The Biggest Dead Zone

Chicken hoop houses under magnificent sky.

Chicken hoop houses under magnificent sky.

Yesterday I read that the “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico is the largest it has ever been. The Biggest Dead Zone (link). This 8000+ square mile area is devoid of oxygen in the water from decaying algae which comes from excess nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer runoff. An unusually wet spring flushed a higher than usual amount of fertilizer into the Mississippi watershed and down to the Gulf.

How to solve this problem? Grass buffer strips around fields are supposed to trap this fertilizer runoff. Apparently they are not catching enough. Winter cover crops do a good job of scavenging excess nutrients in the soil and keeping them out of our waterways. Cover cropping is catching on by leaps and bounds. In the spring farmers terminate the winter cover crop and plant without tillage into the standing residue. This thick vegetative mat forms an armor over the soil and dramatically absorbs the energy of a raindrop, causing it to soak in rather than run off down the ditches towards Louisiana.

But the best solution involves both of the above practices and treating the soil as a living and functioning organism. By encouraging and protecting the biology of the soil, we need far fewer, and sometimes zero, fertilizer inputs to grow a crop. That would significantly slow the nutrient flow into our streams. Come to our farm field day on August 12th to learn how we encourage and protect our soil biology. 

On Our Farm

It is a time of great excitement as we get ready to have our special guests, our customers, the ones we do all this for, to our farm. It looks like the weather is going to be beautiful. So we are arranging the meal, getting the farm tour ready, and preparing the farm. We are excited to get to share what happens here, as well as to visit with people that we may only see briefly on selling days.

We understand that not all of you will be able to come, but we are looking forward to seeing those who are able. And to those of you who aren't, maybe you can come out another day that is more convenient!

Quote from a worker: "We should do a video of us processing the chickens for our customers. They might not know how careful we are with their meat, otherwise."

Fresh Chicken and Frozen Beef for sale Tuesday (farm) and Wednesday (Mansfield & Springfield), August 8/9.
Saturday, August 12 frozen chicken and beef for sale at the Farm Field Day.

Peace Valley: Tuesday, August 8, 3-6 p.m., on the farm. Frozen chicken and beef Saturday, August 12, 10-2.
Mansfield: Wednesday, August 9, call for time & to let us know you are coming. 
Springfield: Wednesday, August 9, noon till 1 p.m. 
Rolla: Wednesday, August 16, 3:30 p.m. 

Please place an order or contact us to make sure you get the chicken parts and special cuts of beef you want. Thanks!