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White Clover Farm received the 2016 Cooperator of the Year Award from the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation District in Highland County. We were chosen based upon our conservation practices that improve the soil and water quality.
Our mission from the beginning has been to conserve and improve our top soils. Franklin D. Roosevelt stated in 1937, shortly after the dust bowl, “The nation that destroys it’s soils, destroys itself.” Despite this warning, we have continued to destroy our soils thru the loss of soil organic matter. Worldwide we have lost 50-70% of the organic matter from our soils. This has resulted in a dysfunctional carbon and water cycle. Dr. Rattan Lal, a soil scientist at Ohio State University, states “A mere 2% increase in the carbon content of the plant’s soils could offset 100% of all greenhouse gas emissions going into the atmosphere.”
Agriculture of the future must be regenerative. We must produce food and improve our soils. Dr. Christine Jones, PhD soil biochemistry, states “If all farmland sequestered more carbon than it was losing, atmospheric CO2 levels would fall at the same time as farm productivity and watershed function improved.”
Our planet’s future food and water security is dependent on restoring the carbon and water cycles. Regenerative agriculture can accomplish this goal. As a consumer I hope you will support this goal by purchasing your food from farms that practice regenerative agriculture.
The term holistic management as developed by Allan Savory of the Savory Institute www.savoryinstitute.com emphasizes the interconnectedness of everything in the universe. Because of this interconnectedness, the whole is greater then the sum of its parts. We use this model when making management decisions at White Clover Farm. We take into account the effects our decisions will have on the environment, water cycle, carbon cycle, mineral cycle, cattle, wildlife, soils, plants, and the human community. Following is an example of using holistic management on our farm.
Possible solutions :
Option 1) Use synthetic chemical fertilizers.
Drawbacks : Fertilizer is manufactured using fossils fuels which are a non-renewable resource and pollute the air. These soluble fertilizers pollute surface water thru runoff and groundwater thru leaching. Synthetic nitrogen also burns off soil organic matter and is harmful to soil biology.
Option 2) Mow the field
By leaving the grass clippings on the surface to slowly decay, they feed the soil biology and increase soil organic matter.
Drawbacks : Slow process and requires diesel fuel to mow.
Option 3) Holistic management
An Amish farmer had recently moved in down the road. He did not have enough pasture for his Belgian draft horses. I offered him the opportunity to graze this pasture free of charge. This decision helped my neighbor by providing free forage for his horses, while providing me with free manure as a source of organic fertilizer. This increases soil organic matter and feeds the soil microbes. Horses clip the pasture very short, opening up the canopy so I could frost seed clover with good seed to soil contact. Clover is a legume which fixes nitrogen from the atmosphere( thru the symbiotic relationship with Rhizobia bacteria in the soil) thus adding an additional 75-100 pounds per acre of organic nitrogen.
As you can see, this holistic approach to management decisions benefited everyone.
Not all fats are bad. In fact, there are two fats, alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3) and linoleic acid (an omega-6), that are essential to good health. These two FA’s are termed essential since humans cannot synthesize them on their own, and therefore must ingest them in their diets.
Now here is the key point. It is the balance or ratio of these two FA’s that determines their function. A high ratio of omega-6/omega-3 is detrimental as it promotes an inflammatory response that leads to cardiovascular disease, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. A balanced ratio of 1 to 1 omega-6/omega-3 is protective against these diseases.
Most Western diets have an omega-6/omega-3 ratio of 15/1. 100% grassfed beef has a much healthier ratio of 1.5/1. Therefore, with grassfed beef you are eating essential fats in the correct ratio to promote health.
All fat was "good" simply because it tasted good. My Grandma fried her eggs in bacon grease, added bacon grease to her cakes and pancakes, made her pie crusts from lard, and served butter with her homemade bread. My grandmother was able to thrive on all that saturated fat—but not my grandfather. He suffered from angina and died from heart failure at a relatively young age.
My grandfather wasn't alone. Population studies from the first half of the 20th century showed that Americans in general had a much higher risk of cardiovascular disease than people from other countries, especially Japan, Italy and Greece. Was all that saturated fat to blame? The Japanese were eating very little fat of any kind, while the people of the Mediterranean were swimming in olive oil, an oil that is very low in saturated fat but high in monounsaturated oils.