This guy to my right...is known in certain circles as "The Godfather of Regenerative Agriculture". You may have seen this meme a time or two. Kelly and I had the honor of flying into Columbus Ohio late last Monday night for the Brandt Farm Field Day on Wednesday.
We were privileged to spend the day with David, his son Jay, daughter in law Ann and 2 of their sons Chris and Isaac. I am so grateful that we came to Ohio a day early, the experience of being in David's company is truly out of this world. We spent the day touring his fields and talking all things living soil.
David was so gracious to give us the grand tour of his 50+ years of No-till fields, the soil structure through No-tillage and cover crops is really something to witness. We came home with #soilgoals. We want to build soil structure, maximize water infiltration, capture carbon, feed the soil biology and build a healthy ecosystem where we are raising our family. We know this does not happen overnight and we need to be patient and have the resiliency to endure what ever Mother Nature brings our way on any given year. Brandts farm is an example of that. That's what we are doing with Guardian Grains. Creating a traceable and transparent food supply from our farm to your fork.
David helping us build an IMOS™ brewer to demonstrate aerobic biology during field day
5 years ago after we had weened our soils off of synthetic fertilizers( we have never used animal manures) Kelly decided he wanted to learn how to ramp up the biology in our soils to help our plants feed themselves. We had seen it work(this year will be year 10 fertilizer free for some of our fields)but in 2019 only just discovered the Rhizophagy Cycle by Dr. James White out of Rutgers University. FINALLY we had science behind how our plants were feeding themselves and how we were growing a crop with no applied fertilizers! This solidified our belief in what we had been witnessing in the fields which was: if we dont apply nutrients, plants will lean on soil biology to make nutrients available from the soil. ACTUALLY, the plants consume WHOLE CELLS (micro-organisms) through their root tips, strip them of the outer walls where all the plant available nutrients are and release them back out into the soil through root exudates to go out and gather more nutrients for the plant!!! It is an UNBELIEVABLE cycle! So anyway, Kelly wanted to add more biology to our cropping fields, at the time there was a lot of work being done around biologically complete compost-Dr. Elaine Ingham and the Johnson-Su Bioreactor which is a static type of compost. Each method was too difficult for me to manage on my own. I told Kelly to figure out something simple that I could manage to add to my list of things to do when my kids were only 2 & 4 years old. So he compiled many great methods into a simple way for me to create a biological solution using Indigenous Micro Organisms(IMO) from our native areas around the farm. Kelly's method is simple, inexpensive and effective. Fast forward 5 years and we were asked to present our method for borrowing IMO, multiplying it and applying it to seed at the annual Brandt Farms Field day! This method is so easy and efficient that I convinced Kelly to record a video series so other farmers could learn the method and lean more on native biology and less on synthetic inputs. We launched the video series to introduce farmers to IMOS™ in March and it is available to purchase through our website .
David helping Kelly make the first batch of IMOS™ on the Brandt Farm
Kelly never expected for others to want to learn how to harness the power of native biology in their crop fields, he was just trying to give our seed a head start with applied biology during planting. We got to meet new friends and connect with old ones it was truly something we will always cherish.
There is a saying in some circles: "Regenerative Farmers Have Bigger Worms"
Since my mother in law has a ceramic shop here on the farm, she made him this ceramic worm that we gave to the Brandt Farm as Host gift for having us at their field day.
We shared the day with 2 other farmers: Russell Hedrick(NC) and Lydia Dresbach(OH)
The sun is shining to melt the snow around here today and we are looking forward to a great spring planting season of Hard Red Spring Wheat, Egyptian Hulless Barley, Spelt, Oats and Rouge De Bordeaux Heritage Red Wheat. Until next time...