November 3, 2023
I’ll be honest, I haven’t told you everything about us and our farm. Now is the time for the rest of the story. I hope to educate and inspire you to choose healthy food from healthy soil, answer nagging questions, and debunk myths or half truths that you hear. But first, let’s play a little “Did you know?” followed by so what and who cares!
Did you know that we grow crops in addition to raising cattle, chickens, and pigs? We farm 2500 acres of Non-GMO Corn, Non-GMO Soybeans, Winter Wheat, Triticale, Winter Barley, Summer Forage Cover Crops, and Winter Cover Crops. ½ of our corn is milled and sent to Italy to make Barilla brand products and ½ of our corn is exported (mostly to Japan) for livestock feed or human consumption. 80% of our Soybeans are exported and 20% are high protein and used for food products. Winter Wheat goes to make bread, triticale and winter barley is for seed production for cover crop seed. Our summer forages feed our cattle herd and the winter cover crops protect our soil from erosion, hold nutrients in the field, help prevent weeds, and improve soil health. https://www.bottens.com/
Did you know most of our farm is dedicated to practice and product based research? Almost every field is comparing a planting technique, products and rate trials, crop rotation and many other experiments. We used large acreage, replicated tests to validate the best practices so we can share our results with other farmers.
Did you know I’m a crop consultant and I started California Ag Solutions to help farmers adopt minimum tillage and better nutrient management? Here are some of the crops I have worked with: Cotton (upland, hybrid, Pima), Tomatoes (processing, market), Corn (Silage, Sweet, Yellow, White), Wheat (Forage, Durum, Spring), Triticale Alfalfa, Onion (dehydrated, fresh), Garlic (dehydrated), Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Garbanzos, Wine Grapes, Almonds and several species of cover crops. I also developed or was a key part of several farming innovations including preserved bed cotton, min till and strip till tomatoes, cover crops for tomatoes, Strip till and no till planting equipment for forages, equipment and cover crops for Almonds, Pistachios and Walnuts. Many of which have become standard production practices today. https://www.calagsolutions.com/
Did you know I developed biological based products to improve soil and crops while reducing fertilizer inputs? Our crop nutrition approach focuses on soil health and is based upon using the most efficient nutrient at exactly the right time and place. We focus on optimization, not ease or cost. This leads to maximum profitability while minimizing negative impacts. I get to work with a team of amazing chemists, biologists, and formulators to develop products to fit farmers’ needs.
Did you know I started Ag Solutions Network to allow farmers across the country to utilize our products and techniques? We currently work with farmers from Indiana to California helping them adopt the soil health principles within their own farming context. I have visited several farms and worked with their local consultants in CA, AZ, MT, CO, NE, KS, MO, IA, IL, IN, and MI. https://www.agsolutionsnetwork.com/
Did you know that I started the AgEmerge podcast and conference as a way to merge Ag Technology Startups and the Regenerative Ag Movement together to create the farming of the future? I have been blessed to get to know many thought leaders, innovative farmers, researchers and downright interesting people involved in food. Now I get to have them speak at our conferences or be on our podcast. While the podcast is aimed at helping farmers think and farm differently, you might enjoy listening to the podcast. These amazing connections have certainly expanded my thinking. https://www.agsolutionsnetwork.com/agemergepodcast
Did you know that I am an angel investor in AgTech startups and provide advisor services to many AgTech Startups? While I’m not Mr. Wonderful from Shark Tank, I do invest in companies that can make a promising impact for regenerative agriculture. One that you are most familiar with is www.NoFence.no which makes a virtual fencing solution which we are piloting in the North American Market. I am a part of Ag Startup Engine in Ames, IA and I am constantly advocating for technologies that support regenerative agriculture. https://www.agstartupengine.com/ Some additional investments that I have been involved with include: https://terzopower.com/ https://www.herddogg.com/ https://grassrootscarbon.com/pasture-map/ https://ravenind.com/products/autonomy/raven-cart-automation https://www.pheronym.com/
Did you know we started Grateful Graze as a way to improve soil health? We were practicing 4 of the 5 soil health principles (minimizing disturbance, keep the soil covered, always have a living root, plant diversity) but we had not implemented #5, integrate livestock. So we began raising cattle which then we decided to sell the beef directly to consumers which led to chicken, then eggs, then pork. We have found that integrating livestock is the most amazing thing that we have done to improve soil health. https://gratefulgraze.com/
Bottom line is I’m like a Farmers Insurance commercial, I know a thing or two because I’ve seen a thing or two.
So what and who cares? Everything I do revolves around our mission: We believe in doing the right thing, always. No matter how hard, inconvenient, costly, or different it might be. I have first hand experience with many things revolving around farming and food production and I can spot BS, greenwashing, and potential for unintended consequences. I am hyper vigilant to make sure we are always doing the right thing.
Now is the time to dig deeper now that you know your digger a little gooder! I look forward to addressing and providing the truth behind several topics. From conventional farming greenwashing industrial ag to food experts simply regurgitating the latest trendy topic for clicks, I will dig deep and provide you with the knowledge you need to be fully informed.
Got a great question? Something you’re confused or worried about? Ask it, if it is something I can speak to with experience or authority, I will. If I can’t, I might be able to point you in the right direction. Simply email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
As always, thank you for being a customer and making our regenerative farm possible. We simply could not do it without you.
Let’s go deeper!
Piggy soy questions
Comment was deleted but it was about the unintended consequences of GMO/editing.