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Agriculture

Environment

Crop Rotation Planner for Beginning Homesteaders

July 10, 2020
crop rotation planner

If you are new to homesteading, writing out a planting schedule may seem daunting. Isn’t it easier to just throw some seed in the ground and see what happens? While it would be nice, starting your garden without a plan is rarely successful. Sure, you might get a nice crop of lettuce and peas in the spring, but what about those watermelons and swiss chard you wanted to harvest later in August? 

If you are a beginning homesteader, you need to look into crop rotation. Making a crop rotation planner helps you figure out what to grow, where to grow it and how much to plant. Regardless of your growing experience, crop rotation plans your growing season more effectively, reduces pest and disease pressure and can increase yields.

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Environment

10 Myths of Organic vs. Inorganic Pesticides

July 3, 2020
organic vs inorganic pesticides

In 2016, U.S. farms applied 1.2 billion pounds of pesticides to crops. These compounds control nuisances like weeds, insects and fungi, all of which can harm plants. Historically, people have used pesticides for thousands of years to protect their produce. Yet, many still don’t understand them or the difference between organic and inorganic pesticides. 

Below, we’ll begin to discuss organic vs. inorganic pesticide myths and uncover 10 myths surrounding their use in U.S. agriculture. 

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Environment

Top 10 Homesteading Blogs to Inspire You During Social Distancing

April 3, 2020
top homesteading blogs

Whether you are sitting in your urban apartment contemplating what life in the country would look like or chasing your chickens around on your farm, social distancing provides the perfect opportunity to look for homesteading inspiration. Wherever you are in your homesteading journey, there are so many resources out there to help answer all of your self-sufficiency questions. 

You may be new to the world of homesteading, and want to explore some basic homesteading skills include gardening, frugality and cooking meals from scratch. Or maybe you are in the process of building an off-grid home and searching for some details on new renewable technology, like solar panels, are playing an important role in transitioning to a more self-sufficient lifestyle. 

Wherever you find yourself right now, being stuck at home is the ideal time to check out some top homesteading blogs. There are so many wonderful activities to engage in while you practice social distancing, such as preparing your garden beds or foraging wild plants on a family hike. Here are our top homesteading blogs to inspire you during social distancing. 

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Environment

Buying a CSA vs. Organic Food: Which One Is Better?

March 20, 2020
csa vs organic food

You don’t have a lot of information about most of the food you buy at the grocery store — how the farmers grew it, what sorts of pesticides and herbicides they used and so on. As a result, many are turning to organic foods and farmers’ markets to have a better idea of what they’re eating, and to avoid chemicals and environmentally unfriendly farming practices. 

However, you have more options than just organic food. You may have heard of community-supported agriculture (or CSA) programs, which can provide you with weekly deliveries of fresh produce from local farmers.

Below, we’ll break down which choice is better — buying from a CSA vs. organic food.

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Environment

What Is Agricultural Runoff, and How Is It Harming Our Waters?

March 18, 2020
what is agricultural runoff

Water is a resource that gets a lot of coverage, probably because living things need it to survive. You may not think much about your water sources, especially if getting hydrated is as easy as turning on the tap and filling up a cup. But clean, easily accessible water is by no means available to everyone, and a problem called agricultural runoff exacerbates matters.

What Is Agricultural Runoff?

Runoff happens when the water from rain, melted snow or irrigation doesn’t sink into the soil for proper absorption. Instead, it moves over the ground, picking up natural and artificial pollutants along the way. Eventually, those contaminants get deposited into coastal waterways, lakes, rivers and even underground sources of drinking water.

What is agricultural runoff, then? It’s the kind of water pollution described above, but it’s originated on farms. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says this runoff is the leading source of impairments to surveyed rivers and lakes. Complicating matters is the fact that there’s no single source of this kind of runoff — farmers can’t just make one change to solve the problem.

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Environment

Farm Bankruptcies on the Rise: What Can We Do About It?

March 16, 2020
farm bankruptcies

As extreme weather disrupts planting and trade wars shrink the market available to farmers, American agriculture is starting to struggle. One recent report from the American Farm Bureau Federation found that farm bankruptcies were up 24% from last year — one of the steepest rises in modern history. At the same time, farm debt is reaching levels close to those seen during the 1980s farming crisis.

All of this change means one thing — American farms are facing pressure that makes them more likely to declare bankruptcy than ever before. Here’s what’s driving the trend, how it’s affecting farmers and what we can do to turn the rise of farm bankruptcy around.

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Green Technology

How Crop Genetics Will Shape the Future of Agriculture

March 13, 2020
crop genetics

People who study human genetics can explain why some pregnancies result in triplets or what determines someone’s hair color. Crop genetics deals with similar queries, except that field of study is specifically for plants. Experts in crop genetics study how to increase yields, make crops more resilient to adverse weather and more. Here’s a look at why crop genetics seems poised to impact agriculture significantly. 

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Environment

How to Develop Climate-Smart Agriculture

February 26, 2020
climate smart agriculture

Climate change has become a worldwide topic of discussion lately, and for good reason. Scientists warn that we need to act fast and collaborate to mitigate the effects of climate change and start doing things differently to halt the speed of global warming. One of the broad ways to do that is called climate-smart agriculture (CSA).

What Is Climate-Smart Agriculture? 

Climate-smart agriculture uses a variety of techniques to increase the productivity levels of farmland while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and facilitating other positive changes to help the planet. For example, some ongoing projects falling under this umbrella focus on conserving water, reducing pesticides and promoting soil health and practicing agroforestry. 

 

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Environment

What Are the Objectives of Agricultural Policy and Why Do They Matter?

February 24, 2020
objectives of agricultural policy

Each year sees a new round of farm-based policies. Some laws are more effective than others, and not all meet expectations — however, the core objectives of agricultural policy matter. People are ultimately seeking better ways to run their farms and do business, and creating new rules can help.

Policies exist for everything from water management to native seed harvesting. Regulation is necessary for ensuring worker and animal wellness, proper cropping methods and much more. In an ideal world, a practical set of agricultural guidelines would keep operations running smoothly while putting all living beings as the top priorities. Until we reach that point, people will continue voicing their opinions about much-needed changes.

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Wildlife

The Importance of Animal Nutrition on the Farm

February 19, 2020
importance of animal nutrition

Running a farm is no easy feat. You might feel like your to-do list gets longer every day, but you’d never give up the joy you get from working your land and raising animals. It comes with a sense of pride that has fueled generations of families, cultivating small farms around the world.

Every farm has a slightly different purpose. You could grow a single crop and keep animals around for private use, like eggs and milk for your family. Animals could also be the sole purpose of your farm since they can make a significant profit if you raise them correctly.

If you have animals on your farm, don’t stop learning what you can do to help them. With the proper approach, you can feed your animals the food they need while maintaining or improving the sustainability of your farm. Here are five reasons why animal nutrition matters. 

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