Restock Dates: Please see our Farm Blog where we post our weekly newsletter for the latest updates

Old Fashioned STEAK SALE And Regen Ag Part 1

written by

Ben Simmons

posted on

December 31, 2022

So, Farmer Ben tell me about this Old Fashioned Steak Sale! Just what do you mean by Old Fashioned?

Sure - Old Fashioned implies simple straight forward prices. No Gimmicks! No Bundles that may have cuts you do not use! No Minimums! And, No Order Limits!

We have FIVE steaks in this sale. All of our beef is Grass-Fed AND Finished (never any grain), free of chemicals and hormones...

1) Boneless Ribeye - sale price $15.30. Compare to Corner Market conventional beef at $17.99

2) NY Strip - sale price $13.30. Compare to Corner Market conventional beef at $15.99

3) Sirloin - sale price $8.80. Compare to Corner Market conventional beef at 11.99

4) Bone-In Ribeye - sale price $12.80. Save $1.45/lb.

5) T-Bone - sale price $12.35. Save $1.40/lb.

To receive the sale price you must order and take delivery BEFORE January 31st, 2023. Order early before the supply is sold out.

Remember, items are NOT allocated to your cart UNTIL you CONFIRM your order. 

Regen Ag Part 1

Last week I lead off with an introduction to Why Regenerative Agriculture. Today, I will share an email by Dr. Allen Williams that includes 6 * 3 * 4 learned through Dr. Allen Williams and the team at Understanding Ag - 6 Principles of Soil Health * 3 Rules of Adaptive Stewardship * 4 Ecosystem Processes used by Regenerative Farmers. 


The Six Principles of Soil Health are:

1. Context – Context is the most important principle and must be defined before applying the other principles. Context includes your production and financial goals and objectives, historical production factors, ecological parameters (both current and historical), community dynamics (family, neighbors, friends, vendors, lenders, etc.), and philosophical beliefs.


2. Minimize Disturbance – This includes minimizing disturbance of all types: tillage, synthetic, chemical, and manure applications. All forms of disturbance have the potential to harm our soil biology and physical structure. For example, all tillage damages soil structure, reduces water infiltration, reduces soil organic matter and carbon, and increases weed pressure. At times, one or more of these disturbances may be unavoidable, so a plan must be in place to minimize the impact of that disturbance in order to continue regenerative progress.


3. Armor on the Soil – Principally, keep the soil covered at all times. Nothing good happens when we have bare, exposed soil. Think of bare soil as our own skin. If we have exposed skin when it is very cold, we suffer. When we have exposed skin when it is hot, we get sunburned. Keeping the soil covered with a combination of living plants and plant residue protects soil temperature and moisture, keeps the soil microbes functioning and cycling nutrients, and progresses the regenerative process.


4. Diversity – Diversity is essential to making regenerative progress. Diversity includes diversity in plant species, soil microbial species, insects, birds and other wildlife. Monoculture and low-diversity systems significantly limit regenerative progress. It is simply not possible to make large strides in progress when diversity is greatly limited.


5. Living Roots Year-Round – Keeping living roots in the ground for as much of the year as possible supports soil microbial life and heightened activity. Living roots help build soil organic matter, enhance water infiltration and carbon sequestration. Living roots support all life, both below and above the soil surface. A lack of living roots will produce only negative compounding effects.


6. Livestock Integration – Virtually all land-based ecosystems in the world evolved through the influence of grazing, browsing and foraging ruminants. For the past several thousand years, this included a combination of wild and domesticated ruminants in many areas of the world. The very act of grazing or browsing stimulates heightened effects in soil biology and sets in motion a series of positive compounding and cascading effects.


Three Rules of Adaptive Stewardship:


The three rules of adaptive stewardship grazing are:

1. Rule of Compounding

2. Rule of Diversity

3. Rule of Disruption

The Rule of Compounding follows the concept that every management decision or practice applied creates a series of compounding and cascading effects that are either positive or negative in nature. Astute daily observation allows the practitioner to determine the compounding effects that are occurring and if adjustments need to be made relative to adaptive management. Careful observation on a routine basis allows the practitioner to develop a keen sense of intuition, which facilitates better management decisions that will create positive compounding effects.


Epigenetics, or the ability of environmental influences to affect the degree of gene expression in an individual organism (soil microbes, plants, cattle), are an integral part of compounding and cascading effects. Positive compounding effects result in positive epigenetic effects.


The Rule of Diversity follows the trend of nature to foster highly diverse ecosystems rather than monoculture or near-monoculture systems. Diversity refers to diversity in soil microbial species, in soil macro-organisms, plant species, beneficial insects, pollinators, birds and other wildlife, and cattle/crops. Monoculture practices, whether in crop or pasture production, perennial or annual, negatively impact ecosystem diversity and encourage negative compounding and epigenetic effects.


Highly diverse fields, whether annual or perennial, will have at least three major plant functional groups found in a grassland environment. These include grasses, legumes, forbs and woody species. Many of the forbs that grow in perennial pastures are often referred to as “weeds”but these forbs are a very important part of a complete ecosystem because they supply an abundant array of secondary and tertiary chemical compounds (phytochemicals) that are medicinal in nature and have natural anti-parasitic properties. In addition, forbes produce a distinct array of root exudates that attract a wider and more varied microbial population.


The work of Dr. Fred Provenza shows that animals provided with a broader array of plant species from which to forage are considerably healthier and perform better than cattle restricted to a more limited selection of plants (Recommended reading – Nourishment).


The Rule of Disruption refers to the fact that nature is extremely resilient and can recover from insults (challenges) quite well. Often, after insults, soil-health parameters are improved, productivity increases, and diversity is enhanced. Adaptive grazing, by definition, is not a rigid system, recipe, or formula. It is a flexible practice that allows for almost constant adjustment to fit conditions, goals and objectives. Grazing practices used in a rigid system will inevitably fail because they stymie both diversity and disruption and therefore create negative compounding effects over time.


643 pic 3


It is important to note that every living cell and organism has a memory and responds to prior experiences accordingly. Soil microbes have a memory and respond to prior grazing or other management practices. Plant cells have a memory. Animal cells have a memory. If similar practices are employed year after year, then the memory in the cells of all these organisms responds by telling the organism that it does not have to gain resilience. It becomes accustomed to the practice and basically stagnates.


The cells in our bodies work the same way. If we use an athlete as an example, we know that no athlete can progress if they do the same exercise routine at the same intensity and duration over and over. The only way to progress is to challenge the mind and the body (challenging cellular memory) by significantly altering the exercise routine. That is the only way an athlete gets bigger, stronger, faster or gains greater endurance. It is also the only way that your soil microbes, plants, cattle will become more resilient.

 

Four Ecosystem Processes:


The Four Ecosystem processes are free to us every day. In a time where practically all agricultural input costs have risen significantly, we need to be taking advantage of what nature provides to us each and every day. These ecosystem processes are:


1. Energy Cycle – The energy cycle is simply sunlight captured by plants to drive photosynthesis. We may say that we do this every day because we have plants growing and we have sunlight. However, we need to consider if we maximizing the capture of that sunlight or if we are losing much of it through photosynthetic leakage. If our pastures are routinely grazed short, we are losing a lot of sunlight (leakage). If we have low-diversity pastures, we are losing sunlight through leakage. Highly diverse pastures contain plants of differing heights and differing leaf architecture. That allows for maximum sunlight capture and minimal leakage.


2. Water Cycle – How well do our soils capture and infiltrate water from rainfall, snowmelt or irrigation? Are we replenishing our springs and aquifers? Do we have too much water and wind erosion occurring? Good soil water infiltration and retention only happens when we have good soil biology.


3. Mineral Cycle - The mineral cycle, also called the nutrient cycle, only works effectively when we have good soil biology and microbiology working for us. Nutrients come from many sources, including the soil itself, rocks, rain, atmosphere, animal manure and urine, dead and decaying plant materials, and dead and decaying microbes and macro-organisms.


4. Community Dynamic – This can also be referred to as diversity. The greater the diversity that exists in our ecosystem, the better everything functions. This includes plant, insect, bird and other wildlife species diversity.

And, if you want to keep up with what Allen and his team at Understanding AG are up to be sure to visit their website at: https://understandingag.com/

As we continue this series look for examples from 6*3*4 in upcoming newsletters.


** Product Availability Update **


Chicken -Restocked Wednesday, December 28th. Next harvest date is February 14th with restock the following day

Eggs - Eggs are still tight. New hens arrived September 16th. Still very slow getting started...

 

Beef - Restocked December 23rd early afternoon. Next harvest is January 3rd with restock about January 24th

     

Pork - Restocked Dec 12th

Lamb - Last harvest date was MONDAY, NOVEMBER 14th. Restocked Friday Nov 25th.

More from the blog

Are Foreign Imports "Local"?

It may surprise you that I do receive AND read several weekly newsletters from other farms that I know and trust. Last week, Paul Brown who owns Nourished By Nature in Bismark, ND (son of Gabe Brown) wrote a really good article on import beef and he agreed to let me share with my customers. So, here goes! If you recall, the last newsletter we sent out referred to the statistic that today, only 2% of the population in the US produces food for the entire country (plus imports) as compared to 17% in 1940. This is unprecedented and it makes me wonder, what happened over the last 80 years? And where will we be in another 80? No wait, how about 10 years??? Will all US food production be outsourced?

Product Updates & More

First, a quick followup from last week's email where I shared my letter to Sec. Watson. This generated a lot of interest and response from our customers - ALL very positive and thankful for us taking the stand we do. Several customers also shared that they were personal friends with Sec. Watson and would contact him regarding our farm. So far, I have not heard from him. Cindy shared the following: Thank you for speaking out about issues that many of us are very upset about and feel like we have no voice. Hopefully, Secretary Watson will actually do something. In my opinion, Farm Bureau is against most Mississippians. They were against the illegal land sales to the Chinese and other foreign countries who want to harm us. I was at the meeting at the Capitol a few months ago and saw it firsthand. They are against any legislation to protect pets, such as dogs and cats, from animal abusers, in addition to the chicken and dairy issues you mentioned above. I am no fan at all of Farm Bureau. They are a detriment to our state. But they have a powerful lobby and lots of friends in influential places . And lots of farmers, big farmers, are fans. I have always been a fan of ag commissioner Gipson and I expect he will run for governor one day. I’m not sure if it’s a political play, but it seems that he is quiet on most of these issues. One exception is the Land deals, because he did chair those groups and hold the hearings.

Letter To Sec. Watson MS Secretary of State

This week I received an email from Sec. Watson regarding his offices' plan and successes in eliminating administrative and MS Code bottlenecks that hold back business growth. He also asked for input on areas that affect our business. Have you ever heard the saying, "Be Careful What You Ask For?" Well, here is my response to Sec. Watson. I'm still waiting to hear back from him - which I truly hope will happen. Sec. Watson, first let me thank you for aggressively tackling these tough issues. Too many politicians today are mere pawns of