Easy to build, maintain and move, high tunnels provide an energy-efficient way to extend the growing season and provide fresh food for local communities. NRCS photo by Jason Hughes.
Janet Mahala runs an organic farm nestled in a small valley in the Tennessee Appalachian Mountains. Last year she started a Community Supported Agriculture membership program on her farm. Shortly thereafter she expanded production with a high tunnel which has extended her farm’s growing season by several months. Read more »
Elvis d’Agrella visits with some of his regular weekly customers at the Conroe farmers market. Customers are welcome to fill small white buckets with an assortment of fruits and vegetables for an average cost of $4.
‘Valley Girl’ and ‘Celebrity’ are just two of the sought-after tomato varieties sold at Elvis d’Agrella’s farmer’s market stand in the summer. And now his weekly customers can purchase those tomatoes well into the winter, because he and his wife, Pat, have constructed a seasonal high tunnel at their PEAS Farm outside Conroe, Tex.
“Our goal was to produce as much of the vegetables that you see here growing in the winter time that you would normally see growing in the summertime,” says Elvis. Read more »
Some TSFR CBO members and James Gore, NRCS assistant chief, toured Henry Day’s farm in Millican, Tex. Day highlighted benefits he has reaped from NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program, which includes conservation practices such as grass planting, cross fencing and pond establishment.
As a young adult, Henry Day of Millican, Tex. left his family’s ranch and spent years living and working in Houston, returning frequently to visit throughout the years. Upon his retirement, he came back for good and began his grassroots journey to restore the long-neglected soils and pastures on the ranch.
Day ranches on 157 acres, which his grandfather purchased in the mid-1800s. Nutrient-deficient soils and visible erosion problems made it an intimidating prospect, as did the overgrown pastures, which were covered in mesquite, weeds and thick underbrush. Read more »
LESA/LEPA system on Gonzales’ alfalfa field
Joseph and Jeremy Gonzales are doing something different with their Gonzales Land and Cattle operation in Lovington, N.M., and it’s hard not to notice. Farming is hard enough without adding extra challenges. So the Gonzales brothers are using 21st-century technology to work smarter, not harder. Read more »
Left: Larry Woods checking for growth a few weeks after the first field seeding this summer. Right: Larry in the same field just a few months later.
Larry Woods dedicated 36 years of his life to education in Kentucky. After a successful career as a teacher, coach and administrator, last year Larry retired to his Garrard County family farm, which he plans to develop into a full working operation for his children and grandchildren to enjoy.
Woods was raised on the 100-acre farm, and a love of farming, hunting, fishing and living off the land comes naturally for him. But when he returned to his farm, he quickly realized that keeping track of his 30 head of Charolais cattle was a next-to-impossible task. He spent countless hours rounding up the herd from ridgetop pastures and steep valleys full of tree and brush. Read more »
Angus Farm owners Larry and Annette Cutliff felt last year’s drought impacts firsthand.
2012 saw the worst drought in a generation. It was exceptionally dry from the northern Great Plains into the Deep South— nearly three-quarters of the country.
“We knew that the carrying capacity of our pastures for next spring would not support our herd,” says Larry Cutliff, who runs a 45-head cow-calf Angus cattle operation in west Tennessee. “The prospect of drastically reducing our herd size was one option we were considering.” Read more »