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Noted soil health advocate to speak on campus

November 20, 2013

Gabe Brown Gabe Brown

The Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition and UNL Extension are hosting Gabe Brown, noted soil health advocate Nov. 21 from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. MST at the Chadron State College Student Center.

For more information or to register, contact Scott Cotton at 308-432-3373. The cost of $15 covers the cost of the meal. NGLC will cover the cost of all student registrations.

Ron Bolze, coordinator for the NGLC and a new lecturer in the CSC agriculture department, said, "Gabe Brown's methods of mob grazing cover crops on no-till row crop acres represents the future of row crop production with enhanced soil health. Increasing yields with less dependence upon expensive inputs needs to be the focus of the next generation of farmers."

Bolze, who has known Brown for a few years, visited his operation once in 2012 and once this year. Bolze said he has tried to persuade Brown to come to Nebraska for several years and is thrilled that he agreed to do so.

The current NGLC Chairman is Vern Terrell, a farmer and rancher, who lives south of Hay Springs.

Brown is one of the pioneers of the current soil health movement which focuses on regenerating natural resources. Brown, along with his wife Shelly, and son Paul, own and operate a diversified farm and ranch near Bismarck, N.D.

The Browns holistically integrate their grazing and no-till cropping system, which includes multi-species cover crops, with all-natural grass-fed beef, poultry and sheep.  This approach has regenerated the natural resources on the ranch without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides, according to Brown.  He said wildlife populations thrive in this ecosystem as well.

Whitetail deer, sharp-tail grouse, pheasants, partridge, turkey, raptors, coyotes, fox and many other non-game species make their home on the 5,000 acre ranch which is located two miles from the city of Bismarck.

Over 2,000 people visit the Brown’s ranch annually to see this unique operation. They have had visitors from all 50 states and 15 foreign countries.

Brown has been invited to speak across the US and beyond. He was honored with the NRDC's 2012 Growing Green Awards winner in the Food Producer category. For over 15 years, Brown has merged back-to-basics agrarian practices with innovative science-based sustainable farming techniques.

By making use of a zero-till cropping system, polyculture cover crop and polyculture cash crop rotations, he has successfully transformed conventional grazing and cropping operations into models of regenerative agriculture.

Brown's Ranch also integrates its cow-calf and grass-finished livestock operations with highly diverse crop rotation, which includes over 25 different cash and cover crops resulting in high yields and strong net profits. Brown's trailblazing work has made him a leader in regenerative ranch management.

Brown will share his experience with:

•             Decreasing inputs while increasing yields

•             Livestock – the missed income opportunity

•             Producing corn for only 1.42/bushel

•             Regenerating soil resource

•             Opportunities to bring the next generation into the operation.

•             Lowering cow wintering costs

Brown stops in Chadron on the last of a four-day, eight-stop traveling road show across Nebraska.

—CSC Information Services

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