Natural Resource Conservation Service Grazing Plan for our Farm
(EQIP = Environmental Quality Improvement Program)
Mike and I signed on the dotted line for the conservation plans for our farm- 172 acres total into grazing and organic agriculture beginning between now and 2011. We'll start by creating 92 acres of rotational grazing for beef cattle in 2010. This part scares me the most-- lots of fences, new well, many water lines and watering stations, big beefy animals that could step on little kids....
Across the driveway (not shown) we've enrolled 80 acres into the brand spanking new USDA Organic transition program. **Proud moment- we ranked 2nd in the entire State of Minnesota for this program** Mike is more intimidated by this organic 80 acres. In my mind, we could make this work just by force of will -- weeding by hand every day of the growing season if need be. Harvest with scythes, whatever... We actually calculated out the kids ages to figure out if they would be of good weeding ages in 2011 (7, 7 and 11).
So between the two of us we are confident we can make it work on the north and south side of the driveway (or conversely scared it won't work on the north or south side of the driveway).
In all honesty, part of my motivation for doing this (which my husband of nearly 15 years won't know until he reads this blog entry) is that we as a civilization have to-- HAVE TO-- learn (or remember) how to farm using sunlight as the major food source (grazing cattle) and making due with resources lower on the petroleum food chain (organic). Because in an uncertain future there will still be sunlight and some poop to keep this farm going.
So I am comfortable taking the risk of moving from conventional row crops (corn and soybeans) which we know can make the farm payments to experimenting with sunlight and crafty labor and inputs. When I say "Lord help us" that is not just a figure of speech.