the irresistible fleet of bicycles

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Jonathan Cobb holds soil from Green Fields Farm in Rogers, Texas.

Rick Haney, gangly and garrulous, paces in front of a congregation of government conservationists, working the room for laughs before he gets to the hard data. The U.S. Department of Agriculture soil scientist points to an aerial photograph of research plots outside his facility in Temple, Texas. “Our drones took this shot,” he says, then shakes his head. “Kidding. We don’t have any drones.”

Forty sets of shoulders jerk in amusement. Paranoia about the federal government is acute in Texas, and Haney’s audience—field educators from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), part of a corps of around six thousand that works directly with farmers nationwide—hail from around the state. They’re used to suspicious scowls from farmers, who are as skeptical of the feds as they are of the outsiders who dwell on the downsides of agriculture. For the most part, the people in this room are both: feds and outsiders.

But what if those downsides—unsustainable farming practices—are also bad for a farmer’s bottom line? It’s the question Haney loves to raise during training sessions like this one, which the NRCS (today’s iteration of the Dust Bowl–era Soil Conservation Service) convenes around the country as part of a soil health campaign launched in 2012. Haney is a star at these events because he brings the imprimatur of science to something many innovative farmers have already discovered: despite what the million-dollar marketing campaigns of agrichemical companies say, farmers can use less fertilizer without reducing yields, saving both money and landscapes.

“Our entire agriculture industry is based on chemical inputs, but soil is not a chemistry set,” Haney explains. “It’s a biological system. We’ve treated it like a chemistry set because the chemistry is easier to measure than the soil biology.”

To read more, click HERE!

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farmshare austin currently accepting applications for spring 2016 program

Farmshare Austin, is a nonprofit dedicated to providing communities with healthy food by teaching the next generation of organic farmers.

“Using a blend of hands-on in-field training and formal classroom education, students will gain practical knowledge and experience in organic and sustainable growing methods, as well as learning the business and financial planning skills necessary to establish a successful market farm. Students will live and work on a seven acre organic farm in an intensive four and a half month immersion learning experience. Students will receive extensive in-field training in organic vegetable production with mentorship from experienced staff, and will work cooperatively to accomplish daily tasks for a 60 member CSA. Students will be exposed to all aspects of a working farm and will develop in-depth skills through this seasonal program. Daily activities may include bed preparation, planting, weeding, irrigation, harvest, and packing.

Students will also receive 200 hours of formal educational time. Students will participate in bi-weekly classes, along with farm walks, discussions, workshops, and monthly local area farm tours with opportunities to work with and learn from agricultural professionals and expert farmers. Students will benefit from individual attention, small class size, and evaluations for educational and training goals.

We are seeking vibrant, enthusiastic candidates who are committed to participating in an intensive twenty week training program in organic vegetable production.  Applicants should have a passion for sustainable agriculture and be prepared to submerse themselves in an inclusive learning community. We strive to select individuals who can contribute a diverse set of skills and knowledge, and are ultimately looking to create a healthy, happy, and active learning community.”

For more information click HERE!

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new podcast from txyfc

Episode #8 – Judith McGeary and The Texas Legislative Process


Join TXYFC, as we dive into the Texas legislative process with Judith McGeary, director of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (FARFA). Judith has been working for years to create and pass legislation that helps promote and support small farms in Texas and beyond. On Episode #8, Judith walks us through, step by step,  how the Texas Cottage Law – House Bill 970, put forth by FARFA – was passed into law. From conception of the bill in the farming community, to finding a legislative sponsor, to passing through various committees at the Texas capital, to finally becoming law. It’s a fascinating process, filled with priceless tips on how to make the legislative process work for small farms. Take a listen, and get learned!

Music on this episode: Eric LauDirty Art ClubLushlife, an Death in Vegas

Podcast (thisisthefarm): Play in new window | Download

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this is the farm

We love TXYFC podcasts!


Episode #7 features A+S Farm, based out of Moulton, TX. Shaun and Amy Jones raise heritage Gulf Coast Sheep for meat, utilizing an intensive pasture management system called “Mob Grazing”. We dive into the details on this, as well as the nitty gritty of moving from an urban setting to a rural one, with tips on how to get out into the country as painlessly as possible. They are making it happen super legit style – much to learn from these trailblazers!

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this is the farm podcast

another episode is up!  We’ll continue to periodically remind you of this helpful and inspirational podcast.


‘This Is The Farm’ – a podcast by the Texas Young Farmer Coalition. This week is Brad Stufflebeam, who is brilliant and very excellent.  You can find it here:

or subscribe to it here through iTunes:

Brief synopsis
On Episode #5, we talk with Brad Stufflebeam of Home Sweet Farm out of Brenham, TX. Home Sweet Farm is unique, in that they not only own and operate a highly diversified farm – fruits, veggies, and animals – but work cooperatively with other farmers in the area to help distribute their goods through Home Sweet Farm’s CSA (300+ strong) and retail storefront. Brad is truly a jack of all trades, with lots of practical advice, tips, and stories to share. Real talk!