Solar Harvest Farm     Steve & Michelle Heyer  Richie, Sheri & Sarah   7432 Marsh Road, Waterford, WI 53185
Phone: 262-662-5278  ·   Email: solarharvestfarm@yahoo.com
    Website: www.solarharvestfarm.com
20th Century
21st Century

Nature gravitates towards equilibrium.

From the predator-prey relationships of soil microbes to the electromagnetic differences between soil particles and minerals, there is one statement which is the harbinger of 21st century sustainable agriculture:

The greater our knowledge of soil biology and the effects of this  biology on our husbandry, the greater our chances of producing nutritionally sustainable food without  chemicals.

Diversity offers more than biology alone.

Rotationally-grazed cattle act as mowers for  pastured poultry. Pastured poultry return an even layer of fertility to pastures.  Pigs are happy to provide their muscle in converting cattle bedding packs into compost.  Pigs are equally happy to accept and gain weight on organic farm surpluses such as produce, windfall fruit, cracked eggs,  and waste milk.
Laying hens scratch open manure pats in search of bug larvae thus assisting in pasture sanitation and regrowth.  All species contribute their manure, each with it’s own unique quality for soil microbes and resultant plant growth.  All species, to one degree or another, share the same acreage and in some cases, the same facilities throughout the seasons.

Assets & Liabilities
Diversified farms enhance soil biology effectively mitigating the need for harmful, volatile supplements.  
Their liability is primarily economic in that per-head labor inputs  are much greater than specialized CAFO’s.

Monoculture farm assets are transfixed on economics, deriving maximum utilization of building space and man-hours per head of livestock.  It’s liability lies with the fact that this economic  forte is myopic, being indifferent or ignorant to the biological/societal costs it generates.
These peripheral costs are inherently fossil-fuel based.

Nature abhors a vacuum.

Involuntary, undeveloped monocultures don’t exist in nature.
Monocultures create a vacuum - a biological imbalance.

Put the same species-in the same place-year after year.
In the name of efficiency, maximize density.
In doing so, the natural biological balance is convulsed.
This convulsion creates biological anomalies.
These aberrations are capable of destroying their environment as well as their host.

The tools of the 20th Century - pharmaceuticals & chemicals, have allowed biological aberrations to exist within our food supply. It is entirely accurate to paraphrase this as follows:

“Livestock raised in CAFO’s are  biologically compromised by pathogenic bacteria such that many would die if their medications were removed from their daily rations.”   
This - we claim as human nourishment.

Concentrated Livestock / Concentrated Wastes
Producers must  meet stringent regulations regarding storage and spreading. Still, most every state continues to compile a  database of contaminated aquifers due to leaks or errors.

Renewable Energy/Brown Power
Some manure is indeed spread on farm fields.  However, the larger the CAFO, the greater the costs  due to trucking distances and acreage mandates.  Alternatives are the trend.

Some manure, (poultry) is fed to cattle as a protein source.
Some manure is used to create methane energy.
Manure used in these ways may indeed provide an economic payback, yet the fact remains that the natural fertility cycle has been deprived of manure resulting in exasperated need for petro-fertility.

Overall, manure is a liability to industrial agriculture, requiring incredibly large quantities of water for flushing and transportation resulting in exorbitant use of coal and diesel.