Big Timber: B Bar Ranch and Living Soil Farm, 2022

Our first Soil Crawl of 2022 was held in mid-June at Living Soil Farm near Big Timber on the heels of the recent flooding event. Thankfully, the floods did not impact the event, though everyone’s thoughts were with those impacted close by.

The day began with participants enjoying a farm tour led by co-host Cameron Skinner. The first stop was to learn about Skinner’s neighbor, Katherine Galloway, and the rotational grazing schedule she maintains for her cows with the help of her two young daughters. Next the group learned about two composting techniques before ending the tour in the Community Supported Agriculture garden. There, Cameron has utilized many soil health tools and principles like cover crops (to keep the soil covered), soil tests, and living mulch.

Soil Crawl participants enjoyed a lunch of Living Soil Farm veggie salad and mouth watering burgers generously donated by BBar Ranch. Lunch was accompanied by talks from Northern Plains member and soil health expert John Brown, MSU professor Dr. Fabian Menalled, and Kareen Erbe, who runs Broken Ground, a permaculture consulting and education company. Each speaker provided a deeper look into regenerative agriculture principles and possibilities.

The Soil Crawl continued with speaker Mihail Kennedy of BBar ranch who spoke about scaling up regenerative agriculture practices. Participants were lucky enough to get their hands in some compost and learned about butcher waste composting and bone char.

Last, but certainly not least, Tony Hartshorn and two of his students from the MSU soil integration lab led us on a true crawl to four different pits across the farm, each with its own history, story and lesson. The group ended the day back in the garden to share takeaways and lessons learned.

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