For decades, the trend for farmers and ranchers has been larger spreads with more chemicals and more mining of the soil. But is that the answer?
Having a conversation with David King, of Brenham, Texas reveals that another approach is more in line with the modern world – farmers should think of themselves not as farmers or ranchers, but soil farmers.
King, educated in agriculture at Stephen F. Austin State College (now University), has a cow/calf operation of a little over 100 mother cows plus their calves on a modest spread of 210 acres comprising of 180 acres of sustainable pasture in Southeast Texas. King produces “natural” beef with the utmost sensitivity to what makes the beef – the grasses, forages and clovers that come from his soils.
Creating a production enterprise that grows beef naturally on a 210-acre spread is a Modern Economic Miracle when considering operations 100 times larger have a hard time finding their way. King makes no mistake that the message is in stewardship of the soil to include application of minerals, compost teas, microbiology and a new product called Extreme Blend from Kelp4Less. Extreme Blend is a proprietary blend that includes soluble kelp, fulvic acids, humic acids and amino acids.
The benefit of Extreme Blend is that it contributes to building soils, it is water soluble so he can spray it on with his 320 gallon spray rig, it replaces having to buy 3-4 other products individually while having to BREW for 24 to 48 hours before use. He can put Extreme Blend on immediately as circumstances may demand.
King explained that one organic fertilizer he was using was not only expensive but was 80% water. This led him to research alternatives and led him to discover Extreme Blend from Kelp4Less. Extreme Blend was a factor in bringing grass back to a piece of his pasture that was barren for 15 years. Having productive pasture is the most important economic key as it grows livestock and reduces the cost of outside hay – an expensive proposition.
One of the things King does is walk the farm to observe the grasses, forage, and conditions of the soil. His ongoing efforts are to create sustainable soils that are like sponges to make the most of the precious rain that falls. The message here is get off the 4-wheeler or horse and see if what you are doing is making your operation productive.
Over the years, King has discovered the health of his livestock, the quality of grasses that convert into weight gain and battling droughts starts and ends with his soil’s health.
The Economic Miracle here is that small or modest is beautiful, once you get on the path of being a soil farmer – whether you are in animal agriculture, row cropping or in market gardening. The simple message is that big is not the answer to successful economics when it comes to producing food – it is maintaining and building the quality of the soils, its organic matter, its minerals, and its microbiology.
This is an important message, as it establishes an economic model that can sustain thousands more people and jobs on fewer acres. The last bit of miracle is to contemplate the implications of King’s vision over the 600 million acres of pastureland that America is so fortunate to have.
(photo courtesy of David King)