On a recent summer day, Timothy Rhodd fearlessly opened the lid on a box of bees and pointed out the hive’s complicated systems.
“It’s pretty cool once you start learning what these insects do for the whole world. And they’re dying and it’s agriculture that’s causing it,” said Rhodd, the chairman of the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska.
Not only do the bees produce honey that is sold, but the tribe’s agricultural operation, Ioway Farms, also uses the bees to pollinate its orchard. It’s all part of the work the tribal nation is doing to better farm the land. Rhodd said just a few years ago they used the same row cropping practices as the rest of the Midwest.
“What folks didn’t see was the financials of our operation. We were spiraling downwards,” Rhodd said. “Financially we weren’t a profitable farming operation, and it’s due to the mindsets that’s been instilled in us.”
Read more at Nebraska Public Media
The state’s nitrate-in-groundwater problem is growing worse, especially in parts of northeast, central and southeast Nebraska. The state median nitrate level doubled between 1978 and 2019.
But some Nebraska farmers and researchers are fighting back with technology. They are embracing new methods that can reduce nitrate leaching into groundwater, improve their soil’s health and also, they say, boost the bottom line.
Some farmers interviewed by the Flatwater Free Press have completely switched over to “regenerative agriculture”, a farming approach focusing on restoration of the environment, which advocates say also ultimately boosts farm productivity.
Others are marrying traditional farming with precision technologies like soil testing and remote sensing, or using more efficient equipment like the Knuths do.
Read more at The Flatwater Free Press
Farmers and leaders from more than 20 progressive agricultural groups gathered this week to march on the U.S. Capitol and promote climate solutions and underserved producers as priority issues for lawmakers in the upcoming farm bill.
“As farmers, we are close to the land. We love the land. We understand the sanctity and the sacredness of water. We understand the essence of life,” said Duane “Chili” Yazzie, a regenerative farmer in New Mexico and member of Shiprock Chapter of the Navajo Nation, to dozens of demonstrators at Freedom Plaza Tuesday.
“We demand that we — as small farmers, as the BIPOC farmers, as the farmers that need a helping hand — must have the provisions in the farm bill that make sense to us.”
Read more at The Nebraska Examiner
In this episode, we’re joined by the team at GC Resolve to discuss the 2023 farm bill, and why it’s such a big deal. What can consumers do to impact how the farm bill is written?
This conversation tackles some of the issues around how the farm bills are structured and geared, and how despite constant conversations around the idea of supporting small farmers, little is done to actually support small farmers in the way farm insurance is structured, just for one example.
Listen to the entire podcast at Poor Prole’s Almanac
The Winnebago tribe owns 30,000 acres of fertile land in northeast Nebraska. Growing up on the reservation there, Aaron Lapointe noticed the tribe leased most of it to non-Native farmers. With an eye toward reclaiming that land, he enrolled in the college of agriculture and natural resources at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and landed an internship at Ho-Chunk Farms — one of many for-profit companies the Winnebago tribe owns. When he graduated in 2016, Lapointe knew he wanted to return. Today, he runs the company. He has expanded the operation to 6,200 acres and incorporated cover-cropping, no-till, and other regenerative practices. “One of our main goals is to maintain the fertility of our tribal soils,” says Lapointe. “And not only maintain, but build them to make sure that our land is still going to be here for generations to come.”
Click to read the article at Grist!