NRCS visits Steiner Field for soil building recommendations


NRCS agents Rudy Garcia and Dan Bloedel came by Steiner Field this morning to have a look at the operation & give me any recommendations they have. Rudy and Dan showed me a few interesting points that they noticed about the field, like how the edge of the fields that haven’t been mechanically disturbed in a long time and covered in leaves are in much better condition that the rows that I created last year. Although the rows are covered(vetch,rye,clover,etc) currently, they will need to be disturbed(broadfork) again this year, as the rows are going from 15 inches of usable area, to 30 inches going forward. Rudy & Dan recommended that in my field, I really should cover it entirely with a few cover crops that I am familiar with, like buckwheat, clovers, rye, winter wheat, hairy vetch, and I will most likely use some sudan grass or some other warm season grass. Rudy’s background in vegetable farming, where his family ran 7 acres of crops, where there was no/low tillage, incorporating diverse mixes of species(polyculture), and also adding the element of animal impact using goats & sheep. It turns out that Rudy’s family did something I have been thinking about, which is running a neighbors goats/sheep on the field for a day or maybe two(by the time they eat everything), as having these grazers is beneficial to completing the cycle of soil health(turning the plants into urea/manure). With a few changes in how we think of what a “farm should look like”, which has mostly been monoculture for the last generation or two, we can see highly productive farms producing healthy food and clean water with cover crops and cash crops living together.


farmer dan