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Posts tagged as “prairie”

EcoSun Prairie Farm: Grow Grass, Sell Seed, Feed Cattle, Make Healthy Prairie

Mike from Iowa asked for a close-up of bluestem grass. Can do, Mike!

Bluestem, also known as turkey foot, also known as "ice cream for cattle." (CAH, 2014.08.21)
Bluestem, also known as turkey foot, "ice cream for cattle," and the key to putting the prairie back to work. (CAH, 2014.08.21)

Carter Johnson showed me this native grass and a whole lot more on his EcoSun Prairie Farm on a hot summer morning last week. I've written about Johnson's prairie farm and its philosophy before. The SDSU ecology professor gave a stirring speech on his vision for a working prairie at TedX Brookings last winter. But I wanted to see the Prairie Farm for myself.

Four-Wheeling and Talking Grass with Charlie Hoffman

If you see a pasture with just one kind of grass, that pasture's dead.
—Rep. Charlie Hoffman, 2014.08.19

My friend Charlie Hoffman (yes, that Charlie Hoffman) wasn't talking one-party rule in Pierre. (We'll get to that issue in another post.) He was talking about the prairie, several acres of which he currently occupies east and north of Eureka, west of Long Lake.

Charlie invited me up to his McPherson County farm last week to get the four-wheelers out and learn what the prairie is really about. I was all excited to hear a Republican legislator go all Aldo Leopold, but four-wheelers? I hadn't ridden four-wheeler since I was kid and rode three-wheeler. I figured I'd break my neck trying to keep up with hell-for-leather Charlie before I could get back to the motel to write up his prairie oasis.

Fortunately, Charlie showed less enthusiasm for the throttle than for the native grasses, the virgin soil, and the economy, geography, and archaeology of his land.
Hoffman4wheelerfarmCharlie Hoffman shows the cropland he's restoring to grass. He said his dad once told him there's no money in crops; the route to coming out ahead in farming is grass and cattle.

Livestock Producers Want Less Ethanol, More Feed; Solution in Prairie Restoration?

Does ethanol cause competition between fuel and food? Livestock producers think so. Faced with the current widespread drought, the National Pork Producers Council, the National Chicken Council (no, really!), the National Turkey Federation, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, and several…

The Earth Moves in Junius, Too

Funny how this works: yesterday I mentioned my debut column on the South Dakota Magazine website. Then this morning I find another Black Hills denizen with Lake County connections writing on the same Web pages. Pat Boyd, once from Chicago,…