by Kathy Harris
Texas panhandle farmers began filing in early for the March 2nd Crop and Soils workshop featuring Regenerative Ag’s ‘rock stars’ Gabe Brown and Ray Archuleta. Many of the 114 attendees lingered well past the last session, excited and involved in interesting discussions on how to move forward and apply the information they’d learned to the nearly 400,000 acres they collectively manage.
Archuleta, in his characteristically enthusiastic way, started off the day with several demos showing the value and importance of soil biology, sharing his passion for soil health and what we, as stewards of the land, can do to work with nature. He and Gabe tag-teamed the presentations all day, building on each other’s knowledge and experience to show real life examples of using no-till, multi-species cover crops, and grazing animals to build health in the soil while reducing input costs. Research data from Gabe’s ranch, and comparisons with neighbor lands, lent proof of how soil health translates to better water capture, increased production and/or crop quality, and increased profit margins and per acre income.
Gabe also talked about how the focus among large food companies is shifting to interest in nutrient density. New technology that allows a quick and easy ‘reading’ of food nutrition will be a ‘game changer’, said Brown. He challenged farmers to start now and begin addressing soil health so they can be on the front line of producing more nutrient dense crops.
The last session of the day was a break out session where Gabe talked to producers interested in direct marketing and multiple enterprises. Ray met with a group of producers who have been applying some of these no-till and cover cropping practices to discuss what works in the Panhandle region.
But the day didn’t end there, as smaller subgroups gathered over supper to discuss how they could work together, share knowledge and support each other’s learning going forward. The Texas Panhandle Soil Health Practitioners Facebook group, created by Timothy Ingalls of The Tecovas Foundation, is one way for Panhandle area producers to stay in touch and support each other.
Additionally, another workshop called Ranching 2018 – Managing in Tough Times is scheduled for May 15-16 in Wheeler, TX on Grazing and Marketing Cattle featuring world reknowned Ian Mitchell-Innes, Wally Olson’s Sell-Buy Marketing, and adaptive, high-density, multi-paddock graziers from Birdwell and Clark Ranch.
Thanks to The Tecovas Foundation for funding this event, and for their enthusiasm and support for the regenerative agriculture movement in the Texas Panhandle.
This article, published on the front page of the Hereford Brand newspaper, provides additional details about the event.
A Few Videos From the Event
Gabe Brown: Mimic Nature
Gabe Brown: The Importance of Holistic Management
Gabe Brown: Paying Producers for Nutrient Density
Gabe Brown: Capturing More Water
Ray Archuleta: Mismanaged Disturbances Destroy the System
Ray Archuleta: Plants Feed the Soil
Gabe Brown: Results After Eliminating Synthetic Fertilizer
Gabe Brown: Fungi and Holistic Thining
Gabe Brown: Cover Crops and Soil Temperature
Gabe Brown: Plant Diversity is Critical
|% of those who responded|
|Gained understanding soil biology and ecosystem process effectiveness||81%|
|Gained knowledge in how to capture water on your land and build drought-resistant soil||78%|
|Gained knowledge in how to build the productivity of your soils||82%|
|Gained knowledge in cropping strategies that yeild results||77%|
|Gained knowledge in integrating livestock to improve your soil health and build drought-resistant soil||76%|
|Gained knowledge in managing your land for long term financial profitability||70%|
|Gained understanding in the value of diversity for soil health||74%|
|Intend to change management practices/apply ideas learned in this event||96%|
|Satisfaction (1=Unacceptable, 2=OK, 3=Good, 4=Excellent)||3.8|
|% of participants who reported overall satisfaction of the event||100%|
This program is made possible thanks to the generous funding from The Tecovas Foundation.
Thanks to Rick Auckerman of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Deaf Smith County for hosting this event, and JD Ragland, of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Randall County for assisting.
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