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Graze


Fri, Feb 15th, 2002
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Monday, February 18, 2002

Last November, I interviewed my Big Woods neighbor and dairy farmer, Bonnie Haugen, about her methods of growing grasses and grazing cows to provide a sustainable system that is good for the cows, the land, the farmer and the consumer. After we toured her farm, she gave me a stack of publications to read, which included newsletters from the "Women, Food and Agriculture Network;" the "Land Stewardship Project;" and 10 issues of "Graze," a newsletter by and for graziers. I felt overwhelmed. My interest in grass farming was only peripheral to other interests, such as birdwatching, transcribing the century-old journals of a Lanesboro naturalist, writing a book, writing for the "Journal," wildlife habitat, geology, and water quality.

I hoped it would be sufficient to scan the publications without actually reading them. But, it's not in my nature to do things halfway and I soon found myself reading all the articles in all the newsletters. "Graze" interested me the most, because it addresses the real-life day-to-day concerns of graziers.

I read about the importance of organic matter to grass/pasture productivity; the hows and whens of rumen sampling; pushing the envelope with nitrogen; Vance Haugen's experiences in building low-cost milking parlors; seasonal farming; why pastures and cows need periods of rest; how, according to writer Karen Sullivan, "Overfeeding protein in a TMR (total mixed ration) leads to a vicious cycle of feeding more in the barn to compensate for reduced intake on pasture, which only further reduces intake of pasture; and why, according to editor Joel McNair, "Mainstream genetics stink."

Because of its thoughtful and provocative nature, I found Jim Van Der Pol's column, "Conversations with the Land," especially interesting. In the July 2001 "Graze," he wrote "The core of the concept of grass farming is in minimizing the expense side to take advantage of the biology of whatever plants and animals are being worked with." He referred to "the old practice of diversifying agriculture by growing grain crops to feed livestock, then using their manure to maintain the fertility of the crop acres." He complained of farm bills that keep grain prices low for the benefit of grain traders and large confinement operations, while "keeping crop production bills paid by means of an ever-growing farmer welfare check." He wrote, "As long as we are thinking of manure as a disposal problem and crops as .....
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Squirrelly Southeastern Minnesota

Fri, Feb 15th, 2002
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By John LevellMonday, February 4, 2002

While a select few see them as game to be hunted and eaten and some folks think they are cute and fun to observe, most Bluffland area residents view squirrels as just two or three sp ..... 
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Dear Virginia

Fri, Feb 15th, 2002
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Virginia CooperMonday, Febraury 18, 2002

Dear Virginia, My houseplants are infested with fruit flies, what do I do?

If these little bugs look like fruit flies, the plants are probably infested with fungus gnats. Not a threat to your p ..... 
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Hope for a man with a big head

Fri, Feb 15th, 2002
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Monday, February 11, 2002

I went to a seminar last week and tried to pay attention. Speaker after speaker talked about how they had to wear many hats in their jobs. This made me start thinking about hats. My mind wandered. I, too, wear many ha ..... 
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Two Journal writers have books in the works

Fri, Feb 15th, 2002
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Monday, Febraury 4, 2001

Two Journal contributors have been busily working on books that should be coming out in the next few months.

Nancy Overcott

Nancy Overcott, whose column At Home in the Woods appears regularly in the Jour ..... 
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Fri, Feb 15th, 2002
Posted in

Fri, Feb 15th, 2002
Posted in

Fri, Feb 15th, 2002
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Fri, Feb 15th, 2002
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To the Editor,

Our legislators have had a large surplus of our tax dollars for the past six years. The legislators (both Republican and Democrat) have been on a spending spree, which in the last ten years has doubled the state’s budget.
< ..... 
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