2015-03-09. Farmers Put Down the Plow for More Productive Soil.

posted Mar 10, 2015, 9:22 AM by Alan Gould
Erica Goode, The New York Times. For GSS Loosing Biodiversity chapter 5. Excerpt: ...Gabe Brown ... a balding North Dakota farmer ... is talking about farming, specifically soil-conservation farming, a movement that promotes leaving fields untilled, “green manures” and other soil-enhancing methods with an almost evangelistic fervor. Such farming methods, which mimic the biology of virgin land, can revive degenerated earth, minimize erosion, encourage plant growth and increase farmers’ profits, their proponents say. And by using them, Mr. Brown told more than 250 farmers and ranchers who gathered at the hotel for the first Southern Soil Health Conference, he has produced crops that thrive on his 5,000-acre farm outside of Bismarck, N.D., even during droughts or flooding. He no longer needs to use nitrogen fertilizer or fungicide, he said, and he produces yields that are above the county average with less labor and lower costs. “Nature can heal if we give her the chance,” Mr. Brown said.....  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/10/science/farmers-put-down-the-plow-for-more-productive-soil.html.