2021 Eco-Ag Conference Audio Complete Set (MP3s)
Recorded live at the 2021 Eco-Ag Conference & Trade Show in Covington, Kentucky, Dec. 6-9, 2021.
Purchase 34 innovative, practical and useful sessions lasting more than 40 hours from the standard in soil health education, the Eco-Ag Conference. We celebrated the 50th anniversary of Acres U.S.A. with detailed, practical workshops and keynote speeches that helps move the eco-agriculture industry into the mainstream.
All files come in MP3 formats and were recorded on site and live in Covington, Kentucky, Dec. 6-9, 2021.
Audio • 34 tracks • Downloadable MP3 files after checkout
Get the full video replay at Eco-Ag U Online: http://www.acresusa.com/EcoAg21
Includes the following:
4401-We are the Earth and the Earth is Us
Dr. Fred Provenza, Behavioral Ecologist and Author
Change is constant in our lives, and in nature. Take a step back during this keynote and reflect on how change can transform us for the better, and how good can come out of the challenges we face today. Hear Fred Provenza, a researcher, author and eco-agriculture leader, connect the dots between why we are trying to change the way we farm and grow pastures and raise animals to work more closely with nature. Learn why it hurts us to see nature damaged, why it heals us to experience true wilderness, and walk away with an amazement about how our natural world feeds us, both physically and spiritually. Fred Provenza will eloquently detail how, “Over generations, plants and animals become intimately linked with the landscapes they inhabit,” he says. “There are two spiritual dangers in severing those linkages. One is assuming food comes from the grocery and medicine comes from the pharmacy. The other is forgetting we are members of nature’s communities. ... Growing and eating plants and animals is the experience of at-one-ness and endless transformation.”
4402-Unraveling Our Dependence on Chemical Agriculture
Will Harris & Jenni Harris, White Oak Pastures
If you need a big ol’ dose of truth and pragmatism, this keynote talk is perfect for you, as nobody gets to the heart of the regenerative farming and ranching movement faster than the Harris family, which has helped pioneer the ways to make nontoxic farming profitable, and joyful. Will Harris is a fourth-generation cattleman, who tends the same land that his great-grandfather settled in Bluffton, Georgia. Jenni Harris, Will’s daughter and director of marketing for White Oak Pastures, will join her father for an authentic look at how they built their operation, the challenges of creating a regenerative operation within a conventionally-dominated food system, how to build bridges between generations of farmers, the importance of communicating to consumers, and more.
4403-A Healthy Future: Building Soil, Plant, Human and Mental Health as a Community
Dr. Nasha Winters, John Kempf, Nicole Masters, Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin
Hosted by Sarah Day Levesque
As Acres U.S.A. celebrates our 50th anniversary, we’ve gathered leaders from across our community to take a look ahead at the next 50 years of building a healthy farming and food system. In this dynamic conversation these leaders will take a look at the lessons they’ve learned in their journeys so far, at how the vitality of our food system depends deeply on the health of soil, plants, humans and communities, and at what they see as key to creating continued positive change for the next 50 years.
4404-Setting Your Farm Business on a Firm Foundation
What is your mission in life? How about in farming? Success in farming relies on so many factors, but none more critical than the foundation upon which you build your business. This session will start where every new enterprise or operation begins: with a dream. The process of capturing that dream, then using it to inform foundational values, define your mission, and align your goals is both exciting and important, whether you are an established operation or still working towards your farm dream.
4405-Soil Conditioning for Vegetable Crops
When it comes down to consumer choice, what makes the most desirable vegetables at the market? Aaron Weaver will show you how to develop your soil health to deliver nutrient dense, beautiful food for market that will help you win over customers time and time again. You’ll learn how to ensure every year your soil health is improving, and that is based on what you feed the soil, and how little you disturb it. Learn real management techniques to improve your vegetable growing operation.
4406-Growing Life: Maximizing Solar Energy
Committing to a nontoxic, regenerative farming program might not be an easy decision. But once you commit, what comes next? Join Regeneration International’s André Leu, who will lead students in creating a regenerative farming/ranching system. He starts with photosynthesis, the basis of nearly all the compounds needed to support life. Many of these compounds produced in plant leaves are excreted by the roots to feed the soil microbiome to build soil health and fertility. Logically, the greater the amount of solar energy captured by maximizing photosynthesis, the greater the productivity of the farming ecosystem.
4407-Soil Biology & the Carbon Cycle
In this session, farmer and author Jesse Frost discusses what growers need to know and understand about the carbon cycle and the role soil biology plays in that cycle. Attendees will also learn the principles that lead to maximizing the carbon cycle in a commercial fruit, flower, and vegetable production context.
Building soil health builds resiliency into your farming system. There is no easy definition or easy path to soil health. Farms are complex systems, and it takes trial and error to find the best practices that will build soil health on your farm. However, there are some tried and true practices that build organic matter, balance minerals, and promote healthy soil microbes. We’ll dig into what those key practices are, the science behind why they work, and talk through some examples from farms that have implemented biological farming practices with a lot of success. We’ll also talk through why building soil carbon can be a lucrative venture beyond just building resilience and sustainability on your farm.
4409-Regenerative Poultry Production Systems
Scaling up your chicken operation to become a commercial operation can be difficult. Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin’s system of integrating poultry into your crop and pasture operation is spreading around the world because it helps farmers see clear, humane paths forward and to reach the larger markets. He brings an indigenous-based approach to putting poultry back into its natural environment and to the business development process for aggregating and scaling the collective impact of small farms for a new and regenerative industry. In this workshop, he will lay out the regenerative poultry production protocol and will incorporate the larger-scale planning underway at the Regenerative Agriculture Alliance to scale up this system across regions in the U.S. and internationally.
4410-Water Management for All Farms
More and more, the ability to manage and control water on your operation can turn into a true economic boon. Learn from practical permaculture expert Mark Shepard, author of Restoration Agriculture and Water for Any Farm, who will demonstrate real ways you can use your natural terrain features to manage, store and control the flow of water. Why is this important? From delivering nutrients to critical areas, to ensuring you are not losing water to unneeded runoff, water can be an essential tool that goes well beyond just feeding crops. Especially in times of drought, make sure you have your land set up for maximum efficiency of your water storage system.
4411-Building Microbial Communities
Dr. Judith Fitzpatrick
Join Dr. Fitzpatrick for a discussion of the role soil microbes play in soil biology. Learn about the role microbes play in plant health, plant immunity, soil structure, and soil carbon content. Explore the difficulties of moving from a low microbial content soil — Yes, the chicken and the egg debate — without plant life you cannot grow microbes and without microbes you cannot grow plants. See why the solution to re-growing soil health is so complex and needs multiple solutions.
4412-Diversifying Your Farm Through Livestock Integration
Diversity is a linchpin concept for regenerative agriculture, allowing farmers to mitigate risk, augment income streams, and capitalize on symbiotic relationships. Both ecological and economic benefits are ripe for the harvest, yet animal agriculture is often completely overlooked by fruit, produce and grain growers, and plenty of single-enterprise livestock ranchers stand to benefit from multi-species synergies as well. Discuss how to leverage animal impact within your existing operation and learn how to properly account for multiple income streams by applying the principle of diversity through livestock integration.
4413-Regenerative Hemp in 2021
Success with hemp is no get-rich-quick scheme. The hemp industry is emerging from its infancy and starting to mature. As the market sorts out the true professionals from the short-term prospectors, the goal for all successful hemp farmer/entrepreneurs is to create high-quality products, which start with a high-quality harvest — and that’s thanks to regenerative practices. Sequestering carbon results in the best hemp! Doug Fine, educator, regenerative hemp farmer and author of the bestseller American Hemp Farmer, will lead a session on the realities of cultivating top-shelf hemp from seed to market. He discusses how to achieve success in a competitive marketplace, and how his hemp projects (on all sides of the pant) fit into an overall regenerative system on his Funky Butte Ranch in New Mexico. (Recorded live for CSPAN)
4414-Using Soil Tests to Manage a Healthy Operation
Nobody teaches biological farming systems quite like Gary Zimmer, whose electric style will leave your notebook full and your energy levels on high. Soil nutrient tests are a piece of the puzzle — not the whole. They give us clues to the best starting point on the path to soil resilience and producing nutrient-rich high yielding crops. Soil health tests, plant tissue tests, and sap tests also have their place. They help inform management decisions, as well as help determine which practices are needed, including controlled tillage, cover crops and using carbon-based fertilizer, etc. Come and learn about an extreme soil management system we are following on our own farm; the results are unbelievable.
4415-Animal Welfare & Regenerative Ag: Advancing the Conversation
Dr. Judith McGeary
The debates over the human health, animal welfare, and climate impacts of animal agriculture, as well as veganism and lab-based meats, are weakening the regenerative agriculture movement, both economically and politically. But they don’t have to. Where are the flaws in the arguments against animal agriculture — and how do we bring people together around truly holistic solutions? What are the key messages for fellow food producers? And what are they key messages for consumers?
4416-Bringing Agroforestry into Your Operation
Learn from the professionals at the Savannah Institute, an ecological based nonprofit that helps restore agroforestry techniques into areas that have long forgotten it. You will learn in this session how farmers and ranchers around the country are using agroforestry to increase their land values, diversify their crops, create natural shade and fence lines for livestock management, decrease erosion and soil loss, add biodiversity and much, much more.
4417-Using Cover Crops in Organic Vegetable Systems
Dr. Kristie Wendelberger
Cover crops improve overall health in organic vegetable systems. Utilizing cover crops during fallow periods have been shown to improve soil health, help insect and disease control, and improve weed management. Species of cover crop used, seeding rate, and termination technique play a large role in the effectiveness of your cover crop. Dr. Kristie Wendelberger will share insights from Rodale Institute’s and other’s research on ways to get the most out of your cover crop.
4418-Is Mobile THE Solution for America’s Meat Processing Bottleneck?
Angela Blatt, Paul Dorrance, Rachel Tayse
Demand for local meat continues to grow, but bottlenecks in the processing chain inhibit market opportunities for livestock farmers across the country. Innovative ideas are required to address these issues, which could include mobile processing. However, state-level regulatory inconsistencies sometimes stand in the way of progress, and mobile may not represent the “silver bullet” solution. Learn about what works, what doesn’t, lessons learned, needed policy changes gleaned from a recent needs assessment survey in Ohio and Central Appalachia and site visits to both the oldest and newest mobile slaughter facilities in the country. Add your voice to this critical conversation and evaluate if mobile processing is the solution that is right for you!
4419-Total Soil Health: The Importance of Soil Organic Matter and Mineral Balance
Soil organic matter is the basis of soil health as it is critical for water holding capacity, nutrient storage, especially nitrogen, a healthy and biodiverse soil microbiome as well as an open and well-drained structure that assists root growth. Equally important is good mineral balance as maximum yield is not determined by the nutrients with the highest levels. It is determined by the nutrients at the lowest levels as deficiencies reduce yields. Correcting deficiencies and maintaining good levels of soil organic matter are essential to achieve high yields and resilience to pests, diseases and adverse weather.
4420-What, How and Why Compost Quality Matters for Economic Results
Edwin Blosser, the principal behind Midwest Bio-Systems soil health. Through those workshops, Blosser has become world-renowned for his specific composting systems, which are designed to help large-scale commercial farmers save money on input costs by using smart, organic methods. Not all compost is created equal, Blosser will teach, while showing students how to determine the right strategy for implementing a composting program, and what to expect for the ever-important ROI.
4421-Safely Managing DC Current & Livestock
Dr. Paul Dettloff
Grounded AC current produced by electric utilities returns to its source (substations) by way of the earth. The returning current energy is in the form of DC current. This returns miles by OHMs law, the path of least resistance. What happens when dry, sandy gravel laden earth with 5 OHMs resistance has an equipotential plane dairy set up with rerod having only 2 OHMs resistance, and the current seeks out the 2 OHM facility? What happens when a metal water trough is close to a grounded fencer? When (EMFs) an electro-magnetic field, in the air, puts DC current onto anything that will conduct electricity Many more scenarios are to be covered and discussed.
4422-Regenerative Organic No-Till at Scale
Rick Clark is a fifth-generation farmer from Williamsport, Indiana, and has successfully transitioned his farm away from toxic agriculture and into a new model. In this talk, Clark will talk about his no-tillage system — which is 100% no-till —and how it integrates with his cover crop and non-GMO seed sourcing. The top driver for his change was human health, which then helped him focus on how he built his innovative farming system, which he believes will be sustainable for generations in the future.
4423-Managing Plant Disease
Dr. Don Huber
Plant diseases are a major limitation to improved production efficiency and crop quality as they reduce nutrient availability, uptake, distribution, or utilization by the plant. Disease symptoms frequently reflect the altered nutritional status of the plant, but it’s not always easy to determine what to do once this fact is discovered. Dr. Don Huber updates his classic talk with the latest information about managing plant disease without using harmful chemicals. Dr. Huber’s research has been critical to connect human health and soil health; if you have not been to a Dr. Huber talk, you have missed out on something special.
4424-Human Health Resiliency from Farm to Hospital
Dr. Nasha Winters
Dr. Nasha Winters, author of The Metabolic Approach to Cancer, returns to the Eco-Ag Conference to update her popular talk. As her years of research has shown, preparing the human body to prevent and fight chronic disease — cancer and diabetes are two examples she uses — means eating right, ignoring a lot of popular opinion and treating processed sugars like the addictive, diseasecausing substances they are. Most who attend a Dr. Winters session will be able to connect how building resilient humans is no different than how nature builds resilience within itself, and how much we can learn from observing it.
4425-Building Back Resilient Agriculture Communities
The demise of family farms, pollution of air and water with agricultural waste, and decaying rural communities are all legacies of agricultural industrialization. Once thriving, vibrant farming communities have been transformed into blighted rural areas. However, there is a growing public awareness that something is fundamentally wrong with today’s agri-food system. This concern has been reflected in the emergence of organic and local foods movements and in the resurgence of regenerative agriculture. To succeed, alternative ways of farming must avoid the pitfalls of industrial agriculture and do the things it has failed to do. And if they succeed, they can provide an ecological, social, and economic foundation upon which to build back resilient agricultural communities.
4426-Regenerative Soil Health with Foliar Sprays
We most often think of using foliar applications to address nutrient deficiencies, or to increase yields in the short term. When well-designed, foliar applications are integrated into a complete agronomic system, they can have a more pronounced impact on regenerating soil health than almost any other tool. In this presentation, John will describe the impact foliar applications can have on soil health and nutrient availability.
4427-Food for Children’s Mental Health: What are the Links?
Dr. Michelle Perro
Dr. Perro will review today’s neurologic and mental health landscape of the average American child. She will share the key drivers affecting our children’s well-being a focus on their mental health, how pesticide inputs in our food interact with their microbiome, how microbes affect children’s brain health, and tips to regain their health via food-as-medicine guidelines/neuro-nutrition with a focus on a root-cause analysis.
4428-Generational Transitions: Thriving in the Time of Legacy
Marty Travis, owner of the Spence Farm in Illinois, shares how his family has stayed on their farm since they settled the land in 1830. While some of us may think about how to leave our farm to the next generation, in this workshop we will explore how to begin that transition early on and set everyone up for meaningful success. If we wait till the end of one generation to begin planning and sharing, we miss out on all the opportunities to grow our farm and our family relationships. Come and explore what the present and future can be. Marty is the author of My Farmer, My Customer.
4429-A Systems Approach to Beneficial Plant-Insect Communications
Dr. W. Joe Lewis
Cotton plants attacked by bollworm/budworm caterpillars, which in turn are attacked by beneficial parasitic wasps, have served as models for our studies. An array of remarkable mechanisms, such as chemical signaling, learning and other elegant processes were found to govern these interactions and will be described. Truly satisfactory solutions to pest problems will require understanding and promoting naturally occurring biological agents and other inherent strengths as components of total agricultural ecosystems. Such pest management strategies should always start with the question ‘‘Why is the pest a pest?’’ and address underlying weaknesses that have allowed organisms to reach pest status. These principles along with demonstrations with cooperative growers will be discussed.
4430-Developing a Farmer’s Mindset
Save at least some of your energy for this talk, as Nicole Masters will bring it all home late in the day on Thursday with a compelling talk about the right mindset to succeed in today’s agriculture industry. No longer is convention a comfortable place to set your strategy, so where should you be? Masters, an author, consultant and instructor, will lead a group in a discussion about the nature of change, how to build confidence in strategy shifts, tactics for problem solving without synthetic crutches, building communities of knowledge and more. You will leave this session thinking differently — a huge advantage shared by today’s most successful farmers and ranchers.
4431-Applying Indigenous Thinking to Farming
Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin will lead this fascinating talk about how indigenous thinking to help you understand how decolonizing your own mindset —finding true sustainability and balance with your approach to farming and ranching — will benefit your business, your community and your personal well being. Regi, as he’s known to his friends, will speak about how he is using these principles to start a new instructional farm in Minnesota.
4432-Applied Weed Ecology: Why Weeds Grow, Soil Indicators, and How to Offset a Weedy Succession
Farmers see weeds in their crop fields every year which brings up a lot of questions. This workshop will explore applied weed ecology, why weeds grow, plant ecological succession, influence of fungal-to-bacterial soil-food-web succession, weeds as indicators of soil conditions, weeds as nutrient accumulators, weeds for extracting liquid manures & probiotic ferments, and farm management strategies such as living mulch cover crops to offset a weedy succession.
4433-The Power of the Plate: The Soil/Human Health Connection
We take care of our gut microbiome with probiotics, healthy foods, and exercise. But what about the soil microbiome? Rodale Institute Chief Impact Officer Jeff Tkach discusses the immediate connection between the health of the soil and the health of our bodies, and the ways in which transitioning to a regenerative organic food system may be a win-win-win for farmers, consumers, and the planet.
4434-Delight Your Buyers On All Channels
Barn2Door is delighted to work with thousands of farmers in all 50 states. During this presentation, you will hear from Barn2Door CEO Janelle Maiocco as she discusses the evolving expectations of buyers. Outlining a step-by-step guide to help farmers address buyers’ needs, Janelle will share the tools and tactics top-performing farmers across the country use to build resilient business models.
My Farmer, My Customer
New! Learn from Marty Travis's experiences converting the Spence Farm into one of the most successful farming co-ops in the United States today.