Where do plant-based milk substitutes fit into the Grassland 2.0 vision?

The latest news from the Grassland 2.0 team on grassland-based agriculture and sustainable agriculture.

Where do plant-based milk substitutes fit into the Grassland 2.0 vision?

There is a debate raging over plant-based milk substitutes (PBMS). These include beverages made from soy, rice, almond, cashew and other nuts (apparently, you can make “milk” from any kind of tree nut), coconut, oats, and hemp. They’re all white and opaque like milk, but I won’t call them “milks” because that’s one of the sources of controversy.

Midwest bumble bees declined with more farmed land, less diverse crops since 1870

As farmers cultivated more land and began to grow fewer types of crops over the last 150 years, most native bumble bee species became rarer in Midwestern states.

New research reveals that these species declined while the average number of different crops grown in these states was cut in half and as modern agriculture began to focus on intensive production of corn and soybeans. A handful of hardy species continue to thrive today, but they also seem to prefer areas with a more diverse assortment of crops such as hay, beans, potatoes and oats in addition to corn and soy.

Land stewardship mirrors agroecological change at Sinsinawa Mound

If we seek to truly regenerate the land, we must do the same in our own communities. This connection between the health of the land and the health of our communities is abundantly clear at the Sinsinawa Mound located just east of Dubuque. The Catholic sisters at Sinsinawa Mound live and work in this parallel, recognizing these processes as equally ecological, social, and spiritual transformations.

Research on Agro-IBIS aims to estimate the ecological and economic benefits of grazing and cover-cropping

Every day, people in the agricultural sector, from farmers to advisers and planners, need to make tough decisions to balance the increasing demand for food, fiber, biofuel, and clean water. These decisions are only getting more complex due to new crop varieties, climate change, shifting markets, government policies, and changing human demands.

On-farm research explores the linkages between pasture management, soil health and ecosystem services

There is increasing interest among farmers to manage for soil health because of its ability to impact productivity, nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration, and water quality. However, when it comes to measuring soil health there are challenges determining which soil health tests are most beneficial and accessible to farmers, what the impacts of management are, and what constitutes a good benchmark for a healthy soil?

Grassland 2.0 Learning Hubs Engage Rural Communities on their Turf

What if our agricultural system did more than just deliver plentiful, low cost food? What if it also provided a consistent, sustainable income for farmers and environmental benefits like clean water and healthy soil? What if agriculture could help restore the vitality of rural communities hollowed out by an exodus of young people? If we could make that happen, what does it look like?

Reimaging Midwestern agriculture

What if we could reshape our food and agriculture system so that, in addition to tasty, nutritious food, it could produce healthy, resilient soils, clean air and water, biodiversity, stable incomes for farmers, and support vibrant rural communities? About half of the land in the U.S. is farmed. This land–this soil–is our nation’s most substantial and important natural resource. It is what we live on, both literally and figuratively. It can–and should–provide more than cheap food, livestock feed and ethanol.

The grass-fed market is more than just selling beef and milk

Throughout the month of February and March GrassWorks hosted a number of virtual grazing events including a recent webinar led by two members of the Grassland 2.0 team — David LeZaks from Croatan Institute, and Sarah Lloyd from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Minnesota. The duo, both of whom work on the Grassland 2.0 supply chain team, led an engaging conversation about the current momentum and challenges facing grassland agriculture.

New Midwest Grazing Exchange connects livestock farmers with landowners in six states across the region

The new Midwest Grazing Exchange website aims to connect livestock farmers with landowners – it’s like Tinder for cows!

From creating opportunities for beginning farmers, to improving the soil, to helping make cover crops profitable, livestock are often a missing piece in Midwestern agricultural systems, where the grazing of vast herds of bison and elk were vital parts of the historical ecosystem.

10 reasons why all farmers should raise livestock

Written by Laura Paine. A version of this article appeared in PD Extra, Progressive Dairyman and In Practice Magazine.

Aldo Leopold is one of my favorite ecological thinkers. Leopold was an internationally recognized ecologist and conservationist who lived and worked all over the world, but whose work was particularly inspired by the landscape of the farm he owned along the Wisconsin River. Although I grew up in the corn country of central Illinois, I was drawn as a young adult to this landscape and have made Wisconsin my home for going on 40 years.