Here’s a link to an idea-packed PowerPoint by Dr. Joel Gruver, Western Illinois University Associate Professor of Soil Science. He presented it at the Feb. 1 Organic Grains Conference in Champaign, IL. Yes — an organic conference right in the realm of the University of Illinois.
Feb. 5, 2018 — Dr. Gruver has packed into one presentation a wide array of biologically sound, soil-building and long-term profitable practices drawn from innovative farmers. It’s the essence of what we’d call a “Renewable Farming” show. He tags it with a new term: “Economics” — ecological techniques that make sense economically.
You can visit the Dropbox link at this link and begin clicking through the 53 slides with the arrows appearing at the bottom of the web page. Dr. Gruver provided his contact information for further questions: Office: 309-298-1215, cell 309-569-0817 and email firstname.lastname@example.org. Our research agronomist friend Jim Porterfield flagged our attention to the presentation. Especially interesting is a wide array of intercropping ideas: Not just corn and beans anymore.
In sharp contrast, the Wall Street Journal recently published a feature on how U.S. farming has become more specialized and thus more vulnerable to economic swings. It’s dramatized by charts; check it out at this link. (Hopefully the WSJ will allow you a freebie look at this feature without a subscription.)
The latest poster child for the mega-farm model gone awry is Stamp Farms LLC of Michigan, which farmed about 27,000 acres but represented to Wells Fargo that it operated 46,000. A DTN/Progressive Farmer website story by Todd Neeley Jan. 26 describes the crumbling of Stamp’s farming empire, including a grand jury indictment charging conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Neeley notes that “Top Producer magazine had featured the farm and Michael Stamp on the November 2012 cover as one of the publication’s top producers of the year — the same month Stamp filed for bankruptcy.”
Consolidation is also a fever among mega-corporations in agribusiness; the latest chatter is that ADM may acquire Bunge.