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Regenerating Topsoil

Colonel's Blog, Earthdate 2 March 2023...

Hey Y'all!! We posted our next YouTube video: Moving Forested Hogs

Good morning and happy Thursday from Air2Ground Farms! The beautiful sunny skies are a contrast for what is on its way this evening when we are forecast to have severe storms and potential flooding. The animals are great and going about their day as if they don't even know storms are approaching. The hogs and ducks are both particularly happy. The hogs are still relishing their new paddock, the move documented in our new YouTube video. The ducks got clean water yesterday and that is cause for excitement for a couple of days if you are a duck. Clean water isn't something you can maintain when talking about ducks. We researched it (because that's what we do) not long after we got the ducks and were failing at keeping their water clean. With ducks, the best you can manage is fresh water because they quickly get it dirty. They immediately begin bathing in the clean water. That causes it to splash over the sides and make little mud puddles. Mud puddles are absolutely irresistible to ducks, so those not bathing begin trilling the puddle filling their bills with mud. That must then be rinsed out in the clean water. Within minutes, the water is no longer clean but is still fresh. So, we quickly learned that we had to limit the number of times we drained and filled the duck pools to once a week. They get fresh water daily but clean water only once a week. We made a delivery to town and worked more on the YouTube video yesterday. We tried uploading into YouTube and using their Studio to add music and complete final editing. Boy was that a mistake. We quickly found that trying to edit the video already in the platform was virtually impossible with our internet speeds. For every edit, we had to save to YouTube and the message was that it could take a couple of hours to complete. We tried to finalize it but eventually gave up and deleted it. We went back to iMovie on the Mac and were able to finish. Today we will build a hay bin for the milk cows, move firewood under cover in prep for the storms, do things with milk, and continue house projects. The hay bin is to get the hay off of the ground for Happy and Betty when they are outside overnight. An update on the dairy calves. After the rodeo bulldogging event I discussed in Fighter Pilot (Farmer) Stories, we decided to use a different tactic to get the calves into the loafing area to separate them at night. We set a feed bucket down and ignored them. Within about 15 seconds, both calves were exactly where we wanted them. Not nearly as exciting as my initial plan, but much more sustainable!

What do I mean when I say we are regenerating our land and why do I think it is important?The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization states that 90% of the world's topsoil is likely to be at risk by 2050 and that 95% of the world's food grows in that few centimeters of soil. Researchers at UMass found that "agricultural fields in the Midwest have lost 2 millimeters of soil per year on average since the Euro-American settlement. That's equivalent to about 57.6 billion metric tons of topsoil lost in roughly 160 years." Given the traditional methods of agriculture, the soil simply erodes. The tilled soil washes away from rain and blows away in the wind. If you plan on living more than a few years, or care about those who will, I encourage you to learn about what is happening to our soil. Do I think we can change the world? Well, yes. We have the privilege of caring for this particular 160 acres of rocky, eroded, thin topsoil Ozark land. While it is in our care, we are set on going about agriculture in a different way...a regenerative way. Our practices are not just to "not erode" the remaining soil, but to rebuild, or regenerate, the topsoil. Check out the top pic of one of our angus steers hard at work making soil. The next pic is a broader look at more of the beef herd making soil. The third pic is a standard look at the soil of our property pre-us. The last pic is yesterday with new grass growing in newly regenerated topsoil. The rocks aren't covered, yet, but give us some years. Instead of eroding what topsoil we have by traditional farming practices, we will add topsoil, effectively changing the world, even if it's only one very small piece of it, we're still changing it.

Check out Shelley's YouTube Short: New Holland Bush Hogging

Have a look at the video of us moving the hogs, subscribe, and share it with your friends!

Local Farm Report for 1 March 2023:


35 Chicken eggs

12 Duck eggs

1 Goose egg

5 1/2 Gallons of milk


4 Dozen chicken eggs

2 Dozen duck eggs

4 Gallons of milk

Cheers! Rich & Shelley

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Mar 03, 2023

He y’all! I know it feels good to see growth and progress on things like the grass. I was curious how long you hay bombed that area before you saw the current growth?

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Hey, Rob!! We unrolled some hay last winter and ran the sheep on it. This year we intensively hay bombed it with the cows on it the entire time, starting in mid November. We have a few more bales to unroll and then we will move them off and let it rest and grow.

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