national farmer


Throwback to the amazingly rich soil at Crooked River National Grassland near the Ochoco National Forest, OR!

Natural/native grasslands are typically home to the world’s best soils, which are called Mollisols (one of 12 soil orders). The deeply branched roots of native grasses and their constant recycling of organic matter yields dark, fertile, and deep topsoil. 


POWER TO THE PEOPLE: A solar revolution is transforming lives in the developing world. Clean-energy lights are transforming lives-and creating entrepreneurs - in Africa and India. (full story National Geographic November 2015)

by award-winning photographer Rubén Salgado Escudero: “Solar-powered light was the only source of illumination I used in all of the portraits for this project. I wanted to work with the same type of light that is improving my subject’s quality of life so substantially.”

  • “Ibrahim Kalungi and Godfrey Mteza both 20, worked at night in their motorcycle repair shop in Nbeeda, Uganda. The mechanics credit solar lights with enabling them to work longer hours and earn more money.”
  • “A worker at a logging camp in Myanmar’s Bago region, where elephants have been used by loggers for centuries, sits atop his 11-year-old animals. Laborers in these camps have no electricity, so they use solar lanterns before sunrise.”
  • “At a  brick kiln in India’s rural state of Uttar Pradesh, workers use solar lanterns to illuminate their paths. The developing world struggles to provide power to its people. Worldwide, about 1.1 billion people have no access to electricity.”
  • “In India’s state of Odisha villagers trap fish using cone-shaped baskets and solar light. Fewer that half of Odisha’s 42 million residents use grid electricity.” -
  • “Electricity is a rare luxury in Ugunda. Denis Okiror, 30 began using solar lights at his barbershop in Kayunga two years ago. He says most of his customers prefer to visit him in the evening. – Michael Edison Hayden
Cow pee and toxic algal blooms: Yes, they are connected

Biologists at Rocky Mountain National Park are connecting the dots between unprecedented algal blooms in park lakes and nitrogen pollution. Here’s how it works.

1. Cows eat greens in pastures, which have a LOT of fertilizer applied to them.

2. They pee and poop, naturally. But the nitrogen-containing ammonia in their urine can transform into an airborne particulate called ammonium nitrate. 

3. This little particle floats in the air and, under certain wind conditions, gets carried north, where it can fall on the park when it rains or snows.

Originally posted by rivermusic

4. This leads to excess nitrogen in the park ecosystem, which enables invasive plants to thrive, harms native trees, and acidifies rivers and lakes. 

Originally posted by cinemagraphcity

These wind systems only happen a dozen or so times a year. Some farmers in the region have signed up for a program that warns them of a northward front. This gives them the chance to change their practices that contribute to nitrogen pollution—maybe they wait to turn their compost or do it a day early. Scientists say there hasn’t been a decrease in nitrogen levels in the park since the program started, but there hasn’t been an increase either—and that’s progress.  

UK braces for hottest day of the year thanks to incoming 3-month heatwave

The UK is bracing for the hottest day of the year so far on Sunday (9 April) as temperatures rise to a high of 80F (26C) to kick off an upcoming summer of scorching heat.

The Met Office has predicted a particularly dry climate, which could result in more occurrences of fires across the country.

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Hosepipe bans and food shortages could be possibilities – the drier conditions set to create problems for farmers, who may not be able to water their crops.

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) said they were “monitoring the situation” and “encouraging farmers to register for Environment Agency updates covering local prospects for irrigation and local monthly water situation reports”.

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Throughout the week the heat is expected to subside slightly and remain at a steady but more common 60F (20C).

A Met Office statement said: “For April-June, above-average temperatures are more probable than below-average. The probability of the warmest category of temperatures is 45%. The coldest category is 5%.

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"Warmth is being observed in many regions that are sources for air travelling to the UK. There is a slight increase in the likelihood of anticyclonic conditions. Sea surface temperatures around the UK are above normal.

"This increases the chances of warmer-than-average temperatures through the period.”

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service warned of the risk of fires in the countryside – citing “careless” cigarettes disposal as potential fire starters.

“Fires in the countryside can easily be started accidentally, or even deliberately. A carelessly discarded cigarette can lead to a huge fire, where the results to the wildlife can be devastating.”

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Burkina Faso settles dispute with Monsanto over GM cotton - Reuters

[T]he Inter-professional Cotton Association of Burkina (AICB), which groups together the three cotton companies and the national farmers union, said that quality was damaged when Monsanto introduced the gene into its cotton.

In particular, they said fiber length, one of the chief measures of quality, was reduced, causing Burkina Faso’s cotton to fetch lower prices on the world market.

“One can imagine a sane, healthy, cheerful human society based on no more than the principles of common sense, as validated each day by work, play and living experience. But this remains the most utopian and fantastic of ideals. 

If America could be, once again, a nation of self-reliant farmers, craftsmen, hunters, ranchers, and artists, then the rich would have little power to dominate others. Neither to serve nor to rule: That was the American dream.”

— Edward Abbey

Why is Richard Henry Lee so important to American History?  

Richard Henry Lee aided in lighting the torch of American Freedom and kept it burning for his nation. From a farmer, to a politician, to congressman, to a statesman, to a patriot, to a senator, Richard Henry Lee performed a very important role in American history. 

Lee had the advantage in life of living during one of the most crucial times in American History. Allowing him to take part in one of the greatest events the world has witnessed, the pregnancy, birth, and childhood of the United States of America. Striving against the British Crown with such men as Patrick Henry, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin, his influence has a lasting effect on the outcome of American History.Richard’s career began, like most begin, by his birth into the famed, old family of Virginia, the Lee family. 

Richard was born on the 20th of January 1732, at his family’s plantation, near Stratford, in Westmoreland County, Virginia. He was the oldest of four boys, Francis Lightfoot Lee, William Lee, and Arthur Lee. He was educated early on in life by private tutoring at his family home in Virginia. Having reached the latter years of his education, his family sent him off to England to complete his studies. Finally on completing his education he returned home, from England, in 1752.The Lees’ of Virginia had a fine tradition of public service. 

In 1758, following in the footsteps of his family, entered the Virginia House of Burgesses at the age of twenty-five, thus, he began seventeen years of continuous services for his colony. His stanch opposition of British measures, such as the Stamp Act and Townshend Acts, centered him in the forefront of defenders of colonial rights. Openly calling the Townshed Acts, “arbitrary, unjust, and destructive of that mutual beneficial connection which every good subject would wish to see preserved.” Richard was now planted firmly on the colonial side. Being more than a man of words in February of 1766 he drew the residence of his own county into the “Westmoreland Association,” uniting themselves not to buy any British goods until the Stamp Act was repealed.

Richard was among the first persons to propose a system of inter-colonial committees of correspondence. These committees were set up to coordinate the efforts of the colonies against the British. The committees directly led to the forming of the First Continental Congress, with Virginia appointing Richard Henry Lee, Patrick Henry, and George Washington. 

On September 5, 1774, these men with others such as John Jay and John Adams met in Carpenters Hall in Philadelphia for the first meeting of the Continental Congress. Even more aggressive now than before, Richard was pushing for stronger action against the British. With the issue of independence stalling in congress for the better part of a year, it was noted that a shrewd political move was needed to push the dream of independence into a reality. Richard’s openly advocating independence from the British Crown in the spring of 1776, led to his being chosen to move the issue of independence in congress. Finally, on June 7, 1776 he stood up in congress and uttered a resolution that would forever change the course of American History.

Resolved: that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be totally dissolved.

This resolution set a chain of events into action that would lead to the writing of the Declaration of Independence and finally to the adoption of it, and American Independence on July 4, 1776.Richard remained in congress until 1779 missing only a brief period to return home to Virginia to help form the new state government. Retiring from congress in 1779 due to ill health, Richard returned home to Virginia. On his return he was elected to the Virginia Legislature. 

Remaining there until he was once again sent to congress in 1784. This time he served his first year as that bodies president. Remaining two more years in congress, where he played an important role in the passage of the Northwest Ordinance. When the Constitutional Convention was held in 1787, to form a centralized government, Richard outright refused to attend, even going as far as to lead in Virginia’s opposition to the new constitution. 

Richard’s opposition to the constitution was based on the fact that it called for a strong central government, one thing he did not ever intend to have again. Also the fact that the constitution itself lacked a bill of rights gave him reason for concern. He felt the combination of these factors, giving a strong central government the power to do what it likes against individuals without any form of guaranteed rights to its citizens, would eventually put them back in the hands of a tyrant.

Having lost his battle over the new constitution, he accepted appointment in 1789 as one of the first senators from Virginia. As a senator he immediately proposed a number of new resolutions to correct the oversights in the constitution. Several of his proposals were adopted and many were used in the Bill of Rights. He had now become one of the strongest advocates of the Bill of Rights. It was a strong part of the new government that he felt they could not afford to leave out. 

Richard continued in the senate until ill health finally for the last time forced his resignation in 1792. Retiring to his Virginia estate Chantilly, near Stratford, in Westmoreland county Virginia he died on June 19, 1794 at the age of sixty-two.