Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District

We inspire and partner with our community to protect the natural resources and agricultural future of our District.


Dirt has a microbiome, and it may double as an antidepressant

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No one would blame you for not wanting your body to be infested with creatures from your garden. But maybe you should rethink your position.

Your garden has its own microbiome, and research suggests it’s good for you. Our health depends on the flourishing microbiome in our guts—and on how much of the natural world’s microbiome we let infiltrate.

Lately, thanks to modern life, we don’t let in a lot. But in a string of pioneering studies, scientists are beginning to look at what would happen if we literally inject microbes from the soil into our bodies, reintroducing us to the ancient relationship between bacteria and human. So far, the results have been uplifting—to both the scientists and the subjects they study.

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Source:  Zoe Schlanger, Quartz, May 30, 2017


Manure and Bedding Composting for Energy and Fertilizer

University of New Hampshire researcher John Aber has been using a Northeast SARE Agroecosystems award to explore the waste streams and energy cycles on an organic dairy farm. The purpose of his research is to help dairy farmers take advantage of manure, bedding, and waste hay by turning it into energy and fertilizer for the farm or for sale. This 3 minute video describes how the on farm composting system works. The heat generated by the composting process is captured and used for farm hot-water demand, accounting for about 20% of the value of the system.

“Composting is a growth industry and this is a very cost effective way to compost and to capture energy created in the process,” says Aber.  Farms can use the compost as a fertilizer and soil amendment or bag it and sell it. For more information on this kind of composting system, you can contact John Aber or Matt Aber, research scientist at UNH’s Organic Dairy Research Farm.

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Source:  Kathy Voth, On Pasture, May 1, 2017


What Do Different Plants Tell Us About Our Soils and How to Improve Them?

Greg Brann, Natural Resources Conservation Service Grazing Specialist in Tennessee, recently sent some information out to his local farmers about “indicator plants” along with some tips for how to use that information to improve soil health and pasture quality.  It’s good information for everyone to consider.

What Are Indicator Plants?

Indicator Plants are plants that, by their presence or abundance, can help us assess the quality of the site and what’s occurring below the surface. The chart below describes what the plants you see are telling you about what’s happening below the surface.

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Source:  Greg Brann, On Pasture, May 1, 2017