Some residents of the Arkansas Delta – potential participantsin Heifer’s new Seeds of Change project – got their first look at functioning organic agriculture last weekend at Heifer Ranch in Perryville, Ark.
|Trainer Chuck Crimmins shows off new seedlings|
Because there are few examples of chemical-free agriculture in the Delta, where cash crops dominate, the four visitors had a lot to learn. Some have already grown crops on the fertile Delta land and others are first-time producers. They were intrigued by niche animal agriculture, including goats, chickens, and bees.
|Farmer Everette Woods|
Now, as Woods feels himself being squeezed out of the industry by larger players, he’s looking to try a different style of farming. Heifer is a natural partner. Seeing the breadth of knowledge needed to keep an organic farm in balance without chemicals he marveled, “This is hard work!”
In one day, trainers Chuck Crimmins and Paul Casey could only skim their detailed knowledge of sustainable agriculture. Every question that the participants asked only cracked another volume of unique challenges and clever solutions. Rotating crops for healthy soil? Chuck could spend days on it. Sheep parasites? Paul could write a book.
|Trainer Chuck Crimmins and Chris Johnson of Hughes, Ark. talk chickens.|