Thursday, 14 December 2017

A Look At How Technology Has Changed Farming

Innovations in technology have rapidly and greatly changed agriculture, especially in the past 70 years. Below are some manifestations of these changes.

Image source:

The Green Revolution took place in the 1960s, led by Dr. Norman Borlaug who worked since the 1940s on a growing process that permitted plants to thrive with new irrigation and crop- management techniques. This new approach reached its height in the ‘60s as new wheat varieties were made available in various countries in the world.

By 1975, the first rotary combines went into production. Their twin-rotor system allowed crops to be cut and separated in a single pass over the field. This especially benefited the harvest of corn, as it separated not just the husk and ears, but shelled kernels and chopped the stalks. Rotary combines drastically improved the efficiency of harvesting all over the globe.

1996 saw the introduction of the first GMO crops to the commercial market. Produced by Monsanto, soybeans and insect-protected cotton became available to farmers everywhere, sparking a worldwide debate on how they affect human and environmental health. This ultimately will give rise to more alternative farming methods like managed grazing and organic farming.

Image source:

Today, as the new year approaches and the third decade of the new millennium, new hi-tech innovations like drones, aerial satellite imagery, greenness sensors, and soil maps are being introduced. Farmers who are quick to adopt these innovations should yield the most benefits, going forward.

Geoffrey Morell co-founded the Weston A. Price Foundation back in 1999. It is a nonprofit organization that specializes in research for better meat and dairy products. For more on alternative farming methods, go to this blog.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

The Good And The Bad In Processed Meat Shopping

Image source:
When buying meat, the focus should be on getting the freshest cuts and shopping for something that can boost the nutrition of one’s meals. Experts typically warn against eating high amounts of processed meats such as sausages and pies, promoting meat in its wholesome, natural and untouched form.

But if one desires to eat processed meat, the Weston A. Price Foundation offers some healthy tips. It favors sausage, bacon, and processed meats from animals (preferably soy-free and GMO-free) that are allowed to graze, and processed without additives. These include pastured meats cured with salt, a small amount of sugar, and are naturally smoked. Also deemed acceptable are pastured meats cured with sodium nitrite and added sodium erythorbates or ascorbates, which are antioxidants required by the US Department of Agriculture.

Good options include sausage, bacon, and processed meats made using ingredients such as celery juice or powder, spinach juice or powder, carrot juice or powder, beet juice or powder, and sodium nitrate – but without MSG and similar additives.

When buying processed meats, one should steer clear of most commercial sausage, bacon, and processed meats that contain MSG, smoke flavoring, liquid smoke, dry milk powder, or high amounts of additives. It is also advisable to avoid processed meats that are high pressure treated.

Image source:
In general, one is recommended to buy meats that are grass-fed, beef with a rich red color, and with a bit of marbling where the fat runs through the meat in white veins. Good grass-fed meat will also be firm, its fat a buttery yellow. The animal should be raised in healthy and human conditions, free of growth-promoting hormones and chemicals.

Geoffrey Morell co-founded the Weston A. Price Foundation back in 1999 and today co-owns P.A. Bowen Farmstead, a company raising pasture-fed livestock and organically grown species. Read more on this page.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Environmentally friendly reasons why you should opt for organic meat and dairy

Whatever your diet preference is, opting to go organic is a truly great decision for a variety of reasons, primary of which are personal and environmental health. Here are more specific reasons why you should go all-out organic for your dairy and meat. 

Image source:

One, organically grown foods offer more nutrients, from vitamins and minerals to enzymes and micronutrients. This is because, unlike commercially grown foods, organic farms manage and nourish the soil following sustainable practices. Consider this data: organically grown foods provide 21.1 percent more iron, 27 percent more vitamin C, and 29.3 percent more magnesium on average.

Choosing organic meat and dairy also helps us avoid harmful chemicals, most of which have been sadly approved for use by the EPA before extensive diet testing. Keep in mind that over 600 active chemicals are registered for farming use in the U.S. alone. This means that the typical non-organic food consumer gets an average of 16 pounds of chemical pesticides per year. 

Going organic likewise means distancing further from genetically engineered (GE) food and genetically modified organisms (GMO). Since organic food cannot be genetically modified, it is the only way to prevent future health and environmental risks from the lab-replicated genes of GMOs. GMOs are taken from other plants, animals, and even viruses to give plants new characteristics like better resistance to insects or extreme heat. But there has yet to be a definitive study which can prove that GMOs do not harm both people and the environment. 

Finally, organic foods taste much better, too, because well-nourished and well-balanced soil leads to healthier and tastier produce. There are even organically grown plants that are grown more for taste over appearance, particularly the heirloom varieties.

Image source: 

Geoffrey Morell
co-owns the P.A. Bowen Farmstead, alongside Sally Fallon Morell. He likewise co-founded the non-profit organization Weston A. Price Foundation, which does research on the best food source for farm animals. For more on alternative farming methods, drop by this blog.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

The economic link between farming and technology

Most, if not all successful businesses, have leaders who know how to go with the times, who understand change as it should be. Companies with leaders who are stuck in an era or unwilling to learn fold up sooner or later. This is true for all kinds of businesses, including farms. 

Image source:

Now people who don’t know better might think that farms don’t go through change as much as say, IT companies. The common misconception is that farms don’t really need a lot of new technology to keep operating at maximum level. This couldn’t be more wrong. Technology plays a big part in a farm’s success. 

Take for instance two farms that supply the same produce in the same town. The size of the farms is the same. The manpower is the same. However, the owner of the first farm invests in big tractors, while the owner of the second farm stays with his old reliable engine. The result is that the first farm will overtake its competition in terms of production. The first farm will also be able to keep its prices lower, and in the end, grab the attention of more customers. 

Image source: 

Geoffrey Morell provides the community with high-quality farm products from his farm, P.A. Bowen Farmstead, which practices managed grazing of dairy cows, pigs, and poultry. Learn more about the Morells and their work by visiting this website.

Friday, 18 August 2017

How To Make Silvopasture Work: Reminders And Best Practices

Silvopastures pose unique challenges to farmers who intend to try different grazing environments for their livestock. The careful blending and management of trees, forages, and livestock can be difficult and time-consuming at first, but future benefits usually outweigh these initial troubles and quandaries. One just needs to advertently plan and gather valuable information about the method, making sure that decisions also take into account the characteristic needs of the location and the animals.

Image source:

An option for farmers with already a sizable woodlot to spare is to deal with the existing forest cover and canopy. A fair amount of work might have to be done since there are crucial things to consider like the density of crown cover which might prevent enough light from reaching the forage. Clearing undergrowth and, in some instances, pruning must be performed to open up the area. Pasture grasses suitable to these shade conditions should be chosen.

Proper integration in these multispecies ecological systems means ensuring their health and continued propagation, including the trees and natural water systems if they are part of the environment. Measures have to be in place to prevent animals from harming trees, but great care must be exercised as well in making sure the trees truly complement farm resources and not compete with them.

Most farmers prefer rotational grazing in this kind of pasture. Management of grazing and animal movement can be rewarding in the long run. Proper spacing and distribution of trees should be studied. When animals compete for shade in a pasture with few trees, this could destroy grass and might also be conducive to disease transmission.

Image source:

Geoffrey Morell acquired a 95-acre property and turned it into a farm that raises pasture-fed livestock and organically grown species. Apart from providing consumers with high-quality farm products, he also offers tours and classes of his farm. To learn more about traditional farming practices, visit this blog.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

More Benefits Of Grass-Fed Meat

Image source:
While most cows today are raised in confined spaces and are bred as part of an extensive animal-operation platform, we must note that these peaceful herbivores should be living in wide-open pastures while grazing on grass. This natural process allows livestock to eat better, which translates to humans eating healthier.

Most raised livestock become a victim of profit-driven companies that just want to breed the biggest cattle and poultry at the fastest time. But when they do get sick, they are often cured with hormones and antibiotics. Going back to a grass-fed method prevents these chemicals from transferring to our meat, which otherwise could directly lead to various fatal sicknesses like cancer. In fact, studies have shown that eating grass-fed meat actually fights off cancer.

Jo Robinson, author of the book Pasture Perfect, says that eating grass-fed meat from livestock will save the consumer 16,642 calories a year. This helps tremendously in our health and diet needs, and makes us appreciate the work done by cattle raisers who are implementing grass-fed methods.

Image source:
Also, studies show that grass-fed meat offers high vitamin A and E and antioxidants to prevent cancer. They likewise contain more omega-3 fatty acids and more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than grain-fed beef. Sound nutrition via grass-fed meat keeps our blood sugar under control and wards off diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome. Grass-fed meat is clearly the safer, healthier option.

Back in 1999, the nonprofit organization Weston A. Price Foundation was co-founded by Geoffrey Morell. The foundation spent its efforts researching the best food source for farm animals. More on his work and farming advocacies here.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Why Should Farmers Switch To Organic Farming?

The easy and quick answer would be profitability. In 2014, certified organic products have become an $80-billion industry. Recent studies have shown that organic farming is between 22 and 35 percent more profitable for farmers than conventional methods. 2017 projections should push these figures even higher.

The farmer has much to gain from organic farming since there’s no dependence on costly synthetic fertilizer and pesticides. Organic foods give more to the farmer for the produce, mainly because of the premium 21st-century consumers spend for them.

Image source:

Organic farming is the natural cultivation of plants, a process that uses biological materials and avoids synthetic substances, thus maintaining soil fertility and ecological balance while minimizing pollution and waste.

In organic farming, crops are grown and cultivated without synthetic-based fertilizers and pesticides, relying instead on ecologically friendly agricultural principles like using organic waste, biological pest control, green manure, and crop rotation.

Image source:

But more compelling than the profit is organic farming’s friendliness to the environment. At the heart of the organic farming principle is the conservation of natural resources and promotion of biodiversity. With the organic method, sources of water are uncontaminated. It creates less pollution, preserves sources of water, lessens the risk of cancer, and helps in pollination and care of domestic animals.

Geoffrey Morell, through his farm P.A. Bowen Farmstead, provides the community with the highest quality of farm products. More on the benefits of alternative farming here.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

When It Comes To Weeds In Farms

For farms where managed rotational grazing is done right, weeds won’t be so much of a problem. But that isn’t saying that they won’t be, eventually. In these kinds of farmlands, a huge portion of the niches already has already been occupied by forage species. What does this mean? It means weed will have a difficult time in establishing itself.

Image source:

In fact, it’s the usage of more than one species in rotational grazing that curtails weed growth. In addition to this, forage plants in managed rotational grazing are known to be healthy since there are periods when they aren’t the food. These plants are unstressed, and thus make the land more resistant to weeds. Compare that to cash grain crops wherein weed causes a lot of problems.

A lot of the plants in rotational grazing systems are very good for the animals, and have no need of management. But there are some plants like thistles, and a few known weeds that may either be impossible to digest, or even harmful. It is very important for farm owners to familiarize themselves with and identify these kinds of weeds. Farm owners also need to know that freeing a farm from weeds is almost impossible by using only a single method. Several methods have to be implemented, and a well-carved out plan has to be carried out.

Image source:

Geoffrey Morell provides the community with highest quality farm products from his farm, P.A. Bowen Farmstead. For more on farming, please visit this site.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Eat The Fats: Animal Fats Are Good For The Health

A common misconception about fats is that they are bad for one’s well-being.  That is only partially true as the types of fats that are unhealthy are the refined ones, such as vegetable fats processed from soy, corn, peanut, or others.

However, there are also good fats – examples are unrefined, saturated animal fats.  They contain protein and many more nutrients that are beneficial to the body.
Image source:
Some of the proven health benefits of consuming nourishing animal fats are the following:

Better body composition

Animal fats are rich in omega-3 and good cholesterol that improve the body processes that burn fat, e.g. metabolism and lipolysis, promotes hormonal balance, which maintains one’s lean physique and satiates cravings.

Improved cardiovascular health

Saturated fat is essential to cardiovascular health; they improve cholesterol ratio and reduces the risk of contracting heart diseases because the triglycerides are lowered, which, in turn, limits one’s sugar and carbohydrate intake.
Image source:
Stronger bones

The appropriate consumption of healthy animal fats helps calcium metabolism.While these fats do not provide the body with calcium and other nutrients needed for the bones, they enhance the bones’ absorption of these nutrients.  As a result, the bone mineral density is optimized, and osteoporosis can be prevented.

Geoffrey Morell is the co-owner of P.A. Bowen Farmstead, a farm that practices managed grazing to provide livestock with proper sustenance and shelter.  This ensures that the highest quality meat and dairy products are delivered to customers.  Follow this Twitter page to read more about the industry.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Common Pitfalls Every New Farmer Should Avoid

It’s easy to make mistakes when taking on a new endeavor. It takes a while to learn the new things when embarking on a new journey in life. This applies to anything, from learning a new sport, to starting a business, to putting up a farm. Here are some of the more common mistakes new farmers should look out for.

Image source:
Absence of a plan

Building a farm without a farm plan dooms the farm from the get-go. The layout of the farm is as important as any part of the farm. Farm plans help new farmers learn more about their lands, plotting out wetlands, drainage patterns, and the nature of the soil.

Image source:
Zero farming experience

A significant truth when starting a farm is the requirement of experience. Some people think farming is easy, without actually having tried their hand at it. People should have at least volunteered in a farm first to know how expert farmers use their time, seed, fertilizer, and water.

Neglecting transportation

Some new farmers neglect to consider and factor in transportation until it’s too late. This can cost the farm a lot of money in the long run. Without a solid transportation plan, taking all the yields from the farm to the market, especially if the market is located far away, can be a logistical and financial nightmare. Geoffrey Morell co-owns a farm that raises pasture-fed livestock and organically grown species. To know more about farming, visit this blog.