One of the things we’ve been committed to experimenting with in the past few years is reducing tillage on our farm—in other words, fewer tractor passes through our fields and less turnover of the soil. We normally use tractors to cull weeds, turn under our cover crops, and make beds ready for planting after we have disked a field. We’re trying to reduce the use of tractors and soil turnover in two ways. The first is by using black poly mulch on our beds, and the second is by using our cover crops as mulch.
The ongoing drought in the Western states has reached historic proportions. California Governor Jerry Brown has put statewide water restrictions for homes and businesses into place for the first time ever. Now in its fourth year, this drought has the potential to reshape the entire country in profound ways—from the way we get our food to where we choose to live.