Sara Keough Blog Post

Artificial Animals – Part 1

Plant-based meats

It’s a phrase likely to evoke controversy and contention among a wide array of consumers depending on their dietary preferences, environmental concerns, ethical issues with meat consumption and knowledge of the food industry. Enthusiastic proponents of plant-based meats insist that they’re a more nutritious option than meat and reduce the environmental impacts driven by animal agriculture. Some consumers are on the fence, feeling conflicted about the ostensible health benefits of meat substitutes, yet accepting them as an eco-friendlier alternative.

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Confounding Economics: The Farm Income Mirage and How to Prepare for the Future

Confounding Economics: The Farm Income Mirage and How to Prepare for the Future

Confounding Economics and Pandemic Shifts Allen Williams, Ph.D., Understanding Ag, LLC Recent articles have left me scratching my head about the state of U.S. farm economics, especially looking at conflicting titles like, “Farm Income to Hit 7-Year High, Thanks to Record-Setting Aid” and “Farm Cash Receipts Forecasted to Hit a Decade-Low in 2020.” However, in …

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Upcoming ‘Kiss the Ground’ Movie Features Three Understanding Ag Experts

Upcoming ‘Kiss the Ground’ Movie Features Three Understanding Ag Experts

Questions and Answers with Our ‘In-House’ Stars By Ron Nichols, Understanding Ag Kiss the Ground is a new, feature-length movie that explores key soil health and regenerative agricultural principles, and features interviews with a wide range of authors, experts, farmers, researchers and scientists. Seven years in the making, “Kiss the Ground,” the movie offers a hope-filled …

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The ‘Unintended’ Consequences of Taxpayer-Subsidized Crop Insurance

The ‘Unintended’ Consequences of Taxpayer-Subsidized Crop Insurance

By Doug Peterson, Understanding Ag, LLC There are many things that influence what a person does and how well they take care of the land they own or operate. Several studies show that any kind of absentee or non-operating landowner (investors, heirs, retirees) generally do not invest in conservation on the land as much as …

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Roy Family

Where Human Health Begins: One Farmer’s Story of Regeneration

Sometimes, adversity is a blessing, though rarely does it seem so in the moment. Just ask Roy Thompson, a 33-year-old farmer from Akaska, South Dakota. At age 20, Roy was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel condition that the Mayo Clinic’s website describes as “both painful and debilitating, and sometimes may lead to life-threatening …

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Kincaid Family in field

Checking in on the Regenerative Journey of Macauley Kincaid

‘Dad, I think you’re the greatest farmer in the world’ Checking in on the regenerative journey of Macauley Kincaid By Ron Nichols, Understanding Ag I first spoke with the then 25-year-old Macauley Kincaid a little over a year ago, shortly after he attended a Soil Health Academy school. After that experience, Macauley went back to …

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Don't Let it Bug You

Don’t Let it Bug You: Six Steps to Control Internal & External Parasites

Allen R Williams, Ph.D., Soil Health Academy Instructor Parasite control in livestock is a major issue and has been heavily focused on for several decades now.  There are numerous anthelmintics (chemical dewormers) available for internal parasite control and a host of pyrethroid and organophosphate products available for fly control.  The issue with any of these …

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A Tale of Two Industries

A Tale of Two Industries

Allen R Williams, Ph.D., Soil Health Academy Instructor The 1859 novel written by Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, was required reading for millions of school kids in English Literature classes and is one of the best-selling novels of all time.  The story is set in the late 18th century against the background of …

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Can Food Be Our Medicine

Can Food Be Our Medicine?

Allen R Williams, Ph.D., Soil Health Academy Instructor Did you know that the health of plants, animals, ecosystems and humans is inextricably tied to plant phytochemical diversity?  So, what are phytochemicals?  In short, they are compounds naturally produced by plants that help the plants thrive in challenging conditions, fight off competitors, pest insects and disease.  …

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The Most Radical Act You Can Do: Grow Your Own Food!

Ray Archuleta, Soil Health Academy Instructor Concerns about the US food chain supply made their way into the mainstream this week, as more meat processing and packaging plants suspend operations temporarily due to coronavirus outbreaks in the workforce. When Smithfield Foods announced it was shutting its Sioux Falls plant indefinitely, CEO Ken Sullivan warned that …

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Dr. Allen’s 10 Tips for Summer Grazing Success

Dr. Allen’s 10 Tips for Summer Grazing Success

Allen R Williams, Ph.D., Soil Health Academy Instructor By the time you read this we will be fully into summer 2020.  In many parts of the country it has been much cooler than normal well into the month of May.  Even here in Mississippi we have had a very pleasant spring.  Nighttime temperatures in the …

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It's Time for a Change

It’s Time for a Change

by Shane New and Gabe Brown Soil Health Academy Instructors Empty shelves and meat cases in grocery stores, oil at negative prices, record unemployment, skyrocketing national debt, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected many aspects of our lives. This crisis has exposed the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of our current system, prompting the need and opportunity for …

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Man in Field

Nurturing a Healthy Relationship with Our Food

By Ray Archuleta, Soil Health Academy Instructor Food is relationship. In my previous blog, I examined several institutional, philosophical and educational issues that have created unintended social distancing in agriculture. In this article, I want to shift the focus to examine another type of “social distancing.” This one involves the “relationship” we have with our …

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Regenerating Human Health

Regenerating Human Health & Building a More Resilient Food System

By Sara Keough MS, CNS, LDN – Eco-Nutritionist “People are fed by the food industry, which pays no attention to health, and are treated by the health industry which pays no attention to food.” -Wendell Berry It may have been this quote from one of my heroes, farmer and activist Wendell Berry, that inspired me years ago …

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Educations Role in Social Distancing

Education and the “Social Distancing” of Agriculture

Ray Archuleta, Soil Health Academy Instructor Recently, I went to a local sandwich shop, hoping for a sit-down lunch. But instead I walked into a nearly empty restaurant. This empty area made me feel uneasy, like I had walked into a futuristic sci-fi movie displaying the de-population of humans by some strange pestilence.  A sense …

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Time for a Garden

Time for a Garden

By Gabe Brown, Soil Health Academy Instructor It’s the time of the year when many of us are thinking about growing a garden.  With the ongoing pandemic highlighting the importance of having a healthy immune system, it is more important than ever that we do what we can to ensure that we are growing and …

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Lets be Responsible

Let’s be Responsible

By Shane New, Soil Health Academy Instructor I want to preface this blog by stating up front that some may find the contents controversial.  My intentions are not to belittle the current situation, anyone or anything an individual does. My intention is to promote thought and conversation as to how our country can move forward …

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Invest in Yourself

Invest In Yourself

By Gabe Brown and Shane New, Soil Health Academy Instructors The continuing COVID-19 pandemic is having a major impact on economies all over the world.  Businesses are being closed, work hours reduced and many people have been laid off. The stock market has lost a full one-third of its value in a very short time.  …

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So do you really want to plant corn

So, Do You Really Want to Plant Corn?

By Gabe Brown, Soil Health Academy Instructor With corn planting underway in many parts of the country, I couldn’t help but think just how risky that decision is.  I am not talking about risk from the standpoint of weather and concerns regarding growing conditions—I am talking specifically about the decision to plant corn, period. Look …

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Gather Round

“Gather ‘Round”

by Gabe Brown, Soil Health Academy Instructor So here we are, in a situation that most of us have never been in: spending the majority of our time “in lockdown.”  We are used to the frantic pace that is life.  While the kids eat a quick breakfast of processed cereal, we make sure they have …

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Human Microbiome

Healthy Gut, Healthy Body

Allen R Williams, Ph.D., Soil Health Academy Instructor We often think of ourselves as a single organism called a person.  However, we are actually made up of a dazzling array of parts (arms, legs, ears, nose, eyes, etc.) and pieces (heart, liver, kidneys, pancreas, stomach, intestines, etc.).  Somehow all these parts and pieces function as …

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Wake Up America

Wake Up, America!

By Gabe Brown and Shane New, Soil Health Academy Instructors With the chaos occurring in our country at present, we need to slow down, gather our thoughts and “touch bottom.”  This story, shared with me by a former Navy SEAL, illustrates this point. In one training exercise, the SEAL candidates’ hands are tied together, as well …

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Why Regenerative Agriculture

Why Regenerative Agriculture?

Allen R Williams, Ph.D., Soil Health Academy Instructor As I described in my preceding blog, it is getting crazy out there and the panic buying is not subsiding.  What is occurring in our nation, and around the world, only serves to substantiate why we need regenerative agriculture now more than ever.  It is no longer just …

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Cattle in Pasture

Salvaging a Profit in the Current Cattle Market

By Gabe Brown and Shane New, Understanding Ag, LLC The continuing downward slide in the cattle market has left many with knots in their stomachs.  Should one “jump ship” and sell at what is most likely a loss, or does one hang on for a while longer?  Instead of making a quick decision based on …

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Common Sense During COVID-19

Common Sense During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Allen R Williams, Ph.D., Soil Health Academy Instructor We are now experiencing times that many alive today have never been exposed to.  We are witnessing our own human condition and our response to something that seems overwhelming and possibly insurmountable.  The tangible result is being manifested in widespread panic and fear.  Fear that we will …

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Meat and Salad Plate

“Time to Rethink Our Food System”

By Gabe Brown and Shane New A trip to the local grocery store today turns up many empty shelves—a sight that most Americans have not seen before.  This is just one of a myriad of ramifications of the coronavirus outbreak. Without a doubt, this will affect us for months to come. But we feel this puts …

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Broccoli Nutritional Changes Table

The Unintended Consequences of Pesticides

Allen R Williams, Ph.D., Soil Health Academy Continuing the discussion around unintended consequences, all we have to do is look around us and the evidence is staring us in the face. We simply have to recognize and acknowledge the facts before us.  In the process of doing that though, we also have to admit that …

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97% of what you grow quote

New Poll: Regenerative Ag Benefits Include ‘Peace of Mind’

By Ron Nichols, SHA/UA Communications Consultant Under the heading of “In case you needed even more reasons to switch to regenerative farming,” a recent poll conducted by South Dakota State University indicates that a significantly higher percentage of farmers who are using soil health-improving practices in their operations experience less stress, are more satisfied with farming and …

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Real Beef vs Impossible Burger Table

The Unintended Consequences of Fake Meat

Allen R Williams, Ph.D., SHA Instructor & Co-Founder Consumers are currently being bombarded with commercials and ads for various forms of what I term “fake meat.” Curiously, many who are manufacturing and selling these products, as well as their supporters, prefer to call them “clean proteins.” The ads appear to be almost everywhere—on the TV, …

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Flooding in Upper Midwest

The Unintended Consequences of Poor Soil Health

By Allen R Williams, Ph.D. SHA Instructor & Co-Founder The Year 2019 presented numerous challenges to farmers and grazers, and consumers. Among them were significant flooding, dust storms, cyanobacteria (algal) blooms, prevent planting, glyphosate residue issues, and fake meats. Any one of these challenges is a serious enough issue to deal with, but all of …

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Purple Flower Field

The Unintended Consequences of Conventional Ag

By Allen R Williams, Ph.D., SHA Instructor & Co-Founder Farming and food production have become hot-button issues today and can be a very confusing subject for consumers to sort out. Farming practices and food production have been linked to a number of things that consumers are concerned about including climate change, harmful runoff, animal welfare, …

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Resolve to Regenerate

Top 10 Reasons to Regenerate in 2020

As the New Year arrives, we reflect on the past year where farmers and ranchers faced weather extremes, low commodity prices and a host of other challenges. We can’t predict with certainty what the New Year will bring, but we realize many of these challenges are likely to continue. So what can we do to …

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Time for Change: The Compelling Case for Regenerative Agriculture

Gabe Brown, Understanding Ag, LLC You cannot pick up a farm magazine, listen to a farm radio program, or talk to an agri-business spokesperson without hearing the words “regenerative agriculture.” But what is regenerative agriculture and why is it creating such interest? Merriam-Webster dictionary defines regeneration as, “a renewal or restoration of a biological system …

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Sunflower Field

Do Cover Crops Pay?

Kent Solberg, Understanding Ag, LLC We have all seen the articles and heard the claims: Cover crops have many great benefits. However, from land grant universities to rural cafes people are asking “Yeah, but do cover crops pay?” In other words, is there an immediate return on investment? You should know that what you are …

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cows in a pasture

Missed Opportunity

Kent Solberg, Understanding Ag, LLC The other day I drove by a dairy farm. I am somewhat familiar with this farm. Like most dairies today, they are struggling. On top of multiple years of reduced milk prices and rising production costs, they are struggling with the weather this year. It’s been tough to get crops …

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Why Do Cover Crops Sometimes Fail?

Allen Williams, Ph.D. & Gabe Brown The term “cover crop” is everywhere today. It’s in the farming magazines and the ag news, and is the hot topic at many agricultural conferences, workshops and field days. We farmers and ranchers are told that we need to plant cover crops to protect the soil, build soil organic …

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Tribute to a Grazing Hero

Tribute to a Grazing Hero Allen R Williams, Ph.D. Once in every few generations someone comes along who defies all conventions and turns things on their ear. To do this, it takes a truly unique person who does not care what their neighbors think or what the world thinks. Instead, they doggedly pursue what they …

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Soil, Food and the Elephant in the Room

Holly Arbuckle As a health care practitioner, I have had the privilege to work with many people over the past 15 years. Let me let you in a little secret I have discovered from years of talking to people about health: We are all worried about our food. Really, all of us: rich people, poor …

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