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Old October 11, 2017   #1
Redbaron
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Default Published today

I know this is not much compared to the very many successful writers here at T-ville. But I have to start somewhere. Today I got published! woot woot.

Can We Reverse Global Warming?

It kinda lets you guys know what I have been working oh so hard on the last couple years when I posted fewer posts here. I was here in spirit and it was you guys that inspired me to make the effort. Hopefully there will be many more to follow. I am only sad that Dad never got the chance to see it.
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Old October 11, 2017   #2
imp
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That is a good thing, congratulations. Are you still doing your farming thing as well?
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Old October 11, 2017   #3
greenthumbomaha
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Great summation of the issues. It's more complex than most people are aware of.

- Lisa
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Old October 12, 2017   #4
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Congratulations!
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Old October 12, 2017   #5
Redbaron
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imp View Post
That is a good thing, congratulations. Are you still doing your farming thing as well?
Yes. If you go back to the redbaron project, it was designed to be scale-able. It works small scale and a few people here at T-ville tried it and it works for them too.

So next step I am struggling to fund is scale it up to commercial scale and proof of concept of profitability at scale.

But I don't have the equipment to prove that yet. Working hard on that part.

And thanks for everyone's kind words.
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Bill Mollison
co-founder of permaculture
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Old October 12, 2017   #6
Worth1
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I read part of it Scott.
Nice.
What I do know is many of the big farmers are caught in a trap they cant get out of.
The other is the Indians used to do a lot of burning in this country they dont do anymore from coast to coast.
Those great plains were a man made hunting ground to a very large extent.
Still kills me to think of all that soil that blew away.

Worth
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Old October 12, 2017   #7
Ricky Shaw
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An excellent and informative read that is well worth the time to follow the links to build background. Truly a huge amount of info to digest, but this is both encouraging and enlightening. Thanks for your work and posting it here in T'ville, I probably would not seen it or taken the time to read it otherwise.
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Old October 12, 2017   #8
PureHarvest
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Scott, nice work putting this all together.
I am a Soil Conservationist with NRCS, so I fully understand the agricultural system from all angles: from the producer and their mentalities, to public policy and agency initiatives, and where the money is coming and going.
There are so many factors going on at the same time, that it is hard to figure out where to start the discussion on "where do we go from here'?
I guess the cynic in me keeps saying: follow the money.
There are so many powerful players firmly entrenched at the table.
Look at the Ag committee chairmen in congress, the big ag and chem companies, big fossil fuel, big food etc, and we see how the entrenched entities like things just the way they are. Not to mention you could argue the FDA, big pharma, healthcare industry have a great gig treating all the symptoms that are created by a food system that is not set up for optimal wellness in humans.
So, I ponder often, what exactly is going to provide the will for all these player to take an ego hit, and probably more importantly, a profit hit, for them to basically admit everything we are currently doing is so mind-boggling in regards to how we allocate resources to produce "food"? We are a grain based ag system which is a nutrient poor food stock, and it's no coincedence that the general health of the population is poor.
In my locality, millions of federal dollars flow in each year for conservation programs. 90%+ of the farmers applying for these programs (which are grants, or, free money) are doing it because they can get stuff or stuff done on their farm for free, or actually turn a good profit on the program.
Example, we pay you $76 per acre to plant cover crop. It costs you $35 per acre to plant it and then terminate it in spring. You keep the difference and cover crops are now an additional profit center for your farm. That's $41 per acre. A 1,000 acre farm just profited $41,000 and never even sold a crop.
The point being, farmers are not looking at the big picture, nor the greater long term good. Not saying farmers are careless or evil. They want productive land. But they are saddled with debt and low prices inherent in a system they didn't build from scratch. They NEED to have a program like this to subsidize the low price of their commodities. The successful farmers are aware of this. I imagine it is a bit of a pride hit, but at some point you have to say to yourself, this is the system we're in, and what is out there that I can legally do to add to all that I am already doing to survive?
And i forgot to mention the Universities in my earlier examples of entrenched interests. You better believe they are a factor. Many are very well bankrolled and are biased and closed minded by necessity. If your research shows results that don't fit the funder's narrative, bye-bye to your department, interns, researchers and programs. Many just play ball so they can maintain a well paying career. I don't even think they realize any of this or ignore it because of cognitive dissonance or ego self-preservation.
Whew.
To sum up, just like all of our other major issues in life, such as our insane debt levels, social and family degredation, health care, nutrition, education, etc., the will to change this stuff will need to be so huge as to be able to break up all the players at the table/trough who will stand to lose out if the status quo is questioned and altered.
Not sure how you do this when so many everyday people rely on things how they are to get by every day and year (even if it means they or theirs will rapidly lose it in one generation) and the string pullers leverage this.
Add to that the big knowledge gap between the average farmer (who is advised by a multitude of players in the current system from seed, chemical, fert companies, equipment companies, lenders, USDA, and University researchers) and the pioneering farmers and ecologist that have and open mind and are thinkers that look at the world how it is and think WTH are we doing?

Sorry if this post is so dang negative, but I think we have to really keep it real as to what the underlying issues are if we are going to really make changes and not just talk shop and play armchair environmentalist.

I will also add that I don't care what side you fall on in regards to climate change, organics, nutrition, politics etc. The bottom line is that the global population is growing, people need to eat. Grains are not nutritious, decentralized family farms are disappearing, monocultures are unstable, weather is unpredictable, and clean and abundant water for all moving into the future is a concern.

I think I'll end my rant here. Now I need to take the next logical step and consider: where does the will come from to start to push things in a different direction?
I fear that due to human nature, and where we are as a culture especially with the distraction of electronics and tech, that it will first have to fail in order to get peoples' attention to generate the will to change.
It took a long time to set up the system and get to here. How do you stop a battleship on a dime and do a 180?

Last edited by PureHarvest; October 12, 2017 at 09:42 AM.
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Old October 12, 2017   #9
Worth1
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I watched the movie Idiocracy or how ever you spell it the other night.
A must see movie for the entertainment alone much less a good way of seeing where we are headed with agriculture.
One huge corporation everyone works for that has farmers putting some sort of energy drink on crops.
And everyone drinking the stuff for food because there isn't any real food.
It really hits close to home.
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Old October 12, 2017   #10
bower
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Very interesting, Scott!

I was not aware of the carbon sequestering power of the C4 grasses (and glomus allies). A very different take on grassland.

I know Pure Harvest is right about entrenched interests at the table, but we still need our optimists, to be the first to point the way. You may get nothing personally for your heroic efforts, but if change comes in the end, when bigger 'stakeholders' see a way to profit from it, it is still worth while!
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Old October 12, 2017   #11
PureHarvest
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Yeah, I know I came across doom and gloom. But the scene has to be set to fathom what we are up against.
If everyone does what they can locally/personally, a ton of little changes can add up.

And worth, Brawndo has what plants crave...lol
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Old October 12, 2017   #12
PureHarvest
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Joe: For the last time, I'm pretty sure what's killing the crops is this Brawndo stuff.
Secretary of State: But Brawndo's got what plants crave. It's got electrolytes.
Attorney General: So wait a minute. What you're saying is that you want us to put water on the crops.
Joe: Yes.
Attorney General: Water. Like out the toilet?
Joe: Well, I mean, it doesn't have to be out of the toilet, but, yeah, that's the idea.
Secretary of State: But Brawndo's got what plants crave.
Attorney General: It's got electrolytes.
Joe: Okay, look. The plants aren't growing, so I'm pretty sure that the Brawndo's not working. Now, I'm no botanist, but I do know that if you put water on plants, they grow.
Secretary of Energy: Well, I've never seen no plants grow out of no toilet.
Secretary of State: Hey, that's good. You sure you ain't the smartest guy in the world?
Joe: Okay, look. You wanna solve this problem. I wanna get my pardon. So why don't we just try it, okay, and not worry about what plants crave?
Attorney General: Brawndo's got what plants crave.
Secretary of Energy: Yeah, it's got electrolytes.
Joe: What are electrolytes? Do you even know?
Secretary of State: It's what they use to make Brawndo.
Joe: Yeah, but why do they use them to make Brawndo?
Secretary of Defense: 'Cause Brawndo's got electrolytes.
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Old October 12, 2017   #13
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Scott, congratulations! Yes, I must say that you have been very busy. I wondered what you have been up to and missed seeing your posts. You have been working VERY hard. I have been using some of your methods and have seen wonderful results. I have learned even more with this article. While it is a hard sell, I hope that enough people become exposed to this way of thinking to give a small portion of their land a try with it. I think that they would be surprised.

Being published is a good beginning.
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Old October 13, 2017   #14
Redbaron
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Worth1 View Post
I read part of it Scott.
Nice.
What I do know is many of the big farmers are caught in a trap they cant get out of.
The other is the Indians used to do a lot of burning in this country they dont do anymore from coast to coast.
Those great plains were a man made hunting ground to a very large extent.
Still kills me to think of all that soil that blew away.

Worth
Yes and is still blowing away.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissS View Post
Scott, congratulations! Yes, I must say that you have been very busy. I wondered what you have been up to and missed seeing your posts. You have been working VERY hard. I have been using some of your methods and have seen wonderful results. I have learned even more with this article. While it is a hard sell, I hope that enough people become exposed to this way of thinking to give a small portion of their land a try with it. I think that they would be surprised.

Being published is a good beginning.
Thanks for the kind words. I have a plan to do that exact thing by training new young interns and teaching them to make a living on a small corner of their parents or grandparents farm. This way to not interfere with the family operation, but make sure the new generation can get in and make a living too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PureHarvest View Post
Scott, nice work putting this all together.
I am a Soil Conservationist with NRCS,...
It took a long time to set up the system and get to here. How do you stop a battleship on a dime and do a 180?
My deepest respect to you. I do have the business model and the plan to do exactly that, turn the beast 180. But for it to work I need to do proof of concepts on both the business plans and the production models at mechanized commercial scale. And who knows? The proof of concepts may prove me wrong. It can happen. But I can see it. And if I can see it, it means usually that there is a way to do it. All starts with the idea of teaching a new batch of interns these methods once successful and getting them set up to succeed just outside the metropolitan areas of every major city so we can integrate a retail "truck farm" type operation and CSAs. But linking them without brick and mortar infrastructure. We can use the internet in a similar way Amazon has, but combined with the farmers co-op business model to market and brand in a competitive way, but much more profitable for the farmer and far far more efficient and resilient than centralized industrial models. I know I can build it once I get it started. The problem of course is getting the funding for that first proof of concept so that later armed with that we can get capital to flow into the project. And unfortunately I have raised exactly 10 dollars so far. Look Here So most people seem to still think the task is impossible I guess.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricky Shaw View Post
An excellent and informative read that is well worth the time to follow the links to build background. Truly a huge amount of info to digest, but this is both encouraging and enlightening. Thanks for your work and posting it here in T'ville, I probably would not seen it or taken the time to read it otherwise.
Thanks for the kind words.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bower View Post
Very interesting, Scott!

I was not aware of the carbon sequestering power of the C4 grasses (and glomus allies). A very different take on grassland.

I know Pure Harvest is right about entrenched interests at the table, but we still need our optimists, to be the first to point the way. You may get nothing personally for your heroic efforts, but if change comes in the end, when bigger 'stakeholders' see a way to profit from it, it is still worth while!
Exactly! You apparently can read my mind. And yes, pretty sure still to this day even 99% of climate and soil scientists still haven't worked out the power of what it all means. I know when I finally connected the dots I was floored for a long time. We all tend to exist in our silos or cubicals if you will. Seldom do we get a chance to climb out and peer around a bit. But in this case when I did it was well worth it.
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AKA The Redbaron

"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation rather than protracted & thoughtless labour; & of looking at plants & animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single-product system."
Bill Mollison
co-founder of permaculture

Last edited by Redbaron; October 13, 2017 at 03:19 AM.
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Old October 13, 2017   #15
PureHarvest
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Anytime you wanna talk shop on the biz end, I'm all ears.
Besides the production and science, I'm also into the business planning side. I forced myself to build, understand and use crop budgets that work and make sense. And how to really figure out the only thing that matters before you begin growing: what is my market and how much can I sell this year with pretty high confidence.
Even armed with that tool, the other big factor I see over and over again is lack of realistic planning for a small farmer.
Just helped a guy last year with our high tunnel program. I ask him, what are you going to grow? How are you going to market it? He says bell peppers to the the local discount grocer.
It never entered his mind that he would never even come close to hitting the volume and profit margin to even come within a sniff of making a net profit to even pay one month's worth of living expenses. He did, as many do, have lots of thoughts and time invested in coming up with all kinds of idealogical alternative systems (rain gutter collection, grow lights, etc) for growing in the tunnel.
With a back of the envelope estimate, we determined he might net $250 if he went forward with his original "plan". He is rethinking his gameplan.
There is so much info out there on crops and various production systems. Technology and youtube has really enhanced this. But, it distracts from one of the most important parts: financial viability. Most people are drawn to farming because they are attracted to the lifestyle or country setting or working in the soil or growing stuff. But we quickly let that become our mission instead of approaching it like a business.
I'm not trying to sound judgmental, because I was that guy to a T.
So I applaud you for tying to come up with something new that can be proven and replicated.
I'm still struggling with market share for the small farmer. A farmer's market, if you can find one without a waiting list, will not replace most off-farm full-time net incomes. It is hard to make the jump from hobby/part-time farm to full-time. Finding the happy medium of reasonable work load and the volume and diversity of crops that need to be moved in a year is a real challenge if you are trying to support a family of 5.
My area has no food hub, distributors, health food stores, or auctions. Restaurants are a a tough gig in and of themselves, and require a lot of off-farm time with distribution etc. Now you need staff. Staff necessitates growing more volume to pay the staff. More volume means more outlets to move product to. So the problem sort of scales up and can get overwhelming. Before you know it we're back to the old problem of get big or get out that you referenced in your article.

Last edited by PureHarvest; October 13, 2017 at 10:28 AM.
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