Manage episode 210060179 series 2249744
Steve Diver has earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Horticulture and has conducted research on fruit and nut production, and seasonal changes in elemental concentration in pecan fruit and leaves. He has served as the Extension Horticulture Agent in Muskogee County, Oklahoma, and has also worked as an Agriculture Specialist with the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service. In 2010, he established an independent firm, Agri-Horticultural Consulting, which provided soil analysis and consultancy services in eco-agriculture, organic and sustainable farming, and environmental sciences.
In this episode, Steve and I discuss rock powders, biology, and bioenergetics, the oxidation/reduction potential in soils, the use of liquid biological agents in soil health and crop success, and the value of bioenergetics in agriculture. Steve has some really great knowledge from his many years of experience in the lab and in the field.
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Episode 13 - Steve Diver - Highlights
3:06 - What are Steve’s memorable moments leading him to where he is today?
- Steve got a good introduction to organic and biodynamic farming
4:35 - What did Steve encounter that was different compared to the work he had been doing?
- Steve has been interested in organic agriculture for a long time
- 3 pillars of eco agriculture: minerals, biology, bioenergetics
6:50 - What lead Steve add bioenergetics to minerals and biology in these pillars?
9:10 - Discussion around Oxidation/Reduction Potential -Eh (Redox)
12:40 - What is something that has surprised Steve over the years?
- Prairies have a very fungal nature
- Steve was finding high ratios of fungal to bacteria on prairies (7.5:1)
- Liquid biological amendments (LBA)
14:40 - What kind of crop response was Steve seeing?
- Using both a LBA and some kind of management practice (with some sort of rotational grazing) can lead to impressive changes in species composition
- Roadmap: Above ground plant succession is mirrored by below ground soil food succession
16:50 - Can the use of LBAs change the health of crops, and also types of plants that would become dominant in certain ecosystems
- The story of the postage stamp farm and the very effective use of LBAs
18:20 - When we consider applying biological inoculants to the soil profile, how do we ensure this inoculant actually survives?
- Qualitative assessment, lab testing, and microscopic analysis
19:50 - What is something that has puzzled Steve for a long time?
- The slow nature of the agriculture as a whole - industry, government, education
21:30 - What is the opportunity in agriculture today?
- The ability to grow crops that perform well, yield well, are pest resistant, have high nutrient density without relying on so many chemical inputs
- Soil health has taken a back seat (soil testing, mineral balancing, etc.)
24:30 - Substantial yield/quality responses from integrated systems
- In most cases when regenerative principles are applied, there is a strong yield response - Often in the first year, always by the second year.
26:30 - Based on Steve’s experience, how much are growers leaving on the table?
- There is a perceived dichotomy of organic vs. conventional farming, but there is a difference between the terms organic, sustainable, biodynamic, zero budget natural, integrated crop livestock, etc.
- Regenerative agriculture is a good term to cover what you can do to regenerate and improve farm ecology
- For the conventional farmer still chemically based - there are many resources: information, field days, workshops, seeing what others are doing.
- Actionable advice: Conventional farmers can greatly benefit by simply adding cover crops
- Bioenergetics are the icing on the cake - you need the fundamentals down first (organic matter management, nutrition, fertility)
32:00 - What is a non-mainstream view that Steve believes to be true?
- Korean Natural Farming (KNF)
- Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF)
- Read some more books, tap into more of these topics!
- Slowly add new principles to the farm, do testing
- Increasing species of cover crops can make a huge difference
35:20 - What are some resources Steve would recommend?
- Acres U.S.A
- Plug into the 3 pillars of eco-agriculture (minerals, biology, bioenergetics)
- William Albrecht, Gary Zimmer, Neal Kinsey
- Remember: It’s a lifelong learning process
36:15 - What Steve has learned about farmers
- Incredibly innovative
- Regardless of where in the world - farmers have a lot of brainpower!
39:40 - What is the question Steve wishes he was asked?
- More depth into bioenergetics - what do the terms mean?
- Steves advice: look into what is going on in holistic health and holistic agriculture
41:40 - Going through different eras in agriculture
- Through the chemical era, into the biological and ecological era
- Organic produce and holistic health used to be black sheep - now they are becoming widely accepted
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