STRAIGHT FROM THE FARMER'S MOUTH

(Well, from the Farmer's laptop technically.) Here's what agricultural producers around Alberta are doing with climate solutions to build successful and resilient farms and ranches.

Experimenting with No-Till Regenerative Agriculture

    I started my vegetable farm on a rented piece of land in the Red Deer River valley in the fall of 2010. I was a city kid who caught the farming bug. I traveled across Canada and abroad to learn hands-on about agriculture. I spent a summer in a tiny rural village in Kenya fascinated by traditional food production methods, spent two summers traveling to over two dozen farms in British Columbia, Alberta, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario, and participated in a full-season internship on a small family vegetable farm in Quebec. With no knowledge about food production prior to these experiences, my learning curve was exponential. I became familiar with field crops, beef, dairy, goat, sheep, pig, broiler, egg, honey, vegetable, and fruit production. By engaging in a diversity of production methods, I observed the impact these methods had on the plants and animals being produced. In general,

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Intercropping: Experimenting for Diversity

My farm is located in the brown soil zone of southeastern Alberta, near the hamlet of Hilda. It has been in my family since the early 1950s when my grandfather first purchased the land. It was formerly a mixed farm—grain and cattle. Today, my father and I manage a grain farm together, though we will probably consider integrating cattle back onto the land in the future. We are driven by a desire to correctly and effectively steward what we have been given by the Creator for however short a time we may have with the land, crops, equipment, buildings, families, and community. The five principles of soil health are a guide for us. We believe that it’s important to stay connected with these principles to keep on the path towards improved soil health and functionality. We run stripper headers and disc drills to try to keep as much soil armor

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Investing in Solar Energy for Tomorrow

My in-laws began Vaudet Dairy in Limoges, France in 1985. Their dream of expanding the dairy farm inspired them to move to Canada. In 1996, they came to Ferintosh, Alberta to make that dream a reality. After graduating from the Livestock Production course at Lakeland College, my husband, Thomas, came home to work on his family’s farm full-time. When we began dating 10 years ago, Thomas was already in discussion with his parents about taking over the farm, and it wasn’t long till we began to take on the adventure together. On average, we milk 90 cows with around 150 young stock, in addition to raising a small beef herd. We harvest four quarter-sections of land for feed. Thomas and I have four young children – who are ever so eager to help, but aren’t quite old enough to do so. Balancing family and farm can sometimes be problematic. With

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Regenerative Farming

In Conversation with Steve Kenyon: Climate Change and Regenerative Agriculture Steve Kenyon is a regenerative rancher, farmer, and advocate for “growing soil”. He runs Greener Pastures Ranching, a diverse family farm, with his wife, Amber, in Busby, Alberta. For part of his childhood, Steve grew up on a grain and cattle farm in Saskatchewan, just south of Lloydminster. He studied agriculture in college. After attending his first Allan Savory conference, focusing on holistic land management, he was inspired to apply sustainable principles to the way he farmed, and began practicing rotational grazing management. Early on, Steve also studied with the Ranching for Profit program, which helped him create a farm plan for environmental and economic sustainability. Steve and Amber focus mainly on custom grazing cattle on leased land using intensive rotational grazing management. In the summer, he manages 3000 acres for 1200 yearlings. In the winter, a reduced number of

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Hope Beneath Our Feet

Like any dying language, the remaining speakers are too often silent, or silenced. Should we choose to listen, we may hear their fluency through their tongues, but only the observant sees their language written on the land. This language is the relationship between humankind and Earth of a reciprocal kind – a relationship that models how living a human life can be a generative force and does not have to deplete the very entity necessary for life. Earth is our lifeline, yet it is the planet that is growing sick so economic health can be bolstered, the planet whose climate is unravelling into chaos because of unbridled greed and lack of foresight, the planet who sustains all life but whose pulse will grow weak should we continue living at her expense. Thick-tongued, clumsy speaker that I am, I understand that learning this language may be the most important task of

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What We Work On Around Climate Change

March 6th, 2018. Currently I am looking out at the record March snowfall in Calgary as I sit down to write some of the big ticket items our farm, Happiness By The Acre, has undertaken to tackle climate change. This bounty of moisture is almost enough to make one forget the last two years of drought on our land near Carstairs and the increase in extreme weather we’ve seen over the last decade or so. Every year it feels like the weather is more boom or bust, our on farm data collecting and that from Environment Canada agree. Things are changing. We are new to farming, this is my second career change, so we come to the land with a new and fresh relationship. Our faith moves us to a stewardship ethic, and to care for the gifts of land and life we have taken responsibility for. That forces us

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