Renewable Farming

One of the best soil-health resources we’ve seen is just a click away

The “Soil Health Resource Guide” gives you 76 colorful, practical pages on enhancing soil life — emphasizing cover crops to overcome soil problems like compaction, iron chlorosis and salinity. You can download a PDF copy at this link.

January 18, 2021   By Jerry Carlson — The Guide is compliments of GreenCover Seed in Bladen, Nebraska. Keith Berns, co-owner and sales manager, is also sending us printed copies to provide our clients  at an upcoming farmer seminar. 

We’re encouraged to give this Guide a boost because GreenCover Seed’s stated company goals align so closely with ours at Renewable Farming. Healthy soils, healthy people!Cover crops are an integral part of healing the damage from more than a century of extensive tillage across the Midwest and Plains. And since the 1950s, tillage problems have been compounded with rising rates of NPK fertilizers and toxic chemicals.

I remember from my Iowa State years in the 1950s the inscription engraved over the lofty north vestibule of the Memorial Union building: When tillage begins, other arts will follow. That sentence is part of an admonition by Daniel Webster: “Let us not forget that the cultivation of the earth is the most important labor of man. When tillage begins, other arts will follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of civilization.”

Historically, farmers have sometimes destroyed civilizations by degrading the soil which nourished them. Probably the most dramatic summary of that history is Dr. W. C. Lowdermilk’s legendary report based on an 18-month intensive study, Conquest of the Land Through 7,000 Years. He was an assistant chief of the U.S. Soil Conservation Service in 1938-39 when he personally traveled worldwide, then detailed his historical study of farmland use and abuse. I encourage you to download a PDF of that report as a motivator to learn all you can about cover crops and soil health.