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Regenerative Agriculture in Action

Regenerative agriculture comes in many forms. Since 2010 Main Street Project has been developing and testing a poultry-centered regenerative agriculture system capable of producing economic, ecological and social benefits that are grounded in local rural communities. Main Street Project’s regenerative agriculture system connects and supports people, makes efficient use of land and

Planting hazelnut in Minnesota.

energy and helps rebuild local food systems by creating opportunities for a new generation of aspiring young and immigrant farmers.

The team at Main Street Project is embarking on an exciting new project in Minnesota. The organization has purchased 100 acres of farmland near Northfield. The farmland is on Mud Creek, located on the northeast side of Northfield, in Dakota County. The farm will showcase the organization’s replicable, scalable system and provide a more expansive space for education and training programs for new and established farmers.

Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin is the principal architect of the innovative poultry-centered regenerative agriculture model that is at the heart of Main Street Project’s work. As Chief Strategy Office, his focus is on the development of multi-level strategies for building regenerative food and agriculture systems that deliver social, economic and ecological benefits. He leads Main Street’s engineering and design work and currently oversees the implementation of restorative blueprints for communities in the United States, Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras. The Main Street Project team has helped train more than 70 agripreneurs. Continue Reading →

Chicken Breed Selection

Chicken breed selection can be a confusing prospect for the modern small farm laying flock. Sex-link birds will give you a great many light brown-shelled eggs of fair size right now, but they won’t build a sustainable and enduring flock.

Locate the purest possible sources of a breed’s genetics. The longer a particular flock’s history is, the better.

Small producers often need to do a better job of presenting their eggs for sale. Even if a flock is made up of all heirloom breeds, a badly mixed-up flock will not produce uniform eggs for sale, produce predictable replacements or foster a positive image. A friend says such flocks look like “grandma’s chicken yard.”

An egg is an egg once the shell is removed and no one will prosper by fostering and spreading old wives’ tales and misinformation. The white-shelled egg deserves the small-scale producer’s consideration every bit as much as the brown-shelled variety.

A good laying flock with a purebred basis is a long-term pursuit. Don’t take up heirloom birds on a whim and then neglect or let them go after a season or two. Such birds seldom make it to another set of caring hands with any sort  of commitment to their preservation as  a breed.

Heirloom breed producers can and should function in a number of different roles. Yet, even with a single focus, be it meat, eggs or seedstock, each flock and producer will have its own unique nature. A part of the task is to know your breed or breeds fully and even more so the birds that make up the actual flocks. A White Wyandotte and Rosecomb White Leghorn have a great many similarities, but all must admit that they were bred and refined for two rather different tasks in life. If you have a good market for light brown eggs in fair numbers and some demand for broilers or roasters, then the White Wyandotte should be your choice of the two breeds. While Leghorn cockerels were my grandmother’s favorite choice of young birds to fry in her day, the Leghorn must be your breed of choice for eggs in greater numbers.

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Mushrooms May Save Bees

A decade ago, honeybee populations around the world began declining at an alarming rate. In the early years of this trend, beekeepers lost 60 percent or more of their hives to a mysterious phenomenon that came to be known as colony collapse disorder (CCD). In each of these cases, worker bees simply disappeared, and it doesn’t take long for a colony to collapse without workers to provide food and to care for the young. Although this trend seems to have leveled off somewhat in recent years, the current average rate of 30 percent annual mortality is still nearly double the average rate reported prior to 2006.

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Soil pH: Making Adjustments to Boost Fertility

Raising soil pH is relatively inexpensive. Lime is the product of choice but there are two basic types of lime: high-calcium and dolomitic.

Soil pH adjustment may seem like a pretty straightforward operation, but there are many things to consider before undertaking such a bold step with soil chemistry. The first step is determine the direction you need to go and the products to use to achieve your goal.

I cannot stress enough the importance of getting a good soil test. I’ve heard people say that based on the type of weeds or the fact that moss is growing means the soil pH needs adjusting. Assuming those statements were true, which direction and how much adjustment should be made? Without a good soil test it is pure and simple guesswork.

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Acres U.S.A. Bestseller List — January 2017

Here were the top sellers between Jan. 1, 2017 and Jan. 31, 2017, from the Acres U.S.A. bookstore.

restoration_agriculture_awardseal

1. Restoration Agriculture

By Mark Shepard

$30.00

Restoration Agriculture explains how we can have all of the benefits of natural, perennial ecosystems and create agricultural systems that imitate nature in form and function while still providing for our food, building, fuel and many other needs — in your own backyard, farm or ranch.

Copyright 2013, softcover, 339 pages

Buy It: http://www.acresusa.com/restoration-agriculture

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Make the Most of the 2016 Acres U.S.A. Conference

Omaha, Nebraska
Eco-Ag U: Tuesday, Nov. 29-Wednesday, Nov. 30
Main Conference: Wednesday, Nov. 30-Friday, Dec. 2

Be an Acres Conference All-Star:
Catch a flick: We work hard to bring exciting, informative films to each conference for your viewing pleasure. The films are shown around lunchtime, so check the conference schedule and don’t miss out. This year’s selections include: Seed: The Untold Story and Circle of Poison.
Meet the Author! We hold numerous book signings throughout the conference. Check the schedule, buy the books in our on-site bookstore, meet the author and get your copy signed.
Get your questions answered in Consulting Halls: Meet with top eco-ag consultants in a small-group setting…a rare opportunity to obtain valuable advice specific to your farm’s needs.
Trade Show: Don’t forget to visit the more than 100 vendors of high-quality eco-inputs and innovations in our Trade Show. Whether you are looking for a specific product or want to pick someone’s brain, the trade show delivers.
Nutritious eats: No need to leave the hotel in search of quality food (although there are lots of great options in Omaha…we’ll highlight a few later) with Creative Cuisine Catering.
Continued learning: Each conference keynote speech and all lecture sessions are recorded live. The recordings are available during the conference as they are produced and full sets of CDs and MP3s are available after the conference.
On-Site Bookstore: Take advantage of excellent prices on all our titles…without worrying about shipping!
Top-Tier Keynoters: Treat yourself to a mind-expanding session each evening at 7:30 p.m. including organic pioneer and author Grace Gershuny, health authority and author Dr. Arden Andersen and farmer and activist Denise O’Brien.

What to bring:
Pens/Notepad/Notebook (You’ll want to take lots of notes. It also helps to write your name on your notebook in case it gets left behind in a session.)
Business/Contact Cards (You will be meeting people with the same farm interests/business needs and ideas — take advantage!)
Reusable Water Bottle (The warm air can be pretty dry indoors in the wintertime.)
Backpack (Many folks find this useful to help bring their supplies, especially if they are leaving and coming back to the hotel throughout the day.)
Badge (When you check in, you’ll receive a name badge. Please don’t misplace your badge, and remember to wear it each day as you’ll need to display it for admission to all conference events and the trade show.)
Conference Program (When you check in, we’ll give you a nifty tote bag designed for this year’s meeting. Inside the bag will be helpful resources including a full conference program including the list of events, times and locations as well as information about the speakers, a map of the Trade Show with information about each vendor and more. Keep it handy!)
Comfortable Shoes (Trust us on this one.)

Venue:
Hilton Omaha, 1001 Cass Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68102, phone: 402-998-3400.

Getting to the hotel:
Airport Transportation, by Taxi
One-way fare between the Omaha Airport and downtown is about $11. Upon arrival at the airport, proceed to ground transportation by the baggage claim. There should be cabs waiting. Following are the taxi companies in Omaha:
• Happy Cab ─ 402-333-TAXI (8294)
• Checker Cab ─ 402-333-TAXI (8294)
• Yellow Cab ─ 402-333-TAXI (8294)
• Safeway Cab ─ 402-333-TAXI (8294)
• City Taxi ─ 402-933-8700

Driving from the Airport
From airport, take left onto Abbott Drive. Left at 10th Street, to Cass Street. Turn right. Hotel is on the left.

Parking:
Self parking: $14.00 (Garage Parking)
Valet: $20.00 (Event Valet: $15)

Dining in Omaha
Here are a few recommendations:
Block 16: block16omaha.com
Avoli Osteria: avoliosteria.com
The Grey Plume: thegreyplume.com
Kitchen Table: kitchentableomaha.com
The Blackstone Meatball: theblackstonemeatball.com
LOCAL Beer, Patio and Kitchen Old Market: localbeer.co
Lot 2: lot2benson.com
Modern Love: modernloveomaha.com
V. Mertz: vmertz.com

Want more information? Check out our Conference FAQs: www.acresusa.com/2016conference-faq