This is a show for professional growers and agronomists who want to learn about the science and principles of regenerative agriculture systems to increase quality, yield, and profitability.
Episode #80: Kelly Mulville
Kelly Mulville, a veteran agricultural consultant, is the Vineyard Director at Paicines Ranch in San Benito County, California. For more than 25 years, Kelly has been obtaining impressive results by merging his experience in viticulture with his understanding of Allan Savory’s holistic grazing management techniques. His approach to extended-season vineyard livestock grazing and other ecological practices continue to capture an audience of vineyard managers around the globe.
Kelly and John discuss in this episode:
How Kelly developed practices around incorporating sheep into his vineyard management. Flooring a wildlife biologist with the bird population data on Kelly’s vineyard after implementing new practices. The role plant-grazing animals play in reducing insect pressures. Kelly’s cover cropping strategy and how it has led to a diversity of 50 species of plants growing in the vineyard. The specific holistic management techniques inspired by Allan Savory’s work that have contributed to vineyard success. The adaptability of these practices on other crops like nuts and tree crops.
Episode #79: Joe Lewis
Joe Lewis is an internationally renowned scientist recognized for his work in entomology and agricultural studies. His discoveries in the behavioral and chemical interactions of parasitoids, insect herbivores, and plants have played a critical role in our understanding of ecological growing. He is also the author of A New Farm Language: How a Sharecropper's Son Discovered a World of Talking Plants, Smart Insects, and Natural Solutions.
Listen as Joe and John discuss:
Joe’s introduction to agriculture growing up on a Mississippi cotton farm The discovery of plants utilizing chemical compounds to alert parasitic wasps to the presence of caterpillars. The first demonstration of associative learning in parasitic wasps. Sensitivity of signals between plants and parasitic wasps, including how they differentiate from food and host. Environmental impacts that have led to unbalanced increases in insect pressures. The value of cover cropping to provide a nectar source for insects during production season. Changing the paradigm from “how to kill this pest” to “why is this pest a pest?” A New Farm Language by Joe Lewis: https://bookstore.acresusa.com/products/a-new-farm-language
Episode #78: Adam Chappell
Adam Chappell is a regenerative grower and cover crop advocate from Cotton Plant, Arkansas. Adam started growing with his dad and brother on their 7,500 acre property in 2005, but by 2009 pigweed issues alone had nearly pushed them into bankruptcy. Knowing there had to be a better way, Adam began educating himself about the power of regenerative agriculture, implementing a cover cropping strategy that he claims saved the family farm. Today, Adam’s operation grows a variety of broadacre crops and continues to make strides in ecological health and crop performance.
Throughout their conversation, Adam and AEA Founder John Kempf discuss:
Adam’s start in agriculture and how cover cropping brought the farm “from the brink of bankruptcy to a profitable enterprise.” Adam’s current methodologies for crop rotation and cover cropping. How the adoption of regenerative practices has contributed to improved profitability. Adam’s background in entomology and ecology and the shifts in insect populations he has seen over time. Questioning the necessity of soil testing and becoming wary of “sales tools.” Implementing Dr. Norman Lupo’s root intensification method and other row spacing strategies. Livestock integration and the story of Adam’s first purchase of cattle. Why Adam’s goals for the future include “getting smaller.”
Episode #77: Rick Clark
Rick Clark is a fifth-generation farmer from Warren County, Indiana. Driven by a desire to work alongside mother nature, Rick has been implementing regenerative practices on his farm for almost a decade. Rick’s commitment to soil health has allowed him to grow his operation to 7000 organic, no-till acres, in part by employing a variety of cover cropping and weed control techniques.
In their conversation, Rick and John Kempf discuss:
Rick’s journey to a fully organic operation Conventional agriculture’s “dependency on chemistry” and the best practices for conventional burn down Rick’s humbling experiences experimenting with cover crops in the early days How planting multiple cash crops together could be the future of agriculture Handling foxtail and other difficult weeds through regenerative practices The power of diversity and rotation in a no-tillage system Rick’s take on farm economics and how he is saving almost $1.7 million a year in inputs
Episode #76: Tim Parton
Tim Parton is a regenerative agriculture advocate and Farm Manager at Brewood Park Farm in the United Kingdom. Tim has been implementing regenerative practices on his 300-hectare estate for over 15 years. He has received several accolades for his work, such as being named the Arable Innovator of the Year by British Farming Awards and receiving the Farm Innovator of the Year award from Farmers Weekly.
Throughout their conversation, Tim and John discuss:
Tim’s background and retreat from intensive pesticide use. How balancing plant nutrition helped Tim cultivate canola seedlings that are resistant to flea beetles. Tim’s experience with Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus (or BYDV) and how he manages aphids in an ecological system. Foliar application systems and their economic impacts. Increases in commodity fertilizer prices and what this means for the financial viability of regenerative agriculture. How Tim has managed to not apply any NPK fertilizers for more than a decade. The cultural management practices that have replaced fungicide applications on Tim’s farm. The importance of carbon sequestration, educating consumers, and sharing information among growers.
Episode #75: James Johnson
James Johnson is a fourth-generation farmer in New Mexico and the Vice President of Carzalia Valley Produce. When James finally took over the family farm in the early 2000s the outlook of his operation seemed grim. After many years of trial and error with various practices, James found the Advancing Eco Agriculture team where he discovered the benefits of regenerative agriculture.
Thanks to his partnership with AEA, James achieved an outstanding yield of 1,490 lbs/acre for Pima Cotton at the end of harvest season 2020 while his county average was 880 lbs/acre!
In this episode, James and AEA founder John Kempf discuss:
The shift in agronomy management on James’ farm over the last 20 years. James’ first encounter with John Kempf and the similarities in their personal stories. The long-term effects of herbicide, insecticide, and pesticide use on crops from the perspective of a self-declared “recovering glyphoholic” Solving onion thrips and western flower thrips pressure with regenerative foliar applications, rather than insecticides. James’ observations on chlorpyrifos and diazinon—how their use affects non-target species and overall soil biology. The technology James uses as a self-proclaimed early adopter, including evapotranspiration platforms and an AI robot that pulls weeds.
The Library of Alexandria
In the world of agriculture there is no equal to this collection of brilliant scientists, farmers, and agronomists.
All episodes superb
As a climate change activist and earth lover, hearing any good news about our future gives me back the joy that leaks away over time. I don’t know where Kempf has been all these years, but I am so grateful he has emerged to show us what I knew and many many of us knew, that the earth can take care of herself very well, if we just stop destroying her. Just. Stop. Learn along with these earth workers that Ecology was right. Let’s open that book up again, Ecology for Dummies.
Treasure Chest of information
Bought 42 acres in Eastern TN a few years back. It’s mostly timber for the last 120 years. The pasture areas were subjected to chemical growing regimes for years and the soil is light beige and very poor.
The forest soil is dark brown.
I wanted to bring back the pasture areas.
This podcast has provided me just the information I need to heal my soil.
Thank you so much.
Keep up the amazing work!