Newsletters from RegenAgStarter
Updated: Jun 21
I hope to send out a newsletter every 2 or 3 months to those who have exercised the option to 'Subscribe'. However as not all those who subscribe appear to 'receive' or open their newsletter (perhaps because it comes up as 'Junk' email due to my email address email@example.com is not in their address book), I have decided to also put a copy of each newsletter in this blog section. This will also give others who did not 'Subscribe' the opportunity to view each newsletter. At this stage I have not worked out how to put the entire newsletter including photos in so for now only text will appear.
First Newsletter Regen Ag Starter FREE Help to Start or Enhance Your Regenerative Agriculture Journey. I've been truly amazed at the response to my new website, how widely it has been viewed and the feedback it has received. THANK YOU ALL. Well, here we go - my first newsletter! THANK YOU for Subscribing to my new website www.regenagstarter.com especially when I only made it ‘Optional’ to do so. I understand that for some with websites this is a way to make money, however as you may have noticed in the introduction to my ‘Regen Ag Starter’ website, I have no desire or plan to make money out of this. Rather, my desire in my retirement is simply without charge to help others who, for one reason or another, are interested in Regenerative Agriculture or some particular aspect of soil health. The only thing I would ask in return is that if you know someone who might be interested in regen ag / soil health, that you consider sharing the link to the website with them (and a big thank you to those of you who have already done so), and if you have a website yourself, that you consider adding a link to my website. That would be greatly appreciated. I'd also like to thank 'Tom', a beef cattle farmer in Victoria, Australia, whom I have been helping remotely for about 20 months now to transition his farm to regenerative agriculture. Not only has he been prepared to go against the 'conventional agricultural advice' he was receiving from others to follow instead my suggestions to continue his regen ag journey without compromise. He has also supplied most of the photos included on my website. Recent prolonged, extensive heavy rainfall has caused a set back to progress in soil restructuring in spite of extensive ground cover from early multi-species pasture. However, the good news is that while checking soil, Tom noted encouraging signs of the seed bank starting to emerge including amazing growth of phalaris in one paddock where none had been evident in the eleven years he has been on the property. As this is the first time I have set up and run a website, please forgive me for being a bit tardy on following up with you after you subscribed. While in my career as a Property Professional I had lots of experience with word processing, spread sheets and databases, now at age 74, some of this website stuff is taking me a bit longer to come to terms with. I’ll have to learn how and when to make direct contact with you now that you have subscribed. And I’d have to say I have been pleasantly surprised at how many people have actually subscribed AND that the website has already been viewed by people in 84 countries. Truely amazing!!! Apart from noting all the 'thumbs up' and 'Love' reactions, for me to read some of the feedback has been really encouraging: “Excellent Resource - thanks for putting it together” - Regen Ag website Admin “Refreshing, informative & comprehensive enough to stimulate any budding Regen Ag novice or enthusiast. Well done on a great initiative” - a South Australian University academic staff member. So thank you all for letting me know how you feel about what I have put together so far. I'm steadily improving the website layout and content (including further links to add to the over 100 'Helpful Websites, Podcasts and Webinars') so please do come back for further visits. I’d also like to let you know that shortly after setting up my website, I came across a call for submissions for a ‘National Soil Strategy’ here in Australia and responded with a short submission and adding a link to my website. Well, the good news is that they recently got back to me saying that the material was very helpful and asking me to give permission to release all or part of its content to the committees involved in forming the strategy. Naturally I agreed to having it all released. Here's hoping those on the committees have open minds with 'Broad Vision & Balanced Judgement' and aren't cemented to 'conventional agricultural practices' and / or obligated to those who provide funding for their existence. And finally, given that we are approaching a special time of the year for many people, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you a wonderful time of sharing with family and friends, and reflecting, not just on what we are celebrating, but also on what we might be able to do to help others, especially those who might be involved with produce from land one way or another. Together, and with help from nature, we can do our bit to enhance this world while making farming and gardening more enjoyable and rewarding. With best wishes Bernie Hunt I'm Standing on the Shoulders of Many Others In presenting information and material on my website, I acknowledge that I am 'standing on the shoulders of many others'. However there are elements I feel I am able to contribute, some of it coming from joint efforts with one Victorian farmer, lets just call him 'Tom', whom I have been assisting remotely and who has supplied many of the photos from early Regen Ag progress on his farm. Contact Us firstname.lastname@example.org www,regenagstarter.com
Regen Ag Starter
FREE Help to Start or Enhance Your Regenerative Agriculture Journey.
I continue to be truly amazed at the response to my new website, how widely it has been viewed and the feedback it has received. THANK YOU ALL.
Well, here we go again - my second newsletter! Welcome to the second Regen Ag Starter newsletter. The good news is that the reach of the new www.regenagstarter.com website continues to grow with people in 94 countries now having visited the site in its first 5 months. Many of these visits are being generated by my postings on a number of Facebook groups while a surprising number of visitors to the site are coming Direct or from Google. Also, the ‘Session’ numbers indicate that lots of folk are coming back to the site for follow up reading / research. And when I look at the profiles of people who have provided some reaction to my Facebook postings and website, it has been amazing to see the wide range in backgrounds in education and employment. Quite likely some of these folk are not personally involved in agriculture in a ‘hands on’ capacity however they may be in positions to be able to spread the regenerative agriculture message when the opportunity presents itself (without putting any pressure on people hopefully). Please feel free to share the link. Some people are finding it hard to believe that I am not trying to make money from my website either directly by having a ‘PayWall’ (as I gather they are called) or indirectly by selling or promoting something. In fact I am happy that my ‘rewards’ come from simply knowing that in my retirement I am able to do something to help those interested in improving the 'health' of this earth and benefitting their own wealth. This gives me an incentive to continue my own journey in learning about how amazing nature is and how we can enhance and accelerate what nature would eventually achieve, and then sharing that on my website. One chap in the USA who does lots of blogging, upon learning that I was doing this genuinely for ‘FREE’ said words to the effect of “Please God, more Bernies in this world.” How nice was that! You may have noticed that I have been helping 'Tom' transition his 40 hectare (100 acre) beef cattle property to regenerative agriculture and read of the amazing progress he has made in the first 21 months including the outstanding performance of his cattle and that he was able to 'introduce' the young heifers to the bull a few months earlier than normal due to their stellar growth rate. He recently informed me that he had pregnancy testing carried out and found a 100% success rate among the 43 cows and heifers. Not surprising that they (and the bull) have benefited from the diverse multi-species pasture grown in full spectrum mineral enhance soil and renewed biology. Well done to all! I continue to add to parts of the website, sometimes to give more background to my postings on various Facebook groups, about 6 in all. Actually, I struck a ‘problem’ on Facebook recently. Because I am posting the same material on each site, I have become quite quick at doing so and this may have made the ‘machine’ supervising participant behaviour to think that some automated process might have been used in contravention of ‘Community Standards’ causing my access to Facebook to be suspended pending an investigation (after I ‘disagreed’ with the decision to do so). Unfortunately at the same time others were also unable to see any of my postings. On review it seems they have considered the ‘machine’ still has some ‘machine learning’ to do and my access to Facebook became active again just over a day later as also was the access of others to my postings. While on the subject of machine learning and related ‘artificial intelligence’, recently at a family get together, some of the younger ones were on their devices using that new ChatBot (or whatever it is called) which will readily pump out answers to all sorts of questions and will apparently even do unique assignments for students (which has education institutions worried it seems). One of my sons even said his work spent many hours researching a particular issue. Eventually they put the challenge out to ChatBot and were amazed at not only how quick it respond but also how good and thorough it was! So I decided to get them to ask it what Regenerative Agriculture is. This was the response it quickly spat out: ‘Regenerative agriculture is a farming and grazing method that focuses on rebuilding soil health and biodiversity, while also reducing the use of synthetic chemicals and non-renewable resources. This approach aims to create a self-sustaining ecosystem that regenerates itself over time, rather than depleting the soil and natural resources. This can be achieved through practices such as conservation tillage, cover cropping, crop rotation, and holistic grazing management. The goal of regenerative agriculture is to improve the overall health and resilience of the land, while also producing healthy and nutritious food for people.’ How it did that I don’t know, perhaps it merely had stored in its memory what someone else had previously written. So I decided to Google ‘What is regenerative agriculture’ to see if it had merely been copied. While I didn’t readily find this exact definition, what I did see was that there were many organisations and people who had attempted to define and explain it. While there appeared to be lots of commonality in what I saw, there was also some apparent difference in emphasis on various elements of regenerative agriculture seemingly coming from the wide array of functions and purposes of those organisations. What it did for me was to confirm that there is no one way to go about regen ag. In my view, it is something that requires ‘broad vision and balanced judgement’ to come up with a package of measures suitable to each farmer’s situation (which I spell out in the Introduction section of my website and just recently posted on that topic on the various regen ag type Facebook groups I have joined). If you want to broaden your knowledge on the subject beyond what I have presented (including material from my blog section providing over 100 links to ‘Helpful Websites, Podcasts and Webinars’), then perhaps you could also do a similar Google search. Finally, a big “thank you” to you for ‘Subscribing’ to my ‘Regen Ag Starter’ Newsletter, especially when it was a voluntary thing. Please feel free to forward it on to others. Oh, just one last thing related to 'subscribing' - I get notified each time someone 'Subscribes' to my mailing list (including getting an email notification) however occasionally in the website 'Notifications' it advises that XXX 'is now a Site Member' (but no email arrives). I haven't been able to see how someone becomes a 'Site Member'??? Enjoy your regen ag journey! With best wishes Bernie Hunt
Regen Ag Starter
Welcome to the third Regen Ag Starter Newsletter. And a special welcome to you if this is the first newsletter you have received since you ‘Subscribed’. If you would like to view earlier newsletters, I have now added a new blog section to record the text only from them for general viewing. Further, I have added another blog section where I have added a few of the postings (again text only) from a selection of postings I have done on various Facebook groups.
It is amazing and pleasing how widespread globally the interest is in Regenerative Agriculture generally and the many aspects of soil health, as evidenced by the large numbers of related Facebook Groups, some fairly broadly based and some fairly narrowly focussed.
New visitors to the www.regenagstarter.com website continue to increase at a satisfying rate while site ‘sessions’ are somewhat greater in number and remain on a strong upward trajectory indicating lots of folk are returning for more information - very pleasing indeed.
So far, the website has been visited by people in 99 different countries, slowing creeping towards 100, a figure I never even though about when I started this ‘sharing adventure’ about 7 months ago.
[UPDATE: Now make that: ‘people in100 different countries!!!’].
One of the things the Analytics section of the website monitoring provides is a map showing all those countries with intensity of colour indicating where the greatest numbers are while those countries with no visitors yet are not showing any colour. The main ones ‘missing’ are in the African and Arabian countries, perhaps not surprising but yet where, from a very low base, there could be lots to be gained by many living in harsh environments. Indeed, one of the ‘founders’ of regenerative agriculture, Allan Savory, clearly demonstrated this in his now famous ‘TED Talk’ just on 10 years ago (since viewed 5.6M times and currently between 2,000 and 4,000 per day!). No matter where you are or what sort of farm or garden you have or even if you live in an apartment or unit, I’m sure you’ll learn something from giving up less than 23 minutes to watch it. I’ve now watched it about 5 times and I’ve placed it high up on the list of over 100 ‘Helpful Websites, Podcasts and Webinars’ blog section on my website (so you can just click on that link).
While most of the visitors to my website appear to have come from my postings on various Facebook groups, some are now coming from others who have had the link ‘Shared’ with them or had one of my postings shared with another group. Further, several groups have invited me to join their groups, also very pleasing. In addition, one semi-government organisation here in Australia has asked permission to put a link on its website dealing with environmental matters while several businesses involved in various aspects of regenerative agriculture including consulting have asked if they could post a link on their website.
You may well have noticed my interest in the benefits of providing the full range of minerals and trace minerals by using the likes of liquid sea minerals, sea solids as well as various kelp and seaweed extracts rather than applying individual or selected combinations of minerals. I recently watched a Webinar titled ‘The Benefits of Seaweed in Agriculture’ by John Kempf which among other things explained the difference between seaweed and kelp and the importance of the actual process used to produce a good product. Not only does kelp provide the full range of minerals and trace minerals but also vitamins and enzymes. See the last link in the ‘Helpful Websites, Podcasts & Webinars’ blog section on my website or click on the link below.
The Benefits of Seaweed in Agriculture - John Kempf
Earthworms can be a good indicator of soil health because of the many ways they improve the soil structure and its pH as well as helping in cycling of organic matter. One chap recently asked if worm casts contain mycorrhizal fungi. This lead me to further my research and I came across a study which basically said that worms work their way through soil consuming not only organic matter but also some biology, and that as they do so they help to spread fungal spores (assuming there are already fungi in the soil).
Modern agricultural practices have done much to destroy soil fungi however an American microbiologist and his wife (Dr David Johnson and Hui-Chun Su) have pioneered a way to produce a fungal dominant compost using what is now called a Johnson-Su Bioreactor. He has shown remarkable improvement in soil and plant growth with just a single application of the compost extract he produced from the completed compost. A challenging part however is that it takes around 12 months for the compost to be properly finished and with it needing to be kept moist at all times. But if you would like to get the benefits of soil fungi without waiting that long, there is a quick way to get things going in the interim. The following is an extract from a posting I did a month or so ago on some Facebook groups:
'If your farm has mature deciduous trees or any wooded areas that have fallen twigs and branches as well as leaves, some of this material may be decomposing due to fungi in the soil; there may even be some fungus / mushrooms evident. This material, along with some of the soil below can be gathered into a bucket. Otherwise check for areas where, for many years, soil has not been disturbed or chemicals applied, for suitable material. Failing this, if there are any legally accessible moist wooded areas in your locality where you might find fallen tree material that is decomposing or where mushrooms are evident, you could gather suitable fungal material including soil from there.
Break this material up into small pieces and soak it for a short while in non-chlorinated water. Then stir it briskly for some minutes in both directions to dislodge fungal spores. Remove the larger material, then put the remainder through a fine sieve or open weave fabric. Alternatively, put the material in a mesh bag (a paint strainer bag works well) and apply a moderately strong spray. You should end up with a solution that is suitable for mixing with more water along with various things as available such as liquid sea minerals, kelp and fish extracts, microbial extracts, humic and fulvic acids and molasses and spraying out shortly afterwards or applying in a drill row with sowing seed. Some of the mix could also be used to inoculate seeds before sowing.'
This is what I got ‘Tom’ to do on his farm and before long, after a good rain, he had mushrooms of various types popping up everywhere he sprayed. Mushrooms are usually a sign of good fungal activity in the soil.
Well folks, there is more to be done, more to be learnt and shared so I’ll leave this newsletter at this point. Hope you have gained something from it. Please feel free to share with others.
Finally, a big “thank you” to you for ‘Subscribing’ to my ‘Regen Ag Starter’ Newsletter, especially when it is a voluntary thing. Please feel free to forward it on to others.
Enjoy your regen ag journey!
With best wishes