Posted by: Mary Simpson | February 20, 2011

Gary Zimmer speaks at Shedden

Gary Zimmer recently returned to the Shedden community complete to speak about soils.  A note from his web-site sums up his talk nicely:

Q: How can I measure success?

A: Many ways. With technology, we can measure the numbers. Soils tests yield measurable numbers. A penetrometer measures soil condition. A refractometer measures plant health. But more important, with your farmer’s common sense and stewardship ethic, you smell it when you work the soil and inhale that earthy aroma resulting from the respiration of more than 1,000 pounds per acre of actinomycetes. You feel it by digging. Healthy soil is crumbly to the touch. Get on your hands and knees and count your “earthworm herd.” Your soil stays in place, rather than wash downstream. You see it in the rich darkness and in the way your soil absorbs up to twice its weight in water. You see fewer weeds, fewer insects, and fewer diseases. You see it in the sheen of your animals’ hair coat, bright eyes, healthy demeanor, high productivity and reproductive efficiency. You stop chasing problems with a needle and a sprayer. You’ll taste the difference in the sweetness of your corn and alfalfa and the flavor of your beef, pork, lamb, poultry or whatever animal you produce. Very important, you see it in your positive cash flow, improved net income, and increasing asset value that means a better retirement. And, lastly, you measure your success in pride and peace of mind — knowing you’ll leave your farm in better condition than when you came; knowing you didn’t exploit your land, but borrowed it for a short time and improved it for the next generation.

 

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