Loder's Micro-farm

The first time the Loder family came to the micro-farm, they were greeted by a three acre alfalfa field and a long gravel driveway leading to a 1600-square-foot log cabin, a few outbuildings, pens typical of livestock ownership, a small hay barn, and a chicken coop. It was love at first sight. Over time, they added to the log cabin and added several pens, outbuildings, and goats to the farm, the original owners were goat farmers too. The three acre alfalfa field was turned into a pasture. As they have lived and worked to produce better meat for their family they have realized that the soil is an important part of that process. They are moving into regenerative farming. In this process of regenerative farming pasture is viewed as an independent organism that is part of their farm ecosystem.

Regenerative agriculture is more than just soil health; it is a partnership between us and nature. Where we become part of an ecosystem working with nature to produce better soil, crops, and livestock. in The pasture itself is viewed as a living creature

The five principles of regenerative agriculture are: 

  1. Minimizing soil disturbances. Physical and chemical disturbance to the soil causes damage to the micro-flora and fauna that form the soil ecosystem. 
  2. Soil coverage. Covering the soil with living plants or a mulch protects the soil from rain impact but allows water to percolate gently. A good soil cover also prevents overheating or freezing.
  3. Increased plant diversity. Planting a variety helps to improve soil quality, prevents soil erosion, and minimizes weed growth. The diversity of the plants helps create a diverse community of underground soil microbes, which leads to better soil health.
  4. Keeping living roots in the soil. Living roots keep the underground ecosystem functioning. Plants exchange nutrients with bacteria and fungi in the soil.
  5. Integrate animals into the farm. Livestock supports the regeneration of soil. Livestock help increase living creatures in the soil, improve soil biodiversity, and boost soil fertility. This enhances the plant life, which in turn improves animal health.

Regenerative agriculture is essential because it improves soil fertility, prevents soil degradation, increases nutrient efficiency, increases crop yield, optimizes land use, and improves water efficiency. It reduces pesticide usage, increases natural habitats, and improves farming longevity.

We will start our regenerative journey by improving our soil. Because our field currently has a lot of foxtail and grass that has crowded out the other plants. We will be deep-tilling it for the first and last time. We will then plant about 21 varieties of legumes and grass and browse. Our field is only 2.75 acres, making perennial crop rotation impractical, but we may plant various annuals when needed. When ready, we will introduce our goats to the pasture. We will rotate them through 3 to 6 paddocks with an electric fence.