I'm working with a friend to help to develop a demonstration of broadscale permaulture/restoration agriculture/keyline design on a small piece of land in relatively flat corn and soy farm land. This is a large conventional family farm, and permission has been given to the son (and probable future heir of the land) to try out his permaculture ideas on 1-3 acres of land. They family will want to see some results, and obtain a marketable yield within the first years. We've talked about subsoiling, planting trees, and running pastured chickens over the land. I've also though subsoiling and planting a hay crop may help obtain a quick yield and build soil.
Im especially interested in the broadscale application of permaculture, but nearly all of my on the ground work has been small urban scale. I have an idea, but im not sure the best way to appeal to farmers. What could be done on a small chunk of conventional farm land that would grab the attention of conventional farmers? The longterm goal would hopefully be to convert the whole farm, but thats not going to happen until theres something fully functional, on the ground, and producing a yield. There are no known commercial farms using these methods in the area and we believe that this might be a critical experiment for the area.
G'day and interesting question that is quite close to home for us. We have a 25 acre property that we are designing to be 'big'. That is we are establishing systems across it in a scaled microcosm of what might be applicable on a larger holding and these include:
* Various dam/pond styles - ie. ridge, contour, valley, sump and turkey's nest
* Keyline flood irrigation and K-line portable sprinkler irrigation
* Wide spaced mixed species tree crops, orchards and forestry
* Pasture cropping
* Management intensive planned grazing
* Polyface-style 'IntegriPasture' systems
* Open accounting to show that the agricultural systems are not dependant on outside income sources, such as consulting or education and can stand on their own two feet
* Fencing systems that are applicable at any scale.
* Keyline and Holistic Management Soil renovation and regeneration systems
And so on. Getting access to larger properties is expensive especially if you want to own it and for us no debt was more important than getting the big dream chunk of land. We've had a number of larger landholders come to our place and get the picture on how scalable our various systems are which has been pretty gratifying as this confirmed my intention...Asides in a hour or two on foot we can get around the place and farmers like that too!
All the best,
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