We are going back to the farm today. Zach Johnson, the YouTuber Minnesota Millennial Farmer and Mitchell Hora, farmer and founder of Continuum Ag, join us today. These two co-host the Fieldwork Podcast, “a podcast for farmers, from farmers.” Fieldwork Podcast focuses on sustainable farming practices, their environmental impact and how to make them profitable. For Mitchell, Continuum Ag specifically supplies health data analytics and does consulting for farmers. Mitchell and Zach farm 500 miles apart but find common ground in adopting soil health principles and are enjoying the opportunity to share that with other farmers.
“I think everybody has the opportunity to improve. I think it’s just more so looking outside of the box and looking holistically, but there’s a lot of ways to do this.” - Mitchell Hora
Mitchell draws attention to the fact that being more sustainable can involve different applications of soil health protocols on different operations. This isn’t a call for “one size fits all” in farming. He highlights impacting the carbon footprint in agriculture, water quality, water use, and nutrient density to name a few options to focus on.The Fieldwork Podcast’s goal is to “utilize some of these other agronomic sustainable type principles to be more profitable.” Mitchell is very clear that any changes need to “drive profitability” and be a sound “business decision.” Zach discusses that one barrier to fully adopting all of these soil health practices rapidly on his farm has been the amount of moisture and weather conditions in Minnesota. His dad attempted some no-till in the 1980’s but didn’t find success at that time.
“I think now we understand more about the soil. We have better technology, maybe better machinery to try to understand really what it is we’re doing and try to achieve those results.” - Zach Johnson
Zach is excited to start trying some new soil health practices including cover crops but admittedly hasn’t found the opportunity yet. Both Zach and Mitchell discuss how difficult it can be to initiate new practices and wait for the results to become evident. This is why ultimately every decision they make is backed by increasing profitability and making their farm as successful as it can be both for the environment and for themselves.
“(Fieldwork Podcast) is a great educational tool for farmers and for non-farmers to learn and to support each other and to realize and understand that it isn’t so easy and we’re all trying to figure this out to make sure that we move forward progressively.” - Zach Johnson
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