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Soil Building Techniques and Practices a Focus at PASA Conference

Posted by Michele Spencer at Jan 22, 2013 01:21 PM |

Got Dirt? Get Soil!
PASA’s Farming for the Future Conference offers workshops on soil, grazing & Holistic Management™


MILLHEIM, PA. January 22, 2013 -  The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) announces the Soils, Grazing & Grass-Based Land Management pre-conference track, led by Abe Collins. This one-day track is being held as part of the 22nd Annual Farming for the Future Conference, and will take place Thursday, February 7, 2013 at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel in State College, PA. This track is one of 12 pre-conference tracks offered as part of the overall conference, which runs February 6-9, 2013.

Abe Collins is committed to making topsoil through grazing and agricultural management. He’s spent a lifetime on the farm. He has milked cows and now finishes beef on grass. Abe is committed to making cattle fat and topsoil deep and to achieving environmental security and resilient economies via regenerative agriculture.

The Soils, Grazing & Grass-Based Land Management pre-conference track is designed help graziers, and others working on the land, manage the most complex systems imaginable: microorganisms, plants and animals, soil and society. As farmers move beyond “formula grazing” and other rote practices, they begin to more deeply understand how the complexities of rest, impact and disruption on the land work in synergy over time to produce meat, milk, increased forage and crops, topsoil, carbon sequestration and diversity. They also begin to appreciate the financial, ecological and social capital that is gained by these practices.

Abe Collins will lead attendees through a day that will combine practical grazing and land use experience with functional lessons in land and water management, including the use of Keyline plowing. He will explore in-depth aspects of soil building from the dynamic perspective, translating it to action on the land.

According to Collins, “Improving the soil and its benefits to the environment is one of the goals of grazing management.” His work includes interacting with a coalition of farmers dedicated to reducing global warming through grassland management that will take carbon out of the atmosphere and transform it into stable soil organic matter.


Abe Collins also works to make connections between rural providers and urban beneficiaries, communicating an appreciation of the actual value of environmental services and benefits found in well-managed topsoil. He has a strong interest in using advanced soil monitoring and watershed modeling to complement the learning curves of land managers and quantify the value that they create for watersheds, cities and nations. Land managers and those who focus on building soil, but whose predominant work is other than grazing, will benefit from this perspective.

Collins currently grazes a herd of Devon-Angus crosses on Cimarron Farm in St. Albans, Vermont. Before that, he spent a decade in Arizona and Colorado working in grazing and land restoration. He works from the perspective of Holistic Management, and he is an advocate of Holistic Management™ Planned Grazing.

Abe Collins will also be one of the 100+ speakers making presentations during the main conference sessions, held on Friday, February 8th and Saturday, February 9th.

In addition to workshops on grass-fed beef, planned rotational grazing, and grazing hogs and dairy cattle, the main conference offers a Holistic Management™ (HM) Series. This series will train attendees on the tools and techniques of Holistic Management™ - a whole farm planning process that considers the triple bottom line, that simultaneous consideration of relevant economic, environmental and social effect. Farms and ranches that practice Holistic Management are experiencing up to a 300% increase in profit while building their biological assets and improving quality of life. Workshops for all levels of familiarity with HM will be available.

Byron Shelton, the owner of Landmark Diversified based in Buena Vista, Colorado, and a Savory Institute Associate Consultant, will provide facilitation and training in whole farm planning using Holistic Management™ Decision-making. He travels nationally to teach workshops on Grazing Planning, Financial Planning, Ecosystem Processes Management, Biological Monitoring and Land Planning.  Troy Bishopp will present a workshop on the use of practical year-round grazing charts as part of a planned grazing and monitoring system.

Over the past two decades, the Farming for the Future Conference has secured a reputation as a premiere gathering place for leaders in the global sustainable food movement. The 2013 conference is expected to attract more than 2,000 farmers, chefs, students, business leaders and others from over 30 U.S. states and several foreign nations.

The Farming for the Future Conference is made possible in part by Opening Keynote sponsor Lady Moon Farms and PASAbilities Sponsor Kimberton Whole Foods.

To learn more about the Farming for the Future Conference, and to register online, visit pasafarming.org/conference.

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About PASA
With over 6,000 members, the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) is one of the largest and most active sustainable agriculture organizations in the U.S. Through educational programs and regional marketing assistance for farmers, advocacy, and public outreach, PASA seeks to promote profitable farms that produce healthy food for all people while respecting the natural environment. PASA’s hallmark event, the Farming for the Future Conference, draws thousands of participants from more than 30 states and six countries each February. For more information, visit pasafarming.org.
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