42 episodes

From your friends at Acres U.S.A., the Voice of Eco-Agriculture since 1971, Tractor Time is a conversation between farmers, authors, advocates and legendary voices in the world of eco-agriculture.

Acres U.S.A.: Tractor Time Tractor Time by Acres U.S.A.

    • Earth Sciences
    • 4.8, 21 Ratings

From your friends at Acres U.S.A., the Voice of Eco-Agriculture since 1971, Tractor Time is a conversation between farmers, authors, advocates and legendary voices in the world of eco-agriculture.

    Tractor Time Episode 42: Gerry Gillespie on Renewing Soil with 'Waste'

    Tractor Time Episode 42: Gerry Gillespie on Renewing Soil with 'Waste'

    When you think about recycling, what do you see — plastic containers piling up in the garage maybe? The overflowing bin of clinking wine bottles you’re more than a little embarrassed by on pickup day? Do you just see waste? Out of mind once it’s out of sight.
    Or … do you see a farm?
    Today, we’re talking with Gerry Gillespie. When he thinks about recycling, he sees healthy soil and nutritious food. He sees communities coming together to claim the rightful value of what most of us think of as trash.
    In his native Australia, Gillespie saw two big problems he wanted to fix: farmland that had been degraded by years of chemical agriculture and overstuffed landfills that were belching methane into the atmosphere.
    The answer to both problems would be to harness a largely untapped resource hiding in plain sight — the massive amounts of organic matter being discarded every day. We’re talking about yard waste, cardboard and newspaper. We’re talking about kitchen scraps — the potato peels, the coffee grounds, the eggshells. What if we could capture these nutrient-rich resources and funnel them into regenerative farming systems?
    An internationally recognized recycling expert, Gerry Gillespie wants to challenge our preconceptions about waste. And he’s been doing this kind of work for decades. He’s a pioneer in the Zero Waste movement and the mastermind behind the City to Soil project, which connects household organic matter with farmers. He is the author of a new book from Acres U.S.A. called The Waste Between Our Ears: The Missing Ingredient to Disrupt Climate Change is in the Trash. He’s traveled all over the world to spread the word, but he calls New South Wales home.

    • 54 min
    Tractor Time Episode 41: Darby Simpson on Finding Opportunity During a Pandemic

    Tractor Time Episode 41: Darby Simpson on Finding Opportunity During a Pandemic

    On this episode, we’re talking with Darby Simpson. If Tractor Time is only but a part of your farming podcast diet, you may already know who he is. He does the Grassfed Life podcast with Diego Footer. He’s also a contributor to Acres U.S.A. magazine. And what I really value about his perspective is its practicality. Through his podcasts and online courses, it’s clear he wants to help equip farmers with the tools to run successful farms — not just act out a romantic, Instagram version of farm life. He truly puts the economical in eco-agriculture. But he’s a conscientious farmer too, running a pasture-based, non-GMO livestock operation in Indiana, located between Indianapolis and Bloomington. In this interview, we talk about everything from farm diversification to the future of farmers’ market to the impact of COVID-19. Darby’s answers are thoughtful, insightful and, hopefully, prophetic.

    • 55 min
    Tractor Time Episode 40: Marty Travis on Farming in a Time of Fear

    Tractor Time Episode 40: Marty Travis on Farming in a Time of Fear

    Recently, an Acres U.S.A. reader gave us a piece of sheet music he found while cleaning out his barn. The song’s called “The Farmer Feeds Us All.” It’s an old standard that has been performed in some form or fashion by everyone from Fiddlin’ John Carson to Pete Seeger to Ry Cooder. You should go listen to it. I’ll link to the Fiddlin’ John Carson version in the show notes. 
    I’ve been thinking about this song as the coronavirus pandemic lays low entire sectors of the U.S. and world economy, spreads sickness to the rich and poor alike, and gathers a dark cloud of fear and uncertainty over our future.
    And yet, as national emergencies often are — at least for a time — the pandemic has been clarifying, forcing us to think about what truly matters most. Now, if you watch the evening news, you might assume that’s toilet paper. But for many, this time has been about reconnecting with loved ones. It’s been about reconnecting with the things that nourish us — things like faith, family and food.
     Along with “social distancing,” “essential services” has been one of the new phrases to enter our lexicon over the last few months. In addition to health care providers and grocery store workers, we are reminded during this time that farmers, too, are essential to our survival.
    We here at Acres U.S.A. have always marveled at the determination and the creativity small farmers show us in their tireless efforts to bring us nutritious food. In preparing for our May issue, which we put together this month, we reached out to many of these men and women to see how they were weathering the storm. What we heard was inspiring. Farmers aren’t panicking. They’re just getting to work.
    Marty Travis runs Spence Farm in Illinois along with his wife Kris and son Will. He’s also an Acres U.S.A. author. His book, My Farmer, My Customer can be found at the acresusa.com bookstore. Marty leads a co-op of farmers that serves some of the top restaurants in the Chicago area (watch the documentary Sustainable for more on that). Many of those restaurants went into hibernation during the outbreak, but they didn’t forget about Marty’s group. The chefs put out the word that there was plenty of fresh food for sale. The demand from families was so high that the co-op saw a big spike in its usual revenue. And even though he had barely slept a wink when we talked to him this month, Marty was still finding time to offer farmers words of encouragement. I was really inspired by what he had to say and I hope you are too.

    • 26 min
    Tractor Time Episode 39: Sherri Dugger and Judith McGeary

    Tractor Time Episode 39: Sherri Dugger and Judith McGeary

    On this episode of Tractor Time, we’re presenting a double feature on farm activism. We caught up with Sherri Dugger and Judith McGeary at the Acres Eco-Ag Conference in Minneapolis back in December. Both of them were speakers at the multi-day event, which pulls in leaders in sustainable farming from all over North America and beyond. Sherri and Judith  are at the forefront of efforts to empower small farmers and to fight for better food policy. When we spoke with Sherri Dugger she was fresh off a trip to Washington D.C. It was there that Sherri and group of farmers and ranchers voiced their support of the Green New Deal. Sherri worked for years as a journalist, and she’s just as surprised as anyone that she’s evolved into a leading activist for farmers. Just recently, she was named as the executive director of the Socially Responsible Agriculture Project. Before that she was executive director of the Women, Food and Agriculture Network. She is the co-chair of the national Farmers and Ranchers for a Green New Deal coalition, which we talk about in this episode.
    Judith McGeary is an attorney and activist. She’s a farmer in Cameron, Texas, and she’s the founder and executive director of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance. She’s a passionate advocate for building durable local food systems and a fierce critic of government policies that don’t serve small farmers. She’s a force of nature who uses her expertise in law to empower her fellow farmers and to set lawmakers straight.

    • 53 min
    Tractor Time Episode 38: Mimi Casteel and Regenerative Wine

    Tractor Time Episode 38: Mimi Casteel and Regenerative Wine

    Tractor Time is brought to you by Acres U.S.A., the Voice of Eco-Agriculture. On this episode, we welcome Mimi Casteel, a wine maker in Oregon's Eola-Amity Hills. At Hope Well Vineyard, Casteel is blazing her own trail and fast becoming one of the leading voices in the regenerative agriculture movement. Mimi talks eloquently and brilliantly — not just about wine, but agriculture and land use in general. As you’ll hear, her beyond-organic farm is singular within the American wine world. It’s not your typical vineyard, with its neat and tidy rows, it’s a dynamic ecosystem that incorporates livestock, welcomes in wild animals, eschews industrial inputs and produces prized pinot noirs. And for this work, Mimi was recently named the Wine Person of the Year by Imbibe Magazine.
    She grew up on her parent’s vineyard, and winemaking is truly in her blood, but so are wild landscapes, the ones she drew nourishment and meaning from when she was a botanist for the Forest Service. She left that job in 2005 to work at her family’s vineyard and eventually started her own on an old Christmas Tree farm. Although it might be a surprising coming from a former Forest Service employee, she believes that the world won’t be saved by wilderness areas, but by completely re-envisioning how we grow our food.

    • 58 min
    Tractor Time Episode 37: Dr. Zach Bush on Farming, Glyphosate and Human Health

    Tractor Time Episode 37: Dr. Zach Bush on Farming, Glyphosate and Human Health

    Dr. Zach Bush is a triple-board certified physician, with a focus on internal medicine, endocrinology, and hospice and palliative care. He currently runs a clinic in rural Virginia that focuses on plant-based nutrition and holistic health. He’s an entrepreneur with a mind-boggling array of projects to his resume. So why is he on a podcast devoted to sustainable and organic agriculture? It’s quite a story, as you’ll hear. At his clinic a few years ago, Dr. Bush began noticing that nutrition-based medicine just wasn’t working as he had expected. Some of his patients were just getting sicker. That led him on a journey deep into a dysfunctional and toxic agricultural system that through the heavy use of chemicals like glyphosate is robbing crops of nutritional value, accelerating the decline of human health, destroying the environment and paving the way for mass extinction. Yeah, it gets pretty bleak — there’s talk of disease, cataclysm and collapse — but stick with it — because Dr. Bush is at heart a radical optimist. He believes that regenerative agriculture can save the world by creating healthy soils that will sequester carbon, reverse climate change, produce highly nutritious food and create healthy humans. To further that mission, Dr. Bush has started Farmers Footprint, a nonprofit that aims to transition 5 million acres to regenerative practices by 2025. According to Dr. Bush, all successful revolutions start with farmers.

    • 1 hr 24 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
21 Ratings

21 Ratings

CH555 ,

Thanks for Knowledge & Wisdom

Thank you for sharing the wisdom and knowledge from Biological/Ecological Farmers. Tractor Time, thanks for being the voice of Acres USA, which does a great job of sharing old and new information that contributes to an ongoing understanding and learning of how we can grow healthy quality food in alignment with the awesome power and dynamic qualities of nature. Thank you for standing up for a healthy quality life for people and a beautiful healthy natural environment.

Cats 82 ,


Thanks for playing Jeff Moyer’s talk from the 2018 conference. That should be aired nationally during prime time on TV for everyone to hear!!

Joe Green Garden Acres ,

Great Subjects But Needs Some Improvement

Acres USA and its conference archives has an incredible wealth of ecological and sustainable agriculture knowledge! Some of which has been shared on this podcast. Cannot wait for the next broadcast.

Yet, the voice quality and volume has been at times sub-par. You control the volume in production and yet the introductions and wrap-ups can be low or too loud compared to the rest of the broadcast.

A suggestion ... given your vast archives why not offer a weekly "archives" podcast that would deal with some of the higher level agricultural science issues and concepts Acres is known for. Maybe call it "Acres Eco-Ag Archives." Plus, keep the "Tractor Time" podcast for timely interviews and more hands-on agriculture information.

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