Posts Tagged ‘Biological Farming’

Save the Date 1.29.15

Posted on: November 25th, 2014 by Katlyn Rumbold No Comments

You’re invited! Mark your calendars for this “can’t miss” seminar presented by AgriEnergy Resources from 8:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. Thursday, January 29, 2015 at the Chateau Hotel & Conference Center in Bloomington, Illinois.

This year’s theme will be “How to Thrive in Today’s Ag Economy – 10 Practical, Profitable Solutions.”

We have an exciting roster of speakers to discuss common sense ideas for making a profit next year. They will offer practical solutions you can sink your teeth into and ideas you can use right away. Ideas you can take to your banker, landlord, spouse. Solutions like cover crops, under-cover crops (biologicals), alternative crops, non-GMO crops, and organic crops.

We look forward to seeing you there! More details to follow.

What’s on our Thanksgiving Table

Posted on: November 24th, 2014 by Katlyn Rumbold No Comments

Here at AgriEnergy Resources, we strongly believe a delicious, bountiful Thanksgiving feast begins far before it reaches the dining room table. It begins when the farmer chooses what seed to plant.

It begins when that seed is planted into biologically alive soil. It begins when the farmer is dedicated to producing the most bountiful crop yet.

And it’s those innovative minds and hands that make it happen. So from our table to yours, we’ve gathered our top seven side dishes for this holiday season.

1) Stuffing. This classic stuffing recipe makes approximately 15 servings and takes 50 minutes to cook.
Classic Stuffing
– 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
– 1 cup chopped celery
– 3/4 cup salted butter
– 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage
– 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
– 8 cups stale fresh unseasoned breadcrumbs/bread cubes
– 1 tablespoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon pepper
– 1 teaspoon sage
– 1/2 teaspoon thyme
– 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
– 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
– 1/2 cup white wine
– 1/2 cup or more as needed chicken broth
– 1 large egg, beaten.

Sauté onion and celery in butter over medium heat until tender. Remove from heat and set aside. Then cook sausage and mushrooms until the sausage is no longer pink. Drain the fat. Add the onion and celery and stir together. Then combine breadcrumbs and seasoning with sausage/vegetable mixture. Moisten with wine and broth. Add egg and mix well. If the stuffing seems too dry, mix in more broth. It should be pretty moist or it will dry out in the oven. This stuffing can either be used to stuff the turkey or baked in a covered casserole dish at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes and then an additional 10 minutes uncovered.

2) No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Pie. This recipe is my personal favorite as it tastes like a rich peanut butter cup, but is totally healthy. It’s perfect for those of you on a paleo or gluten-free diet.

For the Crust
-1 1/2 cups almond meal
– 1/4 cup cocoa powder
– 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
– 3 tablespoons coconut oil
– A pinch of salt
For the filling
– 1 cup creamy all-natural peanut butter
– 3/4 cup water
– 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
– 1/2 cup maple syrup
– 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
For the chocolate topping
– 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
– 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup at room temperature
– 3 tablespoons cocoa powder

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Pie

Line an 8-inch springform pan or pie dish with parchment paper and set aside. (Note: This pan size is smaller than a traditional 9-inch pie plate. If you use a traditional pie dish, the resulting pie will be thinner than what you see in the photo.) To prepare the crust, combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir well to create a uniform dough. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the lined pan and set aside. To prepare the filling, combine the four ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth and silky. You may have to stop and scrape down the sides a few times to get the batter very smooth and evenly mixed. (Alternatively, you could probably use a hand mixer to combine these ingredients, as long as they get whipped together very well. Mixing by hand doesn’t work as well.) Pour the filling over the top of the crust, and use a spatula to smooth the top. Place the pie in the freezer to set until firm, about 4-6 hours. Once the pie is firm, prepare the chocolate topping. Combine the coconut oil, maple syrup, and cocoa powder in small bowl and whisk well to combine, creating a smooth chocolate sauce. (If your ingredients are cold, this mixture will clump, but it will become smooth again when gently warmed.) Use the parchment paper to easily remove the pie from the pan, then drizzle the chocolate over the top. When the chocolate touches the cold pie, it should solidify pretty quickly — like a “magic shell” topping you’d use on ice cream. Allow the pie to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, to make it easier to slice and serve. Store any remaining pie in the refrigerator for up to one week. (If you freeze the pie, it will be too firm to serve right away.)

3) Pumpkin Pie. This recipe is also one you can eat seconds and not feel guilty about as it calls for all clean ingredients.

Paleo Pumpkin Pie

For the Crust
– 2 cups all blanched almond flour
– 1/4 teaspoon celtic sea salt
– 2 tablespoons coconut oil
– 1 egg
For the Filling
– 1 (15 ounce) canned pumpkin puree (or 1 1/2 cup homemade pumpkin puree)
– 3 eggs
– 1/2 cup coconut milk
– 1/2 cup honey
– 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon nutmeg
– 1/8 teaspoon celtic sea salt

For the crust, place flour and salt in a food processor and pulse briefly. Add coconut oil and egg and pulse until mixture forms a ball. Press dough into 9-inch pie dish. For the filling, combine pumpkin puree and eggs in a food processor. Pulse in coconut milk, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Pour filling into pie crust and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes. Allow to cool then refrigerate for 2 hours to set up.

4) Cowboy Beans. What’s a Thanksgiving feast without cowboy beans?
Cowboy Beans
– 1 pound hamburger
– 1 onion
– 1 cup brown sugar
– 1 cup ketchup
– 1 large can (or 2 regular size) pork and beans (not drained)
– 1 can northern beans (drained)
– 1 can kidney beans (drained)
– A pinch of salt and pepper

In a skillet brown hamburger and onion (drain off grease). Then add brown sugar and ketchup. Let simmer for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large pot and add beans. Mix all ingredients until well blended. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can either microwave for about 18 minutes or bake them in the oven for about an hour. Be sure to cover lightly with saran wrap or something, otherwise you will have beans all over your microwave!!

5) Sweet Potato Casserole. This recipe serves approximately 10 people and takes 10 minutes to prep. Plus, it saves room in the oven as it can be baked in the crockpot. Can you say yum?
Sweet Potato Casserole
For the Potatoes
– 5-10 sweet potatoes, depending on size
– 1/4 cup butter (softened)
– 2 tablespoons white sugar
– A pinch of salt
– 2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
– 1 tablespoon orange juice
– 2 large eggs
– 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
– 1/2 cup milk.
For the Topping
– 3/4 cup pecans
– 2/3 cup brown sugar
– 1/4 cup white flour
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1/4 cup butter

Line your crockpot with a disposable liner or spray generously with nonstick spray. Peel, bake, and mash the sweet potatoes. Add butter, white sugar, pinch of salt, brown sugar, and orange juice in crockpot. Then lightly beat the eggs with a fork. Pour in the lightly beaten eggs, vanilla extract, and milk into the crockpot. Beat until completely smooth. Smooth the mixture with a spatula. For the topping, stir together all of the topping ingredients in a different bowl. Spread mixture evenly on top of the sweet potatoes. Cover the crockpot and cook on high for 2.5 to 4 hours depending on how hot your crockpot cooks.

6) Scalloped Oysters. For all you sea-loving eaters, this recipe takes 10 minutes to prep.
Scalloped Oyster
– 1 quart shucked oysters in their liquor
– 2 cups coarsely crushed saltine crackers
– 1 cup dry bread crumbs
– 3/4 cup melted butter
– 1 cup cream
– A pinch of nutmeg
– A pinch of salt/pepper
– A pinch of celery salt (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Pick oysters free of any shells. In a deep buttered casserole, mix together crackers, bread crumbs, and melted butter. Place a thin layer of crumb mixture in the bottom of the casserole. Cover it with half of the oysters. Season cream with nutmeg, salt, pepper and celery salt (if using). Pour half of this mixture over the oysters. On the next layer, use the oysters, 3/4 of the remaining crumb mixture and cover that with seasoned cream. Top with the remaining crumbs. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly browned.

7) Green Bean Casserole. This recipe seemed to be an absolute favorite here in the office as 3 folks recommended it.
Green Bean Casserole
– 1/3 stick butter
– 1/2 cup diced onions
– 1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
– 2 cups sliced green beans
– 3 cups chicken broth
– 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
– 1 (2.8 ounce) can French-fried onion rings
– Pinch House Seasoning (recipe below)
– 1 cup grated Cheddar
Pinch House Seasoning
– 1 cup salt
– 1/4 cup garlic powder

Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt butter in a large skillet and sauté onions/mushrooms. Boil green beans in chicken broth for 10 minutes and drain. Add the green beans, mushroom soup, onion rings, and House Seasoning, to taste, to the onion mixture. Stir well. Pour into a greased 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes, then top the casserole with the Cheddar and bake for 10 minutes longer, or until the casserole is hot and cheese is melted.

All these recipes have been AER staff approved for your enjoyment and we hope you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Potatoes the size of grapefruit?

Posted on: November 17th, 2014 by Katlyn Rumbold No Comments

Yep, you read that right. Homegrown potatoes the size of grapefruits.

Just the other day, we got word from one of our customers in Illinois that they just harvested the best potato crop they’ve ever had. They’ve been gardening for years and this is the first year their potatoes were the size of grapefruits.

So, how’d they do it? What’s the magic potion? Well, they changed one thing.

They used SP-1.

SP-1 is a diverse blend of beneficial bacteria, fungi, algae, enzymes, carbon substrates, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to support growth of soil microbial life, which in turn converts soil nutrients into forms which plants can take up. Not only does it give small-scale producers the competitive edge in crop production, but large-scale producers as well.


In this particular case, our customer used it in the garden, which in turn enhanced soil microbial diversity, cycled stored nutrients to the plant, converted free gaseous nitrogen from the air and soil into a form the plant could utilize, and amplified the effectiveness of fertility blends prescribed through soil analysis.

In fact when we were testing in our own lab, the treated seed pushed the lid clear off our petri dish just four days after “planting’ as compared to the untreated seeds that were just beginning to grow their initial roots.

At planting time, SP-1 can be applied in-furrow or 2X2 along with fertilizers. There are also several options of application during the growing season including broadcast, side-dress, foliar, drip-line, and fertigation.

So, perhaps, the secret to growing the biggest crop to date is no secret at all. Perhaps, it’s just tweaking current management tactics to include that of SP-1.

Until next time, happy trails!

Farm Favorite Friday: My growing love for cover crops

Posted on: November 7th, 2014 by Katlyn Rumbold 4 Comments

It all started when Eric Johnston came to work at AgriEnergy Resources as an agronomist nearly a year ago. While visiting customers in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Ohio, Eric was awakened to a whole new world.

A world filled with cover crops, which is proving to be one of his favorite parts of farming. And for good reason.

He farms row crops alongside his family near Tiskilwa, Illinois and is always on the look out on how to best increase yield potential year after year.

Meet Eric:

Rolled Rye

“Yes I had read about them in ag magazines, but had never personally seen cover crops growing in fields or talked with the cutting edge producers who were implementing them into their farm systems. Heck one of our customers in Indiana had alternated Austrian winter peas and radishes in 30 inch rows. This year he was going to use RTK to plant corn in the middle of these rows. Another of our customers from Wisconsin planted some fields with cereal rye. He let the cereal rye get to 3-4 foot tall this spring and then no till planted soybeans into it (pictured to the right).

Then he used his roller crimper to knock down the rye. Notice the weed control – this field had no herbicide on it!! And we just got word that it yielded very well also.

Visiting our customer’s farms, talking with farmers, and of course reading about cover crop use has me hooked. I fell for them hard and there’s no looking back.

Johnston Cereal Rye

We drilled in cereal rye following the combine on some of our fields this fall. We also flew on (by helicopter) some oats and radishes into standing corn. All of the cover cropped fields are looking great so far and I cant help but get giddy when I drive by or walk these fields.

I don’t understand why more farmers aren’t trying to implement cover crops into their farming systems. To have living roots in the soil throughout the year can only do good things. These roots release root exudates in the form of carbon and sugar and are what feed the soil microbes and increase organic matter. They also protect against wind/water erosion, increase water infiltration, decrease compaction, increase aeration and scavenge nutrients as to avoid run-off in our water system. Talk about soil health!

The Johnston Boys

Another big reason I am falling in love with cover crops is I think they will decrease our herbicide usage on our farms and help us with weed control. Mother nature wants to cover every acre of bare dirt with something, so why not have it be a beneficial cover crop instead of a weed!! I feel that cover crops and biologicals are going to be the future of farming, and I hope to pass my knowledge onto my son, Cullen (pictured with his grandpa).

On our own family farm, we’re already discussing ways we can put cover crops and biological products from AgriEnergy Resources on more of our acres next year. We know it takes a little more work and planning, but the benefits far outweigh the work. As I drive by one of our green cover cropped fields, and then look at the neighbors bare field right next to it, my love for cover crops keeps growing. We need to be thinking about the health of our soil for not only now but for future generations as well.”

What about you? Do you use cover crops? We’d love to hear about it. And maybe even share your story in next week’s edition of Farm Favorite Friday.

Until next time, happy trails!

Farm Favorite Friday: Celebrating 25 Years

Posted on: October 31st, 2014 by Katlyn Rumbold No Comments

Today is a very special day for one of our Sales Agronomists.

Today Gary Campbell celebrates 25 years with AgriEnergy Resources. He was here even before AgriEnergy Resources was officially formed. He remembers a time when there were only a handful of employees who didn’t even have specific job titles, but yet had such a passion for agriculture they’d do whatever they had to for success.

From the pen of Gary:

“Funny thing to think back 25 years ago when I first moved to Princeton, IL to work for a small company and a man named Dave Larson. It wasn’t even called AgriEnergy Resources yet. Only had a handful of employees, and most didn’t have specific job titles, just did whatever needed to be done that day.

One of Gary's favorite thing about farm life is working with growers to achieve the highest yields yet.

One of Gary’s favorite things about farm life is working with growers to achieve the highest yields yet.

I first came to Princeton to meet Dave on a fall harvest day. The first thing he said was, “come take a ride with me.” We went about 5 miles north to see a farmer and long-time friend, Bill Fordham. Bill took us out in his field to look at several different corn plots, where he was trying different hybrids, tillage practices, and fertilizer treatments that Dave had recommended. I still remember how excited Bill was that a certain hybrid, with the right kind of tillage, and a good biological fertilizer mix made for some great looking (and yielding) corn! And because Bill was excited, Dave was just as excited for him! That’s when I knew that working for Dave Larson and the staff at AgriEnergy Resources was the place for me.

After all, what is more enjoyable in the fall than finding out which things we have spent all year testing either crash and burn (oops), or hit a home run (yahoo!)?

It still gives me a thrill to crunch through yield data with many of our growers and hearing them say, “Wow, that really worked. We’ve got to do more of that! [when using AER products]”

Over 25 years many things have certainly changed. From my role at ever-growing AgriEnergy Resources to the technology used when feeding the world on our farms, I know I made the right choice when I visited Princeton that one fateful day.”

We’re all looking forward to seeing what the next 25 years bring in agriculture!

What’s your favorite aspect of country living? We’d love to hear about it. Maybe even feature YOU in an upcoming post.

Until next time, happy trails!

What is biological farming?

Posted on: October 23rd, 2014 by Katlyn Rumbold 1 Comment

The science of managing soil, air, water, and residue with biology.

Since we’ve discussed our early beginnings and years of experience, I thought it was time to address what it is a biological farmer actually does. When it comes down to it, all farmers (biological, organic, conventional) are all working to achieve one goal. The goal of feeding the ever growing population and while practices may vary from farmer to farmer, the bottom line is still the same. Produce more with fewer inputs.

Corn grown biologically.

Corn grown biologically.

So how does a biological farmer go about managing soil, air, water, and residue with biology? By realizing everything works together.

They manage air by maintaining adequate pore space using proper calcium amendments and mechanically with iron and diesel. They manage water by draining excess water and building a water holding capacity into the topsoil with carbon (organic matter). They manage residue by choosing the tillage method that supports the greatest number of microbes per acre based on several criteria based on erosion, soil type, and climate. It is biology that drives tilth, nutrient efficiency, and proper residue decomposition for carbon and nitrogen sequestration.

Biological farming is not a single magic-bullet product or a single one-size-fits-all practice. It is a year-round effort to manage your soil’s biological profile so the microbes work for you. It’s about building organic matter, which in turn sequesters nutrients to be deposited in your “soil bank”.

We’ve noticed that if the above concepts are well implemented, nutrient efficiency can be greatly improved. Successful biological farmers are able to significantly reduce their rates of added nitrogen and phosphate.

Even more than a scientific art, biological farming is about profit, efficiency, and stewardship.

Until next time, happy trails!

You want the dirt? We got it!

Posted on: October 8th, 2014 by Katlyn Rumbold 9 Comments

No, not that dirt. Dirt dirt. Soil dirt. You know the black stuff that makes crops grow.

From this day forward we strive to be your one-stop shop for all things dirt related and beyond. We’re so excited to join the social network to better connect with YOU — our friends, our customers, our family.

So sit back, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the ride. It may be no surprise to many of you that we strive to lead the transition to biological farming by providing training and products to innovative farmers. We believe biological farming is the future of economical, high-quality food production and the foundation for healthy soil, healthy plants, healthy livestock, healthy food, and healthy people.

Dave and Carolyn Larson had no idea the legacy they were about to start when AgriEnergy Resources was founded.

Dave and Carolyn Larson had no idea the legacy they were about to start when AgriEnergy Resources was founded.

And this is our story.

It all started 27 years ago in 1987 when one innovative, American farmer founded AgriEnergy Resources to provide fellow agricultural producers with the educational opportunities, quality soil fertility products, and support services necessary for implementing renewable farming systems. For it was that year that Dave Larson started a legacy that would continue well beyond his lifetime.

This legacy would soon spread from Princeton, Illinois to several of the continental United States as well as countries outside of the U.S.

Much like all of us that are currently living out his legacy here at AgriEnergy Resources, Dave had a love for the land. Guess you could say farming was in his blood.

In 1977, he embarked on an exhaustive study of alternative philosophies and methods for agricultural production. He researched and applied principles offered by universities, other soil fertility specialists, and proponents of the Biological Theory of Ionization. This research, coupled with his own observations of the laws of nature, led him to an understanding of a group of basic principles. These principles, when applied to production agriculture, became the basis of what is now biological farming and the basis of what Daily Dirt is really about.

So, yes, we will bring you the Daily Dirt of the agricultural world, but Daily Dirt is so much more than that. It’s about a lifestyle. An all consuming faith. A passion.

It’s about the innovative, American farmer.

Until next time, happy trails!

Oh and to keep updated on the Daily Dirt find us on Facebook, Twitter, and/or sign up for our GroundWork emailing list. We’d love to connect with you in one way or another!