over the past century. In addition to the two major droughts in 2005 and 2010, the area has experienced several localized mini-droughts in recent years. Observations from ground stations show that rainfall over the southern Amazon rainforest declined by almost 3.2 percent per year in the period from 1970 to 1998. Climate analyses for the period from 1995 to 2005 show a steady decline in water availability for plants in the region. Together, these data suggest a decade of moderate water stress led up to the 2005 drought, helping trigger the large-scale forest damage seen following the 2005 drought.

Saatchi said the new study sheds new light on a major controversy that existed about how the Amazon forest responded following the 2005 megadrought. Previous studies using conventional optical satellite data produced contradictory results, likely due to the difficulty of correcting the optical data for interference by clouds and other atmospheric conditions.

In contrast, QuikScat's scatterometer radar was able to see through the clouds and penetrate into the top few meters of vegetation, providing daily measurements of the forest canopy structure and estimates of how much water the forest contains. Areas of drought-damaged forest produced a lower radar signal than the signals collected over healthy forest areas, indicating either that the forest canopy is drier or it is less "rough" due to damage to or the death of canopy trees.

Results of the study were published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Other participating institutions included UCLA; University of Oxford, United Kingdom; University of Exeter, Devon, United Kingdom; National Institute for Space Research, Sao Jose dos Campos, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Boston University, Mass.; and NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

For more on NASA's scatterometry missions, visit: http://winds.jpl.nasa.gov/index.cfm . You can follow JPL News on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/nasajpl and on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/nasajpl . The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena manages JPL for NASA.

Jan 18, 2013

Biochar and the Carbon Negative Revolution: Jason Aramburu at TEDxMission

As the world's population skyrockets, reduction of CO2 emissions becomes vital for human survival. However, inconvenient lifestyle changes (conservation, energy efficiency etc) have proven difficult or impossible to implement. How can we leverage technologies, both ancient and new, to make our lives better and fight climate change? Jason Aramburu is a cleantech entrepreneur and researcher currently working with Biochar as a means of developing innovative and low-cost solutions to these challenges.

Amazing Results Using Biochar as a Soil & Feed Additive- Virginia Farming - January 11, 2013 - YouTube

Published on Jan 15, 2013

Biochar is an organic charcoal that's being used as a soil additive in Asia and Europe, and they are seeing some amazing results. We'll learn more about the process when Erich Knight, a Biochar Specialist joins us on Ag Insights. Then we'll talk about winter pruning when we go In the Garden; plus, we'll have the Ag Calendar, and a Minute in the field video. All this, plus the ag news of the week on this edition of Virginia Farming. VAFM1146

What Has Nature Ever Done For Us?

Leading environmentalist and sustainability adviser Tony Juniper argues that we must put a price on nature if we are to save it.

Chair: Jo Confino, executive editor, the Guardian and chairman and editorial director of Guardian Sustainable Business.

Listen to the podcast of the full event including audience Q&A:http://www.thersa.org/events/audio-and-past-events/2012/what-has-nature-ever-...

Our events are made possible with the support of our Fellowship. Support us by donating or applying to become a Fellow.

Donate: http://www.thersa.org/support-the-rsa
Become a Fellow: http://www.thersa.org/fellowship/apply

Deficient levees found across America - Washington Times

Corps of Engineers and others discuss the problems.

“This is going to be a national problem and it just hasn’t dawned on people how big it’s going to be,” said Jeffrey Mount, a levee management specialist and founder of the Center for Watershed Sciences at the University of California, Davis. “We’re in a never-ending cycle of flood and rebuild.”
Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jan/17/deficient-levees-found-across-america/?page=3#ixzz2ILfHE4m9

Follow: @washtimes on Twitter

Full Text of Article:

Jan 17, 2013

Super Finishing for Turning

George Vondriska demonstrates the best way to apply a simple finishing mixture to a bottle stopper that is durable and will give the piece a proper shine. While the stopper is still on your lathe, you can dab on light layers of thin-viscosity CA wood glue and linseed oil.

Wax and Sawdust Firestarter

George Vondriska teaches you a cool way to get your winter fires going! George fills empty cardboard egg cartons with wood shavings (he recommends soft woods like pine or cedar), then pours a layer of melted wax over each shell, making sure to get all of the wood wet. When the wax solidifies, you can use your woodworking band saw to cut the shells apart. Voilà, you've just found an easy way to start a fire!

Outdoor expert Dick Turpin shows how to make a long burning campfire starter with egg carton reservoirs, sawdust and wax.

Now we can get rid of all those old used candles that we have been saving all those years... :-)
Monte & Eileen

Jan 16, 2013

Luther Burbank - Botanist

Luther Burbank (7 March 1849 -- 11 April 1926)[1] was an American botanist, horticulturist and a pioneer in agricultural science. He developed more than 800 strains and varieties of plants over his 55-year career. Burbank's varied creations included fruits, flowers, grains, grasses, and vegetables. He developed a spineless cactus (useful for cattle-feed) and the plumcot.

Burbank's most successful strains and varieties include the Shasta daisy, the Fire poppy, the July Elberta peach, the Santa Rosa plum, the Flaming Gold nectarine, the Wickson plum, the Freestone peach, and the white blackberry. A natural genetic variant of the Burbank potato with russet-colored skin later became known as the Russet Burbank potato. This large, brown-skinned, white-fleshed potato has become the world's predominant potato in food processing.

Related Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luther_Burbank

Planting Chestnuts and Hazels Instructions | little house on the urban prairie

Source Link for Instructions: chestnuts and hazels for the future | little house on the urban prairie

Three American bamboos - River Cane, Hill Cane, & Switch Cane

River Cane

River Cane
River cane or giant cane is known by the name Arundinaria gigantea. It is the largest of the three American bamboos and can top 26 feet in height. Although it is native to Florida, it is quite cold hardy and has grown up and down the east coast, tolerating conditions to climate zone 5 (average minimum temperatures of -20F). In warm climes, its culm (stem) is about an inch thick, but in colder climates it is thinner and only grows to 6 or 7 feet tall. It loves damp or soggy planting sites.

Hill Cane
Hill cane or Arundinaria appalachiana is the most recently discovered of the United States species. Botanists first identified it as a separate species in 1997 and it is native to the hills of Appalachia and the northern edge of the Piedmont region. Unlike most other species of bamboo, hill cane loses its leaves in the fall. It is smaller than other American bamboo plants, usually growing to no more than 3 feet in height. It is also very thin, varying from less than a tenth of an inch to a quarter inch in diameter.

Switch Cane
Switch cane, or Arundinaria tecta, is a forest understory plant which ranges along the east coast of the U.S. It is similar in appearance to giant cane and is sometimes considered the same species. The main difference is height -- switch cane is less than 7 feet tall. It is also less likely to grow along rivers and marshes, where giant cane grows.

Read more: 

Riparian Forest Buffers » USDA National Agroforestry Center (NAC)

Riparian forest buffers are natural or re-established streamside forests made up of tree, shrub, and grass plantings. They buffer non-point source pollution of waterways from adjacent land, reduce bank erosion, protect aquatic environments, enhance wildlife, and increase biodiversity.

Working Trees Info Sheets
What is a riparian forest buffer?
Working Trees
Working Trees For Agriculture
Working Trees For Communities
Working Trees For Water Quality
Working Trees For Wildlife
Working Trees For 2002 Farm Bill
Working Trees For Carbon Cycle Balance
Inside Agroforestry
Summer 2005: Water Quality
Summer 2004: Agroforestry Tools
Winter / Spring 2004: Wildlife
Winter 2003: 2002 Farm Bill
Spring 2001: Buffers
Spring 2000: Status Of Our Nation's Water
Spring 1999: Wildlife
Fall 1998 / Winter 1999: Small Farms
Fall 1997: Riparian Forest Buffers / Short Rotation Woody Crops
Summer 1997: Agriculture/Community Interface
Spring 1997: Marketing Agroforestry
Spring 1994: Soil Bioengineering
Winter 1993: Trees/CRP
Fall 1993: Water Quality
Agroforestry Notes
Riparian Buffers For An Agricultural Land
How To Design A Riparian Buffer For Agricultural Land
Riparian Buffer Design For Cropland
Research Publications
A Long, Long Time Ago...
Specialty Forest Products
Marketing Specialty Forest Products (4 pages)
Productive Conservation: Growing Specialty Forest Products In Agroforestry Plantings (4 pages)
Edible Woody Landscapes For People And Wildlife (4 pages)
Hybrid Hazelnuts: An Agroforesty Opportunity (4 pages)
Additional Brochures
National Association Of RC&D Councils (NARC&DC) Report: RC&D Survey Of Agroforestry Practices
Agroforestry In The United States: Research And Technology Transfer Needs For The Next Millennium
Field Guide Inserts For Transparent Clipboards
Buffer Width
Power Point
En Español
Árboles Trabajando
Árboles Trabajando En Beneficio De La Agricultura
Conference Proceedings
Great Plains Riparian Forest Summit
September 9-11, 2008
Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Silvopasture » USDA National Agroforestry Center (NAC)


Silvopasture combines trees with forage and livestock production. The trees are managed for high-value sawlogs and, at the same time, provide shade and shelter for livestock and forage, reducing stress and sometimes increasing forage production. In plantations of conifers or hardwoods for timber or Christmas trees, managed grazing provides added products and income. Some nut and fruit orchards may also be grazed.

Related Publications

Working Trees
Working Trees For Agriculture
Working Trees For Water Quality
Working Trees For Wildlife
Working Trees For Livestock
Working Trees: Silvopasture
Working Trees For 2002 Farm Bill
Working Trees For Carbon Cycle Balance
Inside Agroforestry
Winter / Spring 2004: Wildlife
Fall 2002: Silvopasture
Spring 2000: Status Of Our Nation's Water
Summer 1998: Silvopasture
Summer 1996: Trees For Livestock
Agroforestry Notes
Silvopasture: An Agroforestry Practice
The Biology Of Silvopastoralism
From A Pine Forest To Silvopasture
From A Pasture To A Silvopasture System
Converting A Pasture To A Silvopasture System In The Pacific Northwest
Silvopasture And Eastern Wild Turkey
Silvopasture Water And Fencing Systems For Cattle
Pine Straw: A Profitable Agroforestry Practice
Additional Brochures
Silvopasture: Establishment & Management Principles For Pine Forests In The Southeastern United States
National Association Of RC&D Councils (NARC&DC) Report: RC&D Survey Of Agroforestry Practices
Agroforestry In The United States: Research And Technology Transfer Needs For The Next Millennium
Double- Vs. Single-Row Pine Plantations For Wood And Forage Production
Managing Pine Trees And Bahiagrass For Timber And Cattle Production
Management Of Southern Pine Forests For Cattle Production
Field Guide Inserts For Transparent Clipboards
Power Point
Silvopasture Online Training Course

Seeds, Seed Catalogs, and Seed Starting

Spring is in the Mailbox!
Seed catalogs are a gardener's salvation in mid-winter. To help you get the most out of catalog season, we've compiled a list of our favorite organic seed companies, a how-to guide for reading a seed catalog, plus helpful tips for starting your own seeds.

Organic Seed Companies

How to Read a Seed Catalog

10 Tips for Shopping from a Seed Catalog

Handy Seed Starting Chart

5 Reasons to Start Your Own Seeds

Seed-Starting Equipment and Supplies

 Seed Starting at a Glance

Blend Your Own Seed-Starting Mix

14 Tips for Starting Your Own Seeds

Starting Seeds Indoors

Pretreatments for Slow-to-Germinate Seeds

FREE Organic Gardening Planting Planner app on iTunes.

Source URL: http://www.organicgardening.com/seeds
[1] http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/seed-catalog-time
[2] http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/how-read-seed-catalog
[3] http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/top-10-tips-seed-shopping-catalogs
[4] http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/seed-starting-chart
[5] http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/why-start-your-own-seeds
[6] http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/seed-starting-equipment-and-supplies
[7] http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/seed-starting-glance
[8] http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/blend-your-own-seed-starting-mix
[9] http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/14-tips-starting-your-own-seeds
[10] http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/starting-seeds-indoors
[11] http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/pretreatments-slow-germinate-seeds
[12] https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/organic-gardening-planting/id510043427?mt=8

Biochar Disruptive Technology! - Carbon negative fuels - Cool Planet - WeSolveforX - Update/Status Report (Oct 2012)

October 2012 update to Mike Cheiky's WeSolveforX talk on carbon negative fuels to combat climate change and global poverty

23 - Mike Rocke from Sonoma Biochar Initiative on Vimeo.

Serious money and expertise being invested!
Need to watch this...  Monte

Related Links:

The work of Sir Albert Howard

The Prince of Wales delivers the Sir Albert Howard Memorial Lecture via video message. His Royal Highness focuses on food and the environment.
The full text is available on http://www.princeofwales.gov.uk.

Just viewed this and found it "pretty good". Sir Albert Howard was a wise man... Prince Charles "ain't bad either"   Monte


Introduction to "An Agricultural Testament" -- full text online at Journey to Forever.

The Manufacture of Humus from the Wastes of the Town and the Village -- "An Agricultural Testament", by Sir Albert Howard, 1940, Oxford University Press, Appendix C, full text online at the Journey to Forever Small Farms Library..

An Agricultural Testament by Sir Albert Howard, Oxford University Press, 1940.
This is the book that started the organic farming and gardening revolution, the result of Howard's 25 years of research at Indore in India. The essence of organics is brilliantly encapsulated in the Introduction, which begins: "The maintenance of the fertility of the soil is the first condition of any permanent system of agriculture." Read on! Full explanation of the Indore composting process and its application. Excellent on the relationship between soil, food and health. Full text online at the Journey to Forever Small Farms Library.

The Waste Products of Agriculture -- Their Utilization as Humus by Albert Howard and Yeshwant D. Wad, Oxford University Press, London, 1931
Where Howard's An Agricultural Testament charts a new path for sustainable agriculture, this previous book describes how the Indore composting system which was the foundation of the new movement was developed, and why. Howard's most important scientific publication. Full text online at the Journey to Forever Small Farms Library.

Farming and Gardening for Health or Disease (The Soil and Health) by Sir Albert Howard, Faber and Faber, London, 1945, Devin-Adair 1947, Schocken 1972
This is Howard's follow-up to An Agricultural Testament, extending its themes and serving as a guide to the new organic farming movement as it unfolded -- and encountered opposition from the chemical farming lobby and the type of agricultural scientists Howard referred to as "laboratory hermits". Together, the two books provide a clear understanding of what health is and how it works. Full text online at the Journey to Forever Small Farms Library.

Sir Albert Howard in India by Louise E. Howard, Faber & Faber, London, 1953, Rodale 1954
Albert and Gabrielle Howard worked as fellow plant scientists and fellow Imperial Economic Botanists to the Government of India for 25 years, and this is a study of their work by Sir Albert's second wife Louise (sister of Gabrielle, who died in 1930). It's a classic study of effective Third World development work. Initially involved with improving crop varieties, the pair soon concluded it was futile to fiddle with seeds unless the work took full account of the system and circumstances as a whole. Thus developed a sustained interest in putting agricultural research into its right relation with the needs of the people, and a fundamental belief in peasant wisdom. Results were useful only if they could be translated into peasant practice. This led to the development of the famous Indore system of composting organic wastes: improved seeds were no use in impoverished soils. It's a great story. Full text online at the Journey to Forever Small Farms Library.

The Earth's Green Carpet by Louise E. Howard, 1947, Faber & Faber, London
In this unusually clear book, Lady Howard (Sir Albert Howard's wife), has written a "layman's introduction" which is also a work of literary distinction. Her subject is nothing less than the life cycle studied as a whole, and this leads inevitably to the importance of a reformed agriculture for the health of the community. She saw the need for a popular introduction to her husband's revolutionary ideas and principles, and her book draws a vivid picture of what lies behind the appearance of the Earth's green carpet. "Nature is not concerned to give us simple lessons," Lady Howard says -- and yet she transmits them here with admirable simplicity and clarity, a delight to read. More than an introduction, the book is a survey of the whole body of work of the pioneers of organic farming and growing. Full text online at at the Journey to Forever Small Farms Library.

Sir Albert Howard Memorial Issue, Organic Gardening Magazine (Vol. 13, No. 8), September, 1948. Howard died in England in October 1947 at the age of 74. Most of this issue of J.I. Rodale's Organic Gardening Magazine was devoted to his memorial. Five of the 15 papers in the issue are here presented in full (with thanks to Steve Solomon of the Soil and Health Library), including papers by Louise Howard, Ehrenfried Pfeiffer and Yeshwant D. Wad.

Howard on Earthworms -- Howard's Introduction to "The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms with Observations on their Habits" by Charles Darwin, Faber and Faber edition, London, 1945 -- 4,500-word article on worms and why they matter, also covers George Sheffield Oliver's work with earthworms in agriculture.
"The Formation of Vegetable Mould", full text online at the Soil and Health Library:
"Friend Earthworm: Practical Application of a Lifetime Study of Habits of the Most Important Animal in the World" by George Sheffield Oliver, 1941, full text online at Journey to Forever.

Howard on wholism -- Howard's Introduction to J.I. Rodale's "Pay Dirt -- Farming & Gardening with Composts" (Devin-Adair, 1946): "Everywhere knowledge increases at the expense of understanding. The remedy is to look at the whole field covered by crop production, animal husbandry, food, nutrition, and health as one related subject and then to realize the great principle that the birthright of every crop, every animal, and every human being is health."

Nutrition & Soil Fertility -- Howard's speech in support of the Cheshire doctors' "Medical Testament" when it was presented in 1939. From Supplement to "The New English Weekly," April 6th, 1939. Full text online.

Soil Fertility and Health by Sir Albert Howard -- From "Feeding the Family in War-time, Based on the New Knowledge of Nutrition" by Doris Grant, Harrap, London, 1942. A short and elegant exposition of the core concern of the Cheshire doctors' "Medical Testament".

Correspondence in the British Medical Journal -- Publication of the "Medical Testament" in the British Medical Journal drew some heated debate among readers in subsequent issues. This is a letter from Howard.

Soil Fertility: the Farm's Capital -- comments by Howard in discussion on a paper presented to the Farmers' Club by Sir Bernard Greenwell, "Journal of Farmers' Club," February, 1939, p. 9.

Quality of plant and animal products -- Sir Albert Howard: "Manufacture of Humus from the Wastes of the Town and Village": Lect. London Sch. Hygiene and Trop. Med. 17 June, 1937. Extract.

Humus and Disease Resistance -- Sir Albert Howard: "Insects and Fungi in Agriculture." Vol XV. No. 3. "Empire Cotton Growing Review." July, 1938. Extract -- 1,600 words.

Soil maintenance in the forest -- Sir Albert Howard: "A Note on the Problem of Soil Erosion." J. of Royal Society of Arts No. 4471, 29 July, 1938. p. 926. Extract.

How to Avoid a Famine of Quality -- Sir Albert Howard, Editor of Soil and Health, fromOrganic Gardening, Vol. II, No. 5, November, 1947: "Western civilisation is suffering from a subtle form of famine -- a famine of quality."

The Animal As Our Farming Partner -- Sir Albert Howard, from Organic Gardening, Vol. II, No. 3, September, 1947: "In Nature animals and plants lead an interlocked existence. The connection could not be closer, more permanent, or more crucial. We can observe this partnership in operation in the forest, in the prairie, in marshes, streams, rivers, lakes, and the ocean." But not on too many of our farms.

Articles by Sir Albert Howard from Organic Gardening Magazine, 1945-47: Nutrition and Health, Health Building for the Future, Farming and Gardening for Health or Disease, The Real Basis of Public Health, The Purpose of Disease, Life and Health Restored to a Dead Farm, Dried Activated and Digested Sewage Sludge for the Compost Heap, The Leguminous Crop.

Additional Link:

Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture by J. Russell Smith - Introduction -- by Wendell Berry

Source: http://journeytoforever.org/farm_library.html#treecrops

Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture by J. Russell Smith, first published 1929, copyright 1950, the Devin-Adair Company, ISBN 0-933280-44-0
This is the classic work on tree crops. Russell Smith was 50 years ahead of his time, writing the basic text on agroforestry long before there was such a thing. He travelled widely and saw it all coming. The best book about trees -- it's inspired generations of environmental activists. A highly readable blueprint for the development of high-yield tree crops showing that vast, untapped food sources can be harvested from common species of trees. Smith says agriculture must be "adapted to physical conditions," that "farming should fit the land." He observed worldwide the catastrophe of hill agriculture which he described so accurately as "forest-field-plow-desert." "Tree Crops made so much sense to me that I have never been the same since... As my work took me all over the world, everywhere I could see it, thanks to Russell Smith: Agriculture in mountainous, rocky, or dry regions is a disaster, but trees are salvation." -- E. F. Schumacher. Only the Introduction, Chapters 1, 2 and 3, and Chapters 24 and 26 are reproduced here in this online edition. Get the book, it's a treasure-trove. Buy at Amazon.com: Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture

Download the complete book from CD3WD online library (58.8Mb pdf):

Jan 15, 2013

Eating Cheek to Cheek (a parody of “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele) | sweetstemfarm

Full post link: Sweet Stem Farm - Blog
Website: http://www.sweetstem.org/

VersaLand Farm Electric Tractor - Allis G Conversion

View more at http://www.versaland.com/2012/06/24/electric-tractor/

VersaLand Farm's Electric Allis Chalmers G tractor

Related Link: About VersaLand

Down Under Dirt Late Model Racing - Steve Francis Wins the 2013 Australian Dirt Late Model Championship

Dec 28, 2012

Late Model Racing Australia's, Allan Smallwood, interviews USA Dirt Late Model driver Steve Francis during the second night of the Supatilt Wild West Tour at the Perth Motorplex,
28 December 2012

Larger Photo
Photo Credit: Jody Shanhun Photos

January 14, 2013
American Late Model superstar Steve Francis has won the 2013 Australian Dirt Late Model Championship at Quit Bunbury Speedway last night (January 12th).

Francis lead the forty lap championship A Main from start to finish and was never defeated for the entire running of the Australian Championship.

Craig Vosbergen drove a great race to finish second from Warren Oldfield who finished third.

Thirty cars fronted for the second night of the Australian championship with American Devin Moran and Ross Nicastri both sidelined with engine dramas after the first night. South Australian Luke Raymond would also not start the second night with mechanical issues.

Four heat races were held on the second night with drivers contesting one heat each. Steve Francis would win heat nine comfortably over Ryan Halliday and Jamie Oldfield.

Warren Oldfield held off Matt Goodlad in heat ten with New South Wales Darryl Grimson following them home in third.

Craig Vosbergen would continue to show he was a serious chance in the title with another heat win in heat eleven with Vosbergen getting the job done ahead of Matt Noakes and Mick Hamon who had a great battle for second for the entire race.

The final heat race of the weekend would see a depleted field contest the ten laps with Lee Watt scoring maximum points ahead of Koran Atkinson and Matt Nylander.

The top sixteen pointscorers at the end of all the heat races went on to contest the A & B dashes over eight laps.

Steve Francis dominated the A dash, earning himself pole position for the A main. Vosbergen, Warren Oldfield and Jamie Oldfield followed Francis home in the A dash.

Jason Oldfield would lead the early laps of the B Dash before spinning in turn one right in front of Darryl Grimson. Oldfield would retire to the infield with issues in the rear of the MDR transport machine. Grimson would restart in the lead and win the B Dash from Mick Hamon and Koran Atkinson.

A big opening lap accident would occur involving Brad Ludlow, Matt & David Nylander and Dale Clark at the start of the B Main. David Nylander would be the only driver to restart.

Jac Dolmans and Clint Noakes had a great battle for the lead in the B Main with Noakes coming out on top. Matt Noakes got the better of Dolmans in the closing laps finished second from Dolmans, Simon McNab, Ray Leonard and Peter Seaton who all qualified into the A main. Mick Clune and Craig Greentree rounded out the finishers with Mick Clune earning himself a starting position in the A main after Jason Oldfield withdrew with mechanical issues.

Twenty two cars would start the forty lap championship A Main to decide the 2013 Australian Late Model Champion. Francis would lead away at the start with Matt Goodlad and Koran Atkinson both retiring to the infield on the opening lap.

After ten laps the first restart would occur when Mick Clune hit the wall heavily in turn three. Clune would walk away from the nasty accident with his car sustaining major damage.

Darryl Grimson would hit the wall on the back straight with twenty four laps remaining ending the New South Welshman’s chances while running in seventh place.

Francis would continue to lead with the laps winding down with Vosbergen comfortably in second place. Jac Dolmans and Mick Hamon would both retire from the race with ten laps remaining with Francis lapping the field up to fifth place.

Matt Noakes would make heavy contact with the wall with six laps remaining bringing Francis back to the field for the sprint to the finish.

Francis would charge away at the restart and go on to comfortably to win his second straight Australian championship over Vosbergen and Warren Oldfield. Jamie Oldfield who was driving the Brad Blake owned Rocket held onto fourth from Michael Holmes who finished in fifth after doing an engine changed before the main event, Holmes started the race from fifteen.

Ryan Halliday would battle an ill handling racecar into a sixth place finish from Lee Watt, Phil Zuidema, Paul Joss, Matt Crimmins, Clint Noakes and Simon McNab who rounded out the finishers.

Francis was delighted in victory lane, “Great to win this race again, its means a lot to me to come out here and win the title for Michael Holmes and his Ozmine team. Hopefully I can continue the momentum when I go to the east coast now for a couple more races”.

The 2014 Australian Dirt Late Model Championship will be held at the picturesque Borderline Speedway in Mount Gambier in South Australia. The Championship will be held on the 6th, 7th& 8th of March 2014.

Credit: Late Model Racing Australia, Allan Smallwood

Source Link:
Steve Francis Wins the 2013 Australian Dirt Late Model Championship - The Dirt Racing Connnection

Stuart P. Dodge Award 2012: Dale Lasater - Holistic Approach To Cattle Raising

The Stuart P. Dodge Award honors an individual or entity for a lifetime record of conservation achievement. The award is inspired by Stuart P. Dodge, whose exceptional service to Colorado set a benchmark for conservation leadership throughout the state.

Dale Lasater is Managing Partner of The Lasater Ranch, a family cattle operation in Elbert County. His thoughtful, groundbreaking approach to ranching stewardship embodies his lifetime commitment to honoring both his family's unique ranching tradition and also to his ongoing conservation of the land. The lush, beautiful family ranch near Matheson, Colorado, is recognized internationally as an example of an extraordinarily successful relationship between the rancher, his land, and the natural environment. It exemplifies Dale's belief that nurturing the landscape through careful management leads to a complementary balance and shared use among wildlife, livestock, and man. Dale's philosophy involves a holistic approach that has been tested over time and has proven to benefit both the land and its inhabitants. Recently recognized by the International Slow Food movement, Dale was honored for his success in his affirmation that keeping both animals and land healthy can be economically sustainable. He has also been honored as the Colorado Cattlemen's Association "Livestockman of the Year" and for the Society of Range Management "Excellence of Grazing Award".

Dale has managed his family's ranch for over 25 years. Through his unique approach to raising livestock while keeping a close eye on the environmental impact, he has garnered broad respect from both the ranching and the conservation communities. He has been an inspiring mentor and advisor to many, both cattlemen and conservationists. Ranching is his livelihood and conservation is his passion. Dale and his wife Janine have two sons, Alex and Tom. Alex continues to work with his father managing the Lasater Ranch.

For more info: http://palmerlandtrust.org/node/343

Related Link:

Jan 14, 2013

We Are What We Eat

A short film on a few of the topics I'm looking at in the process of creating a feature film about agriculture. For more info please go to www.wearewhatweeat.org

In Process Media
Producer/Director: Aaron Lucich

Meatrix I


The movie that started it all! The Meatrix (www.themeatrix.com) spoofs

The Matrix films and highlights the problems with factory farming. Instead of Keanu Reeves, The Meatrix stars a young pig, Leo, who lives on a pleasant family farm... he thinks. Leo is approached by a trenchcoat-clad cow, Moopheus, and joins him on a journey to learn more about what goes on behind closed barn doors at factory farms. 

The Meatrix was created and produced by Sustainable Table (www.sustainabletable.org) and Free Range Studios (www.freerangestudios.com).

Holistic Planned Grazing / Alan Savory / Animals Improve Land / Poop Cycle / Living Soil

The Savory Institute holds the key to reversing desertification, which is possibly the greatest contributor to man-made climate change. To find out more about this extraordinary company, visit their website at: www.SavoryInstitute.com .

The Healing Effects of Holistic High Density Grazing on Land, Livestock & People's Lives,Greg Judy, Green Pastures Farm Rucker, Missouri

Related Link:

Dr. Pat Richardson of the University of Texas describes the "poop cycle" and compares the diets of dung beetles and humans. Filmed at Dung Beetle Field Day on June 18, 2009.

Living Soil

Without spoken commentary, this film depicts both the life of the soil and the life within it. The parent rock weathers, and soil is born. It cracks under the Sun, then rain brings it back to life: seeds germinate, and animals burrow and bustle below and above the soil''s surface. To complete the chemical cycle, fungi, agents of decay, flourish, themselves to decay in turn. Scavenging insects pick a mouse corpse clean, and a new generation of shoots sprouts among the bones. Photographic techniques reveal actions that our senses cannot otherwise register. Slow-motion anatomizes the impact of a water drop on sand; time-lapse photography eliminates transient details and emphasizes processes, such as the growth of roots and shoots and the removal of soft tissue from a dead animal. These processes, being slow, fail to catch our attention on a brief nature ramble, but they power the mechanism of the living soil. As the film''s introduction states: ''the soil is both the source and the product of the cycle of life and decay''. For many people, soil is just `dirt''. Yet through a fresh eye - that of the camera - they will see soil as the home of a vital community. This film screened in Australia as a Theatrical short with the original release of Star Wars - The Empire Strikes Back.

Related Link:

Cyclone Separator for Dust Collector - YouTube

Small cyclone separator for woodworking collection of sawdust and fine dust.

The cyclone is $ 149.00 and manufactured by Gary MacIntyre, email address is gmacinty@nycap.rr.com . The fan is from Harbor Freight and was $ 89.00. Gary also has larger and smaller cyclone listed on Ebay under cyclone separators for dust collectors.

Jan 13, 2013

Hole Pro Blue Boar DeWalt Milwaukee TCT Hole Saw Tips

This video discusses Hole Pro's Blue Boar Tungsten Carbide Tipped (TCT) hole saws. They are a third generation hole cutter design.

Blue Boar MEGA TCT Master Electrician Kit

  • New third generation hole cutter design!
  • Resists Nail Strikes better than standard multi-material hole saws
  • Up to double the number of Tungsten Carbide cutting teeth on large diameter cutters
  • New dovetail tooth mount and thicker side wall for greater strength and durability
  • Unique tungsten carbide tooth design for cutting through most nails and staples
  • Wide range of 35 different sizes from 5/8" to 6-1/4" diameter
  • Designed to nest so more cutter sizes fit inside the carry case
  • Easy to add special purpose metal or ceramic cutting hole cutters up to 4-3/4" dia. to MEGA kits
  • New compact case design with metal hinge pin, metal latches, and EVA foam lid liner
Kit includes:
12 Carbide Hole Cutters: 7/8", 1-1/8", 1-3/8", 1-1/2", 1-3/4", 2", 2-1/4", 2-1/2", 3", 3-5/8", 4-1/8", 4-1/2"
One 5/8"-18 arbor with 7/16" shank, 1/2"-20 adapter, hex wrench
3 pilot bits (HSS twist, Carbide Masonry, Tungsten Carbide Tipped for wood)
2" ultra deep cutting depth with Nail Resistant Tungsten Carbide Teeth
Sturdy storage case that holds sizes up to 4-3/4" diameter, room for adding more cutters

*** UNIQUE NEW tooth design to Resist Nail Strikes ***

Related Link: http://www.holepro.com