Modern farming

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        I pulled this off a web site for Practical Farmers of Iowa.  In this
he seems to be saying many of the things we have discussed in this forum
many times.  I got there through Sal's web page.

IOWA   AUGUST 4, 1994
                                                       Clark BreDahl
(Editors' note: This is text from a presntation by Clark
BreDahl during the visit to Greenfield.  Clark farms and is
on the Neely-Kinyon Farm Project Committee.)
To share a vision, each of us must first have a vision of
our own; a vision of where we would like our business to be
a few years hence; a vision of what we would like our
community to look like, and a perspective as to where our
community will fit into the grand scheme of things years
down the road.  Finally, after we have planted those visions
clearly in our minds, we need a plan as to how we will
achieve our goals....Without a plan, our visions will never
become realities.

>From an agricultural perspective, life has perhaps changed
more in the past twenty years than it did in the previous
two hundred of our nation s existence.  And though
technology has been frequently mentioned as the culprit, I
think it has to be viewed as a two-edged sword that can
either help or hinder us.  One thing is certain.  Technology
will not go away.  If we do not use it, others will.

The key is getting technology and research to solve problems
for us, rather than create new ones.  It follows then that
to come up with the right answers, we must first ask the
right questions.  That is where a Shared Visions approach
can help.

When I survey the changes that have occurred in farming
since I came back to the area in 1974, I don t notice the
technological or mechanical differences nearly as much as I
do the structural changes.  When we talk about ninety
percent of all fresh vegetables consumed in the United
States now being grown in the San Juaquin Valley of
California, rather than on scattered farms throughout each
state in the Union, that is a fundamental, structural change
of overwhelming proportions.

When we talk about chicken surpassing pork and beef to
become the most popular meat in the U.S., and six huge
conglomerates producing seventy-five percent of all
consumption   and controlling all facets of production and
processing from hatch to retail meat counter   that is

When we talk about California taking over as the leading
dairy producing state, and over 50 percent of all dairy
production in this country now coming from herds of five
hundred head or more   that s fundamental.

How many farmers in Adair County still raise chickens?  How
many farmers in Adair County still milk cows?  And how many
of you came from farm homes like mine where forty years ago
the egg check and cream check used to provide the lion s
share of our family s spending money? That s fundamental

How many times in recent years have you heard someone say,
 Somebody s going to farm the land and raise the
livestock...What difference does it make who it is?   To me
it makes all the difference in the world regarding the
quality of life we in rural Iowa will have.  For us, people
and prosperity may be inseparable.  I think we will not have
one without the other.

If I am still a farmer 20 years from now   perhaps by some
stroke of luck even a wealthy farmer   but my wife has to
drive thirty miles for groceries, sixty miles to buy parts
for my tractor, twenty miles to the nearest church or
school, seventy-five miles to the nearest doctor, hospital
or movie theater, or five miles down the road to the nearest
neighbor s house, then our own personal financial success
will have been a mighty hollow victory.  If at that time the
local  retirement  home is the largest employer in town, as
it is already in some, we will know we have probably passed
the point of no return as a viable economic community.

Our federal government has struggled for fifty years to
implement policies to aid in the conservation of our soil
and water resources.  And regardless of how effective you
think those programs have been, it seems to me they hve
continually overlooked the most obvious solution   the pride
involved in maintaining families on the land.  I continually
marvel that where there is a plan to hand the land down from
generation to the next, there is also a plan, usually well
implemented, to hand the land down in as good or better
shape than it was received.

I heard it once said that,  the difference between family
farms and corporate agriculture is that corporations don t
have grandkids!   It s a simplistic definition, but it s a
profound impact statement.

No question about it, our most valuable crop or resource is
not our corn, beans, hogs or cattle, or even our rich
fertile soil.  It is our young people.  And unfortunately
they are also our biggest export.  We raise bright kids
around here.  We have good schools, dedicated teachers;
parents, friends and churches who teach real values, and
communities where a strong work ethic is ingrained early as
part of our heritage.

Talk about producing a product the market wants....The big
cities gobble up our best and brightest as fast as we can
ship them out   and usually pay a handsome premium for

I m convinced some of those young people would like to stay
or return to this area s farms and small business
communities.  Many, I think, would even take a substantial
pay cut to do it.  But when you tell a young couple that in
addition, they are going to have to each hold down two full
time jobs (as some economists have suggested as a route to
get into farming), the city usually wins the competition
hands down.

Environmental concerns and interest from outside as well as
within farming about sustainable agriculture could have a
tremendous impact on the survival of family farms and rural
communities.  I think we need to make our plans accordingly.

What started out as low input farming didn t stay that way
very long.  People came to quickly realize there is no such
thing as low input farming.  The best we can do is
substitute inputs: labor for capital, management for
capital, marketing skills for production volume.  The list
could be lengthy.  The exciting part is that there are
countless ways we can foster economic growth and efficiency
on family farms and in small communities without investing
millions of dollars at a time to do it.  Maybe it shows my
conservative streak, but I like that approach much better
than the more common corporate philosophy these days of
substituting capital for virtually every other tool in the
production chain.

I am very excited about the prospects for research,
education and demonstration at both the Neely and Armstrong
farms here in southwest Iowa.  We have strong individual and
community support, combined with Iowa State University s
technology and strong financial commitment.  These farms and
their accompanying facilities will be powerful tools to give
us all the right answers.  Hopefully a powerful vision for
the future of this area s farms and communities will first
help us ask all the right questions. |

  Donald E. Bowen           donb@cts.com
  Valley Center CA.         c_dbowen@qualcomm.com

  Software Engineer, woodworker, historian, beekeeper, farmboy
  model railroader, 1936 Farmall 12, 1966 Corvair CORSA 140 convertible
  1 wife, 3 kids, 2 acres, 2 cats, 2 dogs, ? projects,  no TV, 24 hours
From: danwinter@igc.apc.org (Dan Winter)
Newsgroups: rec.gardens
Subject: Soil Remineralization Forum
Message-ID: <1453300624@cdp>
Date: 28 Apr 94 01:05:00 GMT
Sender: Notesfile to Usenet Gateway <notes@igc.apc.org>
Lines: 152

From: Dan Winter <danwinter>

/* written   4pm   4/26/94   by David Yarrow  in  en.agriculture */
                   For Immediate Release
       Soil Remineralization and Sustainable Agriculture

   SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND, APRIL 14, 1994 -- An invitation has been 
issued to join a one-day forum to explore the potential of soil 
remineralization for sustainable agriculture.  The Forum will be held on 
May 24, 1994 (with a dinner the evening of May 23 at the USDA, 
Agricultural Research Service Center, Beltsville, Maryland.

   Natural stone and aggregate materials and fines produced from crushed 
stone, sand and gravel contain a broad spectrum of minerals and trace 
elements that can be applied to soils.  Potential benefits are increased 
yields and long term soil fertility that  is sustainable and 
ecologically sound.  There is also a potential for 
pest control, co-utilization with sewage sludge or wastewater technologies,
bioremediation of soils and other areas of sustainable development.  The 
effect on nutritional content of remineralized crops is an important 
factor in the examination of the value of remineralization.  The main 
emphasis of the one-day Forum will be on sustainable agriculture.

   These issues should greatly interest all those concerned with 
environmental and economic sustainability, especially for agriculture 
and forestry, creating long term soil fertility and enhancing the 
nutritional content of food.  The Forum will take a look at the results 
of remineralization around the world, as well as prior and current 
research.  The diverse audience will also explore its future potential, 
and the possibility of forming partnerships involving government, industry, 
farmers, and universities which will contribute to future exploration of 
remineralization and sustainability.   The effects on soils and plants 
will be examined along with effects on human nutrition.

   Perspectives on soil remineralization will come from those that have 
advocated remineralization; the aggregate and stone industries, the U.S. 
Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Bureau of Mines.  Speakers will 
come from the fields of agriculture, geology, forestry, nutrition, and 
the environment.  Presenters will include:
  *   Mr. Greg Watson, Northeast Director, Nature Conservancy
  *   Dr. Robert Bruck, State University, North Carolina
  *   Dr. William Fyfe, Pres., International Union of Geological Sciences
  *   Dr. Bernadette Marriott, National Research Council

   The Forum is being hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture/ 
Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Bureau of Mines, National Stone 
Association, and National Aggregates Association.  
For registration, contact 
Engineering Division of National Aggregates Association, 
900 Spring Street, Silver Spring, MD 20910; 301-587-1400, Fax: 301-585-4219.

    The Forum will be held in the main auditorium, Building 003, on the 
west side of US Route 1 just north of the Capital Beltway (I-95) on 
Circle Drive at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center.  The dinner 
the evening before (and lodging if needed) 
will be held at the nearby Holiday Inn, College Park, also located on 
the west side of US Route 1 at 10000 Baltimore Blvd.  Phone 301-345-6700 
for reservations.

                Conference sponsors are:
   U. S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service
     Dr. Ron Korcak
     Bldg. 004, Room 119, BARC-West, Beltsville, MD 20705
  U. S. Bureau of Mines
     Dr. Aldo Barsotti
     810 7th Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20241
  National Aggregates Association
     Mr. Richard Meininger
     900 Spring Street, Silver Spring, MD 20910
  National Stone Association
     Mr. Larry Quinlivan, Mr. Charles A. Pryor, Jr.
     1415 Elliot Place, NW, Washington, DC 20007

                      Workshop Agenda
                Forum on Soil Remineralization

                   Monday, May 23, 1994
                  Building 003, USDA/ARS

  Noon to 5:00 p.m. - Poster Set-Up

  5:00 to 7:00 p.m.  Registration, Holiday Inn, 10000 Baltimore Blvd.

  7:00 p.m.   Buffet Dinner at Holiday Inn
     Guest Speaker - Mr Greg Watson, The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA

                  Tuesday, May 24, 1994
     Auditorium, Bldg 003, USDA/ARS, Beltsville, Maryland

  8:00 - 10:00 a.m.            Session I
                 Soil Remineralization - An Overview
                      Moderator - Dr. Ron Korcak

  8:00  Welcome

  8:10 - 8:20      Goals of the Workshop
         Dr. Ron Korcak
         Fruit Lab., USDA/ARS, Beltsville, MD

  8:20 - 8:50  Soil Remineralization Around the World
         Ms. Joanna Campe
         Editor, Remineralize the Earth, Northampton, MA

  8:50 - 9:05      The Aggregates Industry 
         Mr. Rick Meininger
         Vice Pres. of Research, National Aggregates Asso., Silver Spring, MD

  9:05 - 9:20      Industry/Association Interactions
         Mr. Robert Able
         Chair, Remineralization Task Force, NAA, Collins, NY

  10:00 - 10:30      Break

  10:30 - Noon                Session II
              Remineralization in Agriculture & Forestry
                   Moderator: Mr. Rick Meininger

  10:30 - 10:45      Soil/Plant Interactions
         Dr. Ron Korcak
         USDA/ARS Fruit Lab, Beltsville, MD

  10:45 - 11:10  Use of Mega Industrial Byproducts in Remineralization
         Dr. William Fyfe
         Dept. of Geology, Univ. Western Ontario, London, Ontario

  11:10 - 11:35      Soil Remineralization and Forestry 
         Dr. Robert Bruck
         Office of Outreach & Extension, NC State University, Raleigh, NC

  11:35 - Noon      Sustainability: A Geologists Perspective 
         Dr. Ward Chesworth
         Land Resource Sci. Dept., Univ. of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario

  Noon          Lunch

  1:15 - 3:00 p.m.             Session III
                   Diversity and Remineralization
                   Moderator: Mr. Larry Quinlivan

  1:15 - 1:40  Effects of Rock Dust on Soil Microbiology & Plant Nutrition
         Dr. David Miller
         Biology Department, Oberlin College, Ohio

  1:40 - 2:05     Microbial Realm in Relation to Rock Powder Blends
         Mr. Bruce Tainio
         Tainio Techniques & Technologies, Cheney, Washington

  2:05 - 2:30      Potential Benefit of Soil Remineralization:
                      Selenium in Human Nutrition as a Model
         Dr. Orville Levander
         Vitamin & Mineral Nutrition Lab, Beltsville, MD

  2:30 - 2:55      Geophagy and Human Nutrition
         Dr. Bernadette Marriott
         National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC

  3:00 - 4:00 p.m.      Break & Posters

                                Session IV
                        Posters - Case Histories

  4:00 - 5:00                   Session V
                          Conference Synopsis
                      Moderator: Dr. Aldo Barsotti

  4:00 - 4:20      Synopsis & Needs - An Industry Perspective
         Mr.Jim Schmitt
         Granite Rock Co., Watsonville, CA

  4:20 - 4:40      Research Needs
         Dr. W. D. Kemper
         National Program Staff, USDA/ARS, Beltsville, MD

  4:40 - 5:00      General Questions and Answers

  5:15 - 6:15      Planning Task Group and Speakers

  + - - - - - - - - C O M M E N T A R Y- - - - - - - - - - - +
   The impetus which gave rise to this Forum was a 30-page proposal I 
prepared in June 1992 for Mr. Robert Able of Gernatt Gravel Co., largest 
gravel producer in NYS.  Mr. Able presented the proposal to the National 
Aggregates Assoc., which enthusiastically adopted it.  Then the USDA, 
Bureau of Mines, National Stone Assoc. got excited and signed on to the 
   So, two years later will see the first national level conference on 
the use of finely ground rock powders as an amendment to regenerate worn 
out farm and forest soils.  For the first time a gathering of PhD's, 
bureaucrats, industry reps, and eco-activists will review the existing 
information on this essential bioremediation process and consider the 
next steps for its broad scale application to the environment.
   Unfortunately I won't be there.  In August 1992 I was electrocuted by 
6000 volts and fell 15 feet to break my back.   Totally broke, confined 
to bed and wheelchair, consigned to a medical trash can, and in daily 
pain, I can't attend to see what will bec ome of my initiative.
  + - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - +
  -- for a green and peaceful planet,
       David Yarrow, turtle from Salt Lake
       1227 Dorset St., So. Burlington, VT 05403; 802-865-1218
                "be earthwise, not clockwise"