Book Review – Three Green Rats: An Eco Tale

Three Green Rats An Eco Tale book coverTru dat rat. Ok, so if you don’t have kids or hang out with kids, you may not have any idea what I just said. But the three green rat brothers of Tintown’s Broken Bottle Lane encourage us to walk softly and reduce, reuse and recycle in the children’s tale, “Three Green Rats: An Eco Tale“. Written by Linda Mason Hunter and illustrated by Suzanne Summersgill this rat tale is both fun and educational and the perfect book to review on Earth Day (April 22, 2014).

This wonderfully illustrated and highly clever book takes place in Tintown where the protagonist, Uppity Ethel Misrington, the richest rat in town, wants to build a big box store to sell stuff. Her itty, bitty niece Maybelline Burlingame Helena Stu discovers the green pastures and projects of the green brothers (Oliver, Wilbur and Tom, each with unique green skills) and becomes hooked on nature and green health. As a result, she starts to grow. When catastrophe strikes sickly Ethel, with the help of Maybelline and the green brothers, the day is saved and Ethel becomes a convert to living with less stuff and the city follows suit.

With the town saved, and the brothers heroes, shy brother Tom sums up the direction the town needs to take. “Look around, citizens. You are knee-deep in your own trash, held captive by technology, and so caught up in the rat race you don’t have time to think.”

“We are ruining our corner of Mother Earth, creating a place where no living being can thrive. We’ve cut down our tress, poisoned our air, and dumped sewage in our rivers and streams. Three Green Rats An Eco Tale book imageIt’s time to step back and ask ourselves, ‘Is this what we really want for our children?’ We must learn to live simply. We must walk softly upon Mother Earth and stop talking more than we need to survive.”

I luv it people! L-O-V-E it.

I highly recommend this book. Take some advice from the three green rats this Earth Day and learn to walk softly. This is a must read book for both children and adults to get you on the forward thinking path about how to reduce your impact and live more simply. In celebration of Earth Day, win an e-copy of Three Green Rats: An Eco tale. Email me your contact information with the subject line: Three Green Rats and the winner will be announced next week in the DomesticFuel.com newsletter.

Great Green Gadgets

What better way to celebrate Earth Day than with some new gadgets?

Got an email this morning from an industrious PR person touting a book called “Fool’s Return” by Lynda Chervil, “a thought leader and green technology advocate.”

Chervil, who studies the science behind green technology, says environmental awareness has ramped up production of affordable goods that can shrink individuals’ carbon footprints. She shares four devices she says would make a nice gift for Mother Earth on her day.

water-clockAmong her suggestions is the Bedol Water Alarm Clock. “Imagine a water-powered alarm clock that’s loud enough to scare you out of bed! Bedol’s water clocks run strictly on tap water – no batteries, no nothing else.”

There’s also the HybridLight Solar Flashlight that never needs batteries, can be charged from any light source, and they always work. And the Pama Eco Navigator Satellite Navigation system that helps save gasoline by providing you with the most energy-efficient routes to your destinations, and feedback on your car’s performance.

Last but not least, the iGo Green Power Smart Wall that helps “cut the suck” of the power “vampires” that use electricity whether we’re using them or not – everything from coffee pots to laptops.

Go on – give your Mother Earth a hug today and get a green gadget!

New Climate Report Findings

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 6.27.17 PMThe Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) today released Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

The 1,062-page report, published by The Heartland Institute, contains thousands of citations to peer-reviewed scientific literature — and concludes rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels are causing “no net harm to the global environment or to human health and often finds the opposite: net benefits to plants, including important food crops, and to animals and human health.”

Craig Idso, Founder and chairman of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change and the lead author of Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts, said “Whether the subject is the effects of warming and rising CO2 on plants, animals, or humans, the latest UN report invariably highlights the studies and models that paint global warming in the darkest possible hue, ignoring or downplaying those that don’t.”

“It is most fortunate, therefore, that the NIPCC report provides tangible evidence that the CO2-induced global warming and ocean acidification debate remains unsettled on multiple levels. There are literally thousands of peer-reviewed scientific journal articles that do not support a catastrophic, or even problematic, view of atmospheric CO2 enrichment.”

Publisher of Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts, Joseph Bast and President of The Heartland Institute, said “This new report from NIPCC makes it clear that there is no scientific consensus on the human role in climate change. It further makes it clear that future warming is likely to produce more benefits than costs. Global warming is not a crisis. It’s time to start repealing unnecessary and inexpensive policies that were adopted at the height of the global warming scare.”

The Nongovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or NIPCC, is a panel of scores of climate scientists from around the world that act as independent auditors of the work of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC.

The full report in digital form (PDF) can be found here. An 18-page Summary for Policymakers is available here. Individual chapters of the full report can be downloaded at the Climate Change Reconsidered website.

These reports have been endorsed by leading scientists from around the world, been cited in peer-reviewed journals, and are credited with changing the global debate over climate change. No corporate or government funding was solicited or received to support production of these reports or NIPCC.

Ag Secretary Visits NAFB

vilsackAg Secretary Tom Vilsack made a trip to Kansas City to visit with farm broadcasters during the 70th National Association of Farm Broadcasting Annual Convention. The Secretary centered his comments around the RFS announcement, record levels of exports, drought issues and of course, the farm bill.

Vilsack started off by thanking all the farm broadcaster for the work that they do and shared how nice it was to talk to a crowd that understood what truly happens on the farm and appreciates the rural lifestyle.

The first topic Vilsack discussed was his excitement with agricultural exports. He stated, “We have now reached a record level of agricultural exports. Once again, $140.9 billon exports. It’s the best five years of ag exports in the history of the country. If you compare it to the pervious five year period we’ve done $230 billon more of agriculture exports and our volume is up as well.”

Next, the Secretary commented on this mornings announcement about the establishment of the National Drought Resiliency partnership. It is a collaborative effort between the Department of Commerce, Department of Interior, Department of Energy, Army Corp of Engineers, EPA, FEMA and the USDA. The goal with this team effort is to become better prepared and to mitigate the consequences of future droughts.

The final announcement came from the EPA today about RFS. Vilsack said, “At USDA we are going to focus on those aspects of this industry that we can control.” They plan to work with the industry and specifically the larger operators to create a distribution system to increase the availability of ethanol products and not depend on the petroleum industry.

You can listen to the entire press conference here Secretary Vilsack Press Conference

Checkout photos from NAFB Convention: 2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

What is Conservation Agriculture Worth?

CTIC Dialogue6The Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) Dialogues are right around the corner. The panel discussion will focus on the economic and ecological benefits of agricultural conservation systems. Conservation tools, measurements for economic and ecological benefits, long-term economic returns and their effects on producers’ decision-making processes and conservation trends that will affect agriculture in the next five years are all topics the panel will cover.

Agricultural conservation systems could hold solutions for several of the issues we are facing in agriculture, such as a growing population and the loss of land for agriculture. Conservation agriculture enables producers to do more with less while protecting water and air quality, improving the soil, providing habitat for wildlife, contributing to a healthy community and producing high-yielding crops for our nation’s feed, fiber and fuel.

The event will take place October 21 from 3:30-5:30pm in Washington, D.C. at the Rayburn House Office Building, room 2168.

Panelists will include:
- Suzy Friedman – Director of Agricultural Sustainability, Environmental Defense Fund
- Josh Maxwell – Senior Professional Staff, House Committee on Agriculture
- Ray McCormick – Producer, Indiana
- Jean Payne – President, Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association
- Wallace Tyner – Professor of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University
- Sara Wyant, Moderator & President, Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

For more information visit www.ctic.org/CTICDialogues or call 756-494-9555.

Monsanto Part of CTIC Conservation Efforts

ctic-13-emilio-oyarzabalMonsanto was one of the sponsors on the recent Conservation Technology Information Center tour in Livingston County, Ill., and Chuck caught up with the company’s Emilio Oyarzabal, who said the CTIC’s work is very important to Monsanto and its customers.

“We need agriculture more than ever,” Emilio said, but he added that farmers are being accused of doing environmental damage. “If we observe the problem and see how we can fix this, conservation is one way to make your farm sustainable and deflect that criticism.”

Emilio said Monsanto is right on the forefront of that environmental charge, working on how to double crop yields and decrease the inputs by a third… not an easy task.

“Biotechnology is a tool, but not the only tool. We need to make a paradigm shift in what we do in agriculture,” suggesting new crop rotations and different ways of using fertilizers, just to name a few ideas. “We need to think in different ways.”

He went on to say that precision farming tools are helping farmers adopt better practices, while companies are providing the better tools farmers need.

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Emilio here: Emilio Oyarzabal, Monsanto

2013 Conservation in Action Tour Photo Album

Investing in Illinois Soil’s Wealth

ctic-13-jean-payne“The wealth of Illinois is in her soil, and her strength lies in its intelligent development.” That quote was from one of the first presidents of the University of Illinois almost 200 years, but attendees of the recent Conservation Technology Information Center tour in Livingston County, Ill., heard it reiterated by Jean Payne, President of the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association, who spoke at one of the tour dinners.

She says, while many recognize the need for good investment in that great natural resource, the recent economic troubles of Illinois has ended up cutting any state funding to nurture that investment. Rather than relying on the government, members of Jean’s group decided they’d take their own fate in their own hands and not be dragged down by what went on with the politicians.

“Are we going to let this tremendous [ag] industry get sucked down the vacuum that is becoming our state government? I said ‘No!’”

They went to other ag groups, including the Farm Bureau, corn and soybean growers, pork producers and Syngenta Crop Protection, and they were able to raise support for research. Eventually, they talked the Illinois legislature into letting them put together their own fertilizer checkoff that the groups, not the state, would manage. Now, they’re able to collect $2.5 million each year that they can use to be good stewards of the land.

“Despite the fact that we have a vacuum in our state government, I feel phenomenal about where our Illinois agriculture stands with our nutrient stewardship efforts. And it’s only going to get better,” Jean said.

She said they’ll need to keep working to educate people about the need for the checkoff and the dividends it pays on that investment.

“We have had to fight for this, [but] everything in life worth having is worth fighting for.”

Listen to Jean’s remarks to the CTIC group here: Jean Payne, President of the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association

2013 Conservation in Action Tour Photo Album

CTIC Tour Host Big Believer in Filter Strips

ctic-13-terry-bachtoldHealthy soils are products of good management practices. And topping the list of practices for Terry Bachtold (shown getting an appreciation present for all his hard work of hosting), one of the host farmers for last week’s Conservation Technology Information Center tour in Livingston County, Ill., is using filter strips.

“I’m a big believer in filter strips,” he exclaimed. “Whether it is my cattle operation or a corn grain farmer, I just feel filter strips do a lot for water quality improvements.” Even with his affinity toward filter strips, Terry believes that a variety of techniques can bring healthy soils to a farm, including cover crops, no-till or rotational grazing.

Terry admitted that he is not a row crop farmer, separating his farm into pasture paddocks rotational grazing for his cow-calf operation. He added what a difference a year had made in recovering from drought conditions on his farm.

“Last year at this time, we were buying hay from July 4th. This year, we’ve got plenty of pastures.”

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Terry here: Interview with Terry Bachtold, host on CTIC tour

2013 Conservation in Action Tour Photo Album

Farmer Appreciates Crowds, Support on CTIC Tour

ctic-13-mike-trainorGood crowds from around the area and many parts of the country turned out for last week’s Conservation Technology Information Center tour in Livingston County, Ill., and that was appreciated by the local farmers.

“Today we had a lot of people here. When you go to all that work, and you put these plots in, and you try to figure out what’s right and what’s wrong, to see this many people come in on our farm and see what we’ve done, it kind of gives you a real good feeling about what you do,” said Mike Trainor the host at the Trainor family farm, one of the stops on the CTIC tour, and a certified Crop Adviser and a registered USDA technical service provider. He’s in the picture with his dad, Jack Trainor, getting an appreciation award for letting CTIC come to the family farm.

Mike said with pricey inputs, it makes economical and ecological sense to make sure they don’t runoff.

“As expensive as the inputs are, we need to figure out how to put ‘em there, how to keep ‘em there, and how to best utilize ‘em.”

Mike said it’s also rewarding to be recognized by the federal regulators at the EPA that farmers like him are trying to do what’s best for the environment. He said even without the feds, it’s important for them to be able to pass this operation down to the next generation of farmers in the family.

“We’re all in it together, and we want it to be profitable for them down the road and good for the environment.”

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Mike here: Interview with Mike Trainor, Trainor Farms

2013 Conservation in Action Tour Photo Album

CTIC Panel Addresses Soil Quality, Nitrate Levels

ctic-13-marcus-maierOne of the best parts about the Conservation Technology Information Center tour is the conversations that come up, either through formal panels or just informal talks. On the more formal side, local Livingston County, Ill., farmer Marcus Maier (pictured seated, holding the microphone) sat on a panel during the tour that addressed soil health and the issue of nitrate runoff into local watersheds.

“We’re trying to get farmers to implement conservations systems,” he explained, not only just cover crops or filter strips or field buffers, but a whole system, including nutrient management systems. Marcus said the biggest challenge is nitrate runoff into the Indian Creek watershed. “Two towns are fed by Indian Creek: Fairbury with a population of about 4,000 and Pontiac has about 12,000. So that’s our goal to help reduce [those nitrate levels in the water supplies].”

On the more informal side, lots of farmers are talking about how they’ve had much better rain than last year, which is good for the crops but kept many out of the field for a long time, putting them a bit behind. Overall, though, Marcus is pretty optimistic about how the crops in that area will turn out this year.

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Marcus here: Interview with Marcus Maier, CTIC panelist, local farmer

2013 Conservation in Action Tour Photo Album

Conservation Work Helps Farmers Avoid Regulations

ctic-13-marcia-willhiteGetting caught up in government regulations and red tape is something any farmer wants to avoid, and attendees of the recent Conservation Technology Information Center tour in Livingston County, Ill., heard how they can avoid more of that with voluntary programs, such as the one on display on the tour. Marcia Willhite, the Chief of the Bureau of Water with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency said they’re encouraged by the success of the Indian Creek project and how voluntary efforts by farmers are paying dividends for everyone.

“Our culture is such on the agricultural side that a voluntary, incentive-based approach is what we have to work with,” she said. “I think it might be somewhat of a motivator to avoid regulations, but my sense is that the speakers and farmers in this watershed are focusing on is they see the benefit for their own productivity, they see the benefit for water quality for their own community.”

Marcia went on to say that this is a good story that needs to be told about how farmers and government are working together for the betterment of all.

“We’ve just been real excited about the success of finding out what happens when a large number of producers within a watershed decide to commit to conservation practices. There has been leadership among producers, taking charge of what they want to do to address water quality issues.”

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Marcia here: Interview with Marcia Willhite, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency

2013 Conservation in Action Tour Photo Album

CTIC Tour Fosters EPA Watershed Understanding

Denise Keehner & Jason WellerTalk about some inter-agency friendliness. Here’s EPA’s Denise Keehner, Director, Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds and Acting Chief Jason Weller, USDA-NRCS. They were attending the CTIC Conservation in Action Tour and met after luncheon remarks by Denise.

I spoke with Denise after her remarks and on the subject of inter-agency cooperation she says it is the best she’s ever seen it. She says it feels real good to get outside the beltway and she’s “so impressed with what’s going on in these communities with these farmers, the producers who are implementing conservation practices that are really problem solving and taking some risks in the process.” She says she has learned so much on the tour and that statement validates one of the reasons CTIC holds these tours and invites such a wide variety of attendees that includes governmental regulators.

I asked her about concerns farmers have about regulations coming out of Washington, DC from agencies like EPA. She says, “I think EPA really does recognize, particularly with the nutrient related issue, the non-point source issue, that the best problem solving is going to occur locally and in collaboration and cooperation with state agencies.”

You can listen to my interview with Denise here: Interview with Denise Keehner

You can also listen to Denise’s remarks here: Remarks from Denise Keehner

2013 Conservation in Action Tour Photo Album

USDA and EPA Release Honey Bee Health Report

usda-beesThe U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released a comprehensive scientific report on honey bee health. The report states that there are multiple factors playing a role in honey bee colony declines, including parasites and disease, genetics, poor nutrition and pesticide exposure.

“The challenges are complex and there is no smoking gun,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, Administrator of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. “It is imperative that we take action to address the factors contributing to the decline in honey bees and the continuing impact that our farmers and honeybee producers are facing as well.”

“It’s a critical issue that affects virtually every American,” said Acting EPA Administrator Bob Perciasepe. “The report we’ve released today is the product of unprecedented collaboration, and our work in concert must continue. As the report makes clear, we’ve made significant progress, but there is still much work to be done to protect the honey bee population.”

When it comes to the issue of pesticide exposure, the report says that more research is needed. Other countries are moving to ban the neonicotinoids class of insecticides over fears that they are the cause of the honey bee decline. Asked why the United States doesn’t just ban the pesticide, “We let science drive the outcome of our decision-making,” said Jim Jones with the EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “There are non-trivial costs to society if we get this wrong. These are products that not only provide meaningful benefits to the farmers who use them, but they then generate benefits to consumers as well for affordable in the United States and they also are compounds that, as a general matter for human health and the environment, are preferable to the alternative.”

Link to full report.

A press conference featuring government officials and stakeholders in the honey bee industry was held to explain the report’s findings. In addition to Ramaswamy and Perciasepe, those on the call included:
Dr. May Berenbaum, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Zac Browning, Beekeeper
Steve Bradbury, EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
Dr. Jeffery Pettis, Bee Research Lead, USDA Agricultural Research Service

USDA/EPA Honey Bee Report press call

An Earth Day Message

print-emailGot an email today from an employee of GROWMARK with a great message that I wanted to share for Earth Day week.

I’m sure you’ve seen email signatures saying something like “Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail!” This one is a little different.

Notice: It’s OK to print this e-mail.

Paper is a biodegradable, renewable, sustainable product made from trees and corn starch. Growing and harvesting trees and corn provides jobs for millions of Americans. Working forests are good for the environment and provide clean air and water, wildlife habitat and carbon storage. Thanks to improved forest and agricultural management, we have more trees and corn in America today than we had 100 years ago.

I love it! Planning to add it to my email signatures in the future. How about you? Thanks GROWMARK!

New Resources Available for Dairy Producers

UsDairy_LogoThe Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy announced new science-based resources available for dairy producers, processors, industry partners and stakeholders. The resources help the industry act on the unprecedented scientific research commissioned as part of the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Commitment — a collective effort of the dairy value chain to measure and improve the sustainability of U.S. dairy from farm to table.

As part of this commitment, the dairy industry initiated a series of scientific life cycle assessments of fluid milk, cheese and whey. With this body of work, the U.S. dairy industry is striving to create the most transparent and documented dairy LCA database available. Due in part to its rigorous science-based approach, it was chosen to be the pilot industry participating in the National Agricultural Library of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide an open-access, prototype LCA database and tools.

The three new resources available include:

Novus’ Commitment to Sustainability

ippe-13-10-editedThe vision at Novus International is to feed the world affordable, wholesome food. They have adopted a three pillar stance of solution, service and sustainability all tied in to thinking globally, but acting locally.

Sustainability is the cornerstone of their vision to improve the quality of life for people around the world. During the recent International Production and Processing Expo, I talked with Alex Pierroutsakos, who works in quality assurance in sustainability and environmental safety, about how Novus brings sustainability into their everyday lives.

“Novus has done a really good job at looking into what sustainability is all about and focusing on that is part of our mission statement. How are we going to feed a growing population over the next 40 years? Once you transcend that back to what we can do to help that process and help to make our own customers more sustainable. [We ask] how do we provide product on time, how do we help make sure the supply chain and distribution is there for us to support them. These are the things we are looking at.”

Novus believes being sustainable starts at home. There 90,000-square foot headquarters is platinum LEED-certified. This is the highest energy and environmental design available in the United States. It is one of four in Missouri and one of 150 in the entire United States.

Check out my complete interview with Alex: Interview with Alex Pierroutsakos

You can find photos from the event here:International Production & Processing Expo Photo Album

Sponsored by Novus International Inc

Syngenta Promotes Safety Benefits of Atrazine

Have you visited the Oasis yet? Syngenta recently launched the website “Saving the Oasis” to promote the safety of using atrazine. During the Farm Progress Show, Cindy Zimmerman caught up with Ann Bryan of Syngenta to learn more about the campaign.

The website features several documentaries: “Atrazine and Water,” “Atrazine and Safety,” and “Atrazine and Food Safety”. The goal of the campaign is for people to watch, learn and decide for themselves if they believe atrazine is safe. As an added incentive, if people go and watch the videos this month, Syngenta will donate $5 to the Iowa Food Bank Association through the end of September.

Ann said they wanted to correct some misinformation that’s out there with the public about atrazine. So the company engaged some academic experts over the last couple of years and released their benefits studies last November. With this information in their arsenal, they decided to turn them into mini documentaries with a focus of some of the benefits of atrazine that many don’t know about.

For example, atrazine helps minimize soil erosion and helps to keep the soil from collapsing into waterways. Ann said it also protects the environment and helps to foster habitat development. It also helps to increase the yield of many crops including corn, sorghum and sugarcane. Lastly, Ann highlighted that with the increase in yields, growers can help to feed a growing population.

Now it is time for you to decide. You can learn more about atrazine by watching the mini-documentaries (and helping those hungry get fed) and by listening to Cindy’s interview with Ann: Saving the Oasis

2012 Farm Progress Show Photo Album

Become a Carbon Farmer

Do you ever sit around your kitchen table and contemplate other crops you might like to grow? Here is a novel idea – grow carbon. What you ask? Growers across the country are becoming carbon farmers as highlighted in the documentary film Carbon Nation. The film touts itself as a “climate change solutions movie that doesn’t even care if you believe in climate change.” Yet this movie does care about climate change. The narrator says, “We thought we had time to figure things out. Trouble is there is no more time. Climate change is happening now.”

While the film covers the custom gamut of climate change solutions from renewable energy to energy efficiency, it enters new territory by featuring “carbon farmers”. How might you become one of these? By adding wind turbines to your land, or solar panels to your operations or add an algae farm interspersed within your fields.

One of the featured growers was Cliff Etheredge, a cotton farmer, aka wind farmer, in Roscoe, Texas. He along with 400 other landowners are sharing in the payment royalties from wind energy production. “Farmers really do appreciate these things,” he says. This is dry land. We sit out here and pray for rain and cuss the wind. Now what we’ve been cussing all these years turned out to be a blessing.”

Continue reading

Finding Balance Between Business and Environment

Trudy FisherAt the closing dinner for the 2012 Conservation in Action Tour, Trudy Fisher, Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality spoke to our group. Trudy told us that she’s a farmer’s daughter and has farming experience herself. For that reason, the things we were seeing and hearing about on the tour are near and dear to her heart.

Trudy told the group that they don’t have to sacrifice aggressive farming practices and tremendous business opportunities to protect the environment and that “we can do it right and we are doing it right.” It’s all about finding the right balance between what’s good for business and what’s good for the environment. She says that “if we continue to do this right future generations of farmers will be able to carry on the long tradition of feeding the world from the heart of America.”

Listen to Trudy’s remarks here: Trudy Fisher Remarks

2012 Conservation in Action Tour Photo Album

AgWired coverage of the CTIC Indian Creek Watershed Field Tour is sponsored by AGROTAIN

Locust Trace AgriScience Farm

Locust Trace AgriScience Farm is the newest career and technical high school in Lexington, Kentucky with energy and environmental being key factors in the facility design and agriculture being the educational focus.

Locust Trace features spacious classrooms with adjoining labs, 6.5 acres for gardening, a state-of-the-art greenhouse with an aquaculture area for raising native fish, a soaring auditorium with a garage door for brining in livestock and machinery, an expansive equine barn and arena and an on-site veterinary clinic.

Students study in one of five programs: Intro to Agriculture, Environmental and Wildlife Science, Agriculture Power Mechanics, Equine and Vet Science, and Small and Large Animal Science.

The school is designed to be net-zero in energy through the use of photovoltaic solar panels and net-zero in waste disposal through the utilization of constructed wetlands. The school is also minimally hooked up to water municipalities. All the rain water is collected from the classroom building and the equine barn/arena to be utilized for all crop irrigation and livestock watering. An on-site well has been accessed to back up the rain water collection system in case of a drought. Sustainable agriculture is a focus in all programs.

I had the opportunity to catch up with Sara Tracy, who serves as the Community Lesion for Locust Trace, Brian Miller, Administrative Dean, and Danielle Milbern, Jr. at Locust Trace AgriScience Farm. They explain what it is like to work for and attend such a unique high school as well as a perspective into the diverse set of opportunities students can take part in.

Listen to my interview with Sara, Brian and Danielle here: Interview with Locust Trace Representatives

Locust Trace AgriScience Farm Photo Album