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IDEAS & ADVICE

A VOICE FOR SOIL HEALTH

Dennis Hoyle

 

Dennis Hoyle farms in the middle of Edmunds County, about 35 miles west of Aberdeen. He's primarily in the livestock business now, producing grass-fed beef.

Ideas and Advice for NOLOs

Sustainable or regenerative...

"There’s sustainable agriculture and there’s regenerative agriculture. Regenerative will get you to that situation where you have the higher value land. I consider organic matter a form of wealth. I consider water infiltration a form of wealth. If I can soak up twice as much water as my neighbor, I have an advantage. I consider biology a form of wealth. If I have microbes working that will turn my crop residues and recycle nutrients so I don’t have to buy imported phosphorus from wherever, that’s an advantage to me. Anything that can be done like that is economically valuable."

Improving soil health is fun...

"I’m learning—that makes it interesting. I’m seeing my organic matter improve year over year. I didn’t know I could improve organic matter in one year’s time—enough to be measurable—but we’ve done it."

If I was renting my land out...

"If I was renting out land, if I was no longer physically able to do it, I want someone to do it the way I want it done. I’m in it for the long haul, I’m in it for the great grandchildren. I would have a conversation with my tenant, basically saying I know of a soil health school coming up in two months, let’s go. Plan to go with me to that and let’s see what we can learn and how we might adopt those changes. Do it as a team because we really are a team. Give him an opportunity to learn. But if he absolutely refuses to do that, to get interested, I would look for a different tenant.

We have to pay our bills...

"If you care about your land, and if you plan to own it for a while, and maybe pass it on to the next generation, you have to see to it that it’s protected, hopefully improved. We all have to pay our bills, so economics has to be a factor. But we’ve got to pay our bills for a long time. If we’re going to be in business in one hundred years, we’ve got to take care of the resource."