Joe's blog

Are you interested in permanent agriculture? Are you interested in profitable grazing? How about doing both successfully? Are you a young farmer committed to making a living for your family from farming? Do you want a higher quality of life in your farming operation? Are you trying to cut costs while maintaining quality and integrity? Would you like more wildlife on your farm? Would you like to do all of this ?!?

Well, I invite you to attend the Restoration Agriculture Workshop at Green Pastures Farm, Greg Judyʼs farm in Clark Missouri. The workshop will take place for 3 days, from October 31 – November 2, 2014. Please join us for this truly valuable and cutting edge weekend. (

For the past ten years, I have been interested in and working in the field of ecological farming. During this time I have had the privilege of working with two leaders in this field, Mark Shepard and Greg Judy. Many of you have probably heard them speak or read their books. I am very excited to bring these two experts together and share an incredible event with you.

I have been very fortunate that my journey in farming has led me to these two producers. Greg Judy and Mark Shepard are pioneers in their fields and have worked their way to success by being innovative and learning from their mistakes. They have developed agricultural systems that are designed to work within the context of an intact ecosystem. They are both focused on perennials and are flexible in how they manage and harvest them.

On the first day of the workshop Mark Shepard will present an overview of Restoration Agriculture and Greg Judy will follow with an overview of his style of grazing, management strategy, and practices. We will then follow up with an explanation of how Markʼs model will work in Gregʼs operation. The workshop will be divided between classroom presentation and the project site.

Mark will explain water management, keylines and swales. As we then look at the project site where Mark will instruct on how to survey the contour and how to lay out the swales, Greg will be providing his input and suggestions for the optimum layout for his grazing.

Whether you are a beginning farmer or looking for a way to take your operation to the next level, this workshop will provide a unique opportunity to learn from these two leaders in ecological agriculture who are providing us with the most promising approach to feeding ourselves and making a sustainable living: perennials.

As a young farmer, I find Greg Judyʼs and Mark Shepardʼs approach to be the most appealing for my quality of life and the challenges of the 21st century. Their approach is not only extremely flexible, but it is a perennial system that takes advantage of the natural efficiency present in an intact ecosystem. As opposed to a farm of mono-cropped fields of tilled annuals planted and harvested by chemicals and machine, theirs is a farm with a diversity of plants and animals, wild and domesticated. Using this system, the finest foods are harvested for humans and the rest can be harvested by animals. Here, natural systems can replace the need for machines, chemicals and sometimes, infrastructure. There are no animal barns on Greg Judyʼs farm. He has no irrigation system to water his pastures. By keeping his soil covered with perennials, Greg is able to hold on to more water and grow more forage than in an annual system or over- grazed field. By installing swales, he should be able to capture even more water and grow more grass. .

I hope you will attend this workshop! From my experience in learning and working with both of these men, I know that you will receive the knowledge and experience that will help you to be in control of your quality of life and success as a grower. If you are already familiar with Greg Judyʼs and Mark Shepardʼs work, then you are probably as excited as I am to hear and see them together on Gregʼs operation. If you are not yet familiar with their work, then this workshop is a perfect opportunity!

Either way, what better way to prepare for 2015 or 2020 ... or 2100? The future looks green, come and join us!


-Joe P. Mantoan

Intern at Green Pastures Farm

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