Beyond sustainable: Shepherd’s Grain regenerates the land

What is no-till, direct-seed farming and why is it important ?

The internet age enables us to be more conscious consumers. With easier and more access to information, people are asking more questions about where their food, clothes, and everyday items are coming from.

In fact, 81% of Americans surveyed said they want better food options that protect the environment.1

Some companies may fear this level of exposure, and many do their best to keep their secrets under lock and key.  

Shepherd’s Grain is happy to spill the beans (yes, some of our farmers also grow garbanzo beans). As one of our growers Allen Druffel said, “If a farmer isn’t proud to show you their operation, then there should be a concern.” It’s why one of our core values is transparency. Our growers are happy to share their way of life with you.  

Farming is a science under constant exploration. With a mixture of Mother Nature and man-made tools and supplies, farmers rely on tracking and experimenting to improve crop quality and increase yield. There are no universal solutions because of things like climate, how long the land has been farmed, and the farming methods used.  

Conventional farming uses heavy tillage (loosening soil and removing weeds), which increases soil erosion (versus natural causes like wind and water movement). 

According to a report cited by the EPA in 2004, soil is eroding 10-40x faster than it’s renewing.2

This is not sustainable.

Erosion2.jpg

 

Shepherd’s Grain farmers, like many farmers worldwide, have made the switch to no-till, direct-seed farming. It’s exactly like it sounds. Instead of turning the soil, growers plant the seed directly into the ground and leave behind the organic matter.  

By not disrupting the natural microbiology occurring (think earthworms and such), there are more nutrients left behind, which end up in the wheat and eventually on your table. So, you get tastier food and the farmers can boast higher quality crops, as well as a greater yield. 

Plus, by not tilling the land, less carbon is emitted. Retired Ohio State University Extension agricultural engineer Randall Reeder claims, “If all the land farmed around the world was in no-till, we could probably reverse climate change.” Is this feasible? Some argue no, but we’d argue that it’s an “over the moon” goal we should certainly move towards.  

Sustainability isn’t just about soil health. Our family farms follow the strict standards set by the Food Alliance to be certified as a sustainable product, which includes workers’ rights, supply chains, and more.  

This is not unique to wheat farming. Don’t be afraid to ask your favorite brands about their practices. Other industries are also jumping on the transparency bandwagon. And, of course, we’re happy to answer any questions you have about ours. 

Watch this video to see footage from our farms and more on our sustainable practices.  

Sources 

1 https://www.statista.com/topics/2217/sustainable-food-industry-statistics-and-facts/ 

2 https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10668-005-1262-8