Soil, CO2 and Health

All day Sunday March 1st (while returning from a carbon sequestering conference at Chico State) I was thinking about all the things we heard and trying to make sequestering carbon “sexy” (as Robb Wolf said). Not wanting to minimize what any of the speakers brought to the conference, but here is where my mind has gone … so far!

We heard that a study found early adopters of any new idea or technology were 300% more profitable than late adopters.
At 400ppm, CO2 is easier to sequester than at 200ppm.
It is almost as if there is almost an osmotic pressure of CO2.  Kind of like ET “CO2-Phone Home”    Hmmmm, is this what the PH means in soil tests. :-) :-)

All we have to do is
1) Put up the antenna

A) Minimum tillage to the soil—Every time we spray or till, we are pasteurizing the biology in our soil They are our friends. We need to promote their health to ensure our health.

B) Living root as long as possible—this is what feeds that biology after the biology delivers their load of minerals to the roots

C) Diversity of plants—the synergism of diversity simply makes everything in our environment healthier

D) Armor on the soil—We have to keep our soil “at home.” If it is washing away to the Gulf of Mexico, it does no one any good. Armor slows or prevents erosion.

Build a “Field of Dreams” and the CO2 will come

E) Use a time/numbers/duration/rest grazing program (Holistic Management International concepts)…

Add livestock and the CO2 will get sequestered

Once we get back to homeostasis with CO2 levels … it will require harder work on our part to sequester carbon.

We have to strike while the iron (world) is “hot” (excess CO2) to get the most effect out of being early adopters.

Nicolette Hahn Nihman has written a book that should have most beef producers happy.

Defending Beef: The Case for Sustainable Meat Production” is a very good read. Similar to “The Big Fat Surprise” Nicolette shows how the researchers biases skewed what data was published from the various studies done in regards to Beef’s contribution to the amount of CO2 in the air.

90% of what is technically possible in carbon mitigation in agriculture lies in pasture soil sequestration. We need to plant corn fields back to grass, or at a minimum plant cover crops in between cash crops.

Simply by putting in place the steps necessary to sequester carbon, we will be growing more nutrient rich food (and more of it on each acre}. And,conversely, if our goal is to grow more nutrient-rich food, we will be sequestering carbon.

Now if that does not have a triple bottom line, what does?

How does that old saying go, “Do the hard things and life is easy; do the easy things and life is hard.” “All farmers are in a is a powerful position because of our ability to impact people’s health, for good or not-so-good. We have to rise to the challenge and  change our live’s and our customer’s lives in a positive manner!

Perhaps  a slogan of “Sequester Carbon, live better” should be everyone’s Mission statement. A by-product of sequestering carbon is the increase in biology and minerals in the soil. It takes a combination of the three to produce nutrient dense foods.

Quoting a friend just who emailed me, “The earth looks sexier( brown dirt, vs lush grasses and trees), cows feel better, the people eating those cows feel better, and will become sexier.  When the inflammation in a person’ s body goes down, they lose weight,  probably look sexier. “