Saturday, September 2, 2023

Farmers Adapting to The Growing Pattern of Extreme Weather

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Sustainability, Agriculture, Global Change, Climate Change

Ed Hessler

--It (farming) seems like a constant challenge with the weather. But I have a hard time blaming Mother Nature for it. That's her job. And it's our job to deal with it --Zack Koscielny, Farmer, Green Beach Farm, Strathclair, Manitoba (Star Tribune, July 2, 2022)

In a story reprinted in the Star Tribune on July 2, Sara Miller Llana and Stephanie Hanes for the Christian Science Monitor with a contribution on a Minnesota family who practices another form of this farming by Star Tribune reporter Gail Rosenblum write about the nature of that  "job" and what the Kossicielny family (son, father and mother, 4th generation farmers) is doing, "instead of all this 'woe is me' stuff, as son Zack Kosscielny. put it. He thinks "farmers have such an opportunity if the magae land properly and stop fighting Mother Nature."

The family has faced "successive dry spells", a "major spring blizzard...flooding in the Red River Valley" which "brought unseasonably cold, damp weather that has delayed planting across the province." The family has chosen to intercrop, pasture pigs and chickens outdoors where calves are now born rather than in a barn, rotational grazing, cover cropping "or even growing trees in pastures.". All this goes under the general rubric of "regenerative agriculture".

Zack Koscielny "grew up ecologically minded" and "after earning a degree in agroecology at the University of Manitoba, he had no intention of going into monoculture-style grain production." He now runs "800 acres that have seen Timothy grass and a variety of vetches return. With big cracks forming on his hills last year, the rains this year are not replenished by 'any stretch,' he says. "'But we're just surprised how much progress we've made. And even with dry conditions we've added animals every year of the drought..'"

Reporter Gail Rosenbaum highlights another aspect of permaculture. Anne and Peter Schwagerl of Browns Valley, MN plant "Kernza, a perennial wheat that will make their soil more resilient to erosion." It, as Anne Schwager said, "provides an armor for the soil. It's like a cousin to wheat, but you don't have to work the ground."

The reporting includes more details on this way of agriculture and I urge you to read it in full if you can. It is as as you would suspect behind a subscription wall. Here is the report published in another outlet.

In addition, the  reporters call attention to the Manitoba Forage & Grassland Association Conference in November on regenerative agriculture" on the practices and the questions they and climate change raise for agriculture in the near and long-term future.


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