[permaculture] Fw: Re: [SANET-MG] Eric Kindberg Dies in China

Steve Diver steved at ipa.net
Fri Dec 19 17:49:55 EST 2008

Forward to Permaculture List - 

Note:  The late Eric Kindberg (farming in from 
Arkansas, Iowa, China) and Guy Baldwin (farming in
California) were the two main U.S. farmers considered
"early adopters" of the Keyline system in the 1980s 
and 90s. 

Now I recall that the Yeoman's Plough / Keyline
Chisel Plow was known as the "Yeoman's Slipper Imp" 
back then. 

Steve Diver 

-----Forwarded Message-----
>From: Steve Diver <steved at IPA.NET>
>Sent: Dec 15, 2008 4:40 PM
>Subject: Re: [SANET-MG] Eric Kindberg Dies in China
>Wow, this is really shocking news. Eric Kindberg was 
>a top notch organic farmer with advanced skills.  Many 
>Sanetters also know he was an "organizer" with a bulldog 
>approach towards creating policy/standards on behalf 
>of organic farmers.
>I first met Eric and Beth in 1988 when I drove
>down from an organic farm in the Missouri Ozarks 
>to their the remote location in the Arkansas Ozarks
>to pick up some untreated sorghum-sudan grass for 
>a large field of cover cropping.  But then I ended
>up staying for hours to listen and walk around the
>farm and equipment yard.  
>Eric and Beth had school-age children back then.
>They hosted several field days at their farm near
>Bass, AR.   
>Eric was instrumental in the vision and organization 
>behind the tri-part organic movement in the Ozarks, 
>circa 1980s and 90s: 
>OOGA - Ozark Organic Growers Association
>OSFVP - Ozark Small Farm Viability Project
>FORGE - Financing Ozarks Rural Economy & Growth  
>In case you didn't know, Eric was an equipment wizard. 
>He was a distributor for the Keyline Chisel Plow,
>also known as the Yeoman's Plow.  This is the 
>unique subsoiler with paraplow points known as
>the "Wombat" and the "Batswing" (olden day terms).  
>Eric used it on pastures to "slice" through sod and 
>in vegetable fields to work up beds.   I think
>he wrote a paper on how it works to create humus
>at deeper layers in the soil by slicing, 
>root re-proliferation, and bacterial slimes. 
>He created a multi-purpose toolbar system that
>could handle the Keyline Plow for working the
>soil, then adapted to a precision seeder with
>guidance wheels, and then adapted to precision
>cultivators on guidance wheels, and then adapted
>to a harvest platform.    
>At one point or another Eric planted every kind 
>of cover crop to see what grows well in the region.
>Uniquely, he planted a buckwheat cover crop as an 
>intercrop on his vegetable beds.  
>He kept an old combine on hand to grow out
>cover crop seed for harvesting, since the 
>expense of cover crop seed adds up. But he
>also bought seed from all the wholesale seed 
>companies in the South -- like Kaufman Seed 
>in Ashdown, AR -- which is still around. 
>Eric and Beth grew large volumes of diverse
>organic vegetables for OOGA, including water 
>cress which they raised in a coolwater stream 
>on limestone bedrock.  
>Just this fall Eric was corresponding by email
>again so were shared some off-list resources.
>Eric lamented the lack of farmer participation 
>on Sanet compared to the early days. He wanted 
>farmers to provide experienced-based input 
>to university and research programs (really he
>wanted these programs to invite farmers into
>their midst by way of realizing the value of 
>collaborating with grassroots organic farmers...
>as well as pay the farmers for their time and 
>expertise; classic Eric commentary).
>For your information, I will re-post his last
>correspondence of Sept 21 2008 since it contains 
>his current thoughts and activities.  
>With respect,
>Steve Diver
>Eric Kindberg: 
>--My thoughts were legume based rotations, how they are 
>designed and what was in them, 2-3 legumes always causes 
>larger growth of every species in the mix, especially 
>the individual appropriated legumes, was a breakthrough. 
>--Yeomans systems and practices far excell above anything 
>ever done in terms of an overall system--coincidently, its 
>great success in the field came with the introduction of 
>the Ley legume overseeded of hard seeded annual legumes 
>in 1948. Allan and P. A. said the same. 
>--The strip forest/forb, small plant area is still the best 
>of the best to maintain biological diversity on commercial 
>farms--never accepted outside of Australia. 
>--The Yeomans' subsoiler is so superior to any field preparation 
>tool, also applicable to renovating pastures, bed forming and 
>much else, nothing comes close--and that is straight from the 
>couple hundred of organic farmers--I quite selling to anyone 
>but organic farmers after a couple of years and only advertised 
>to organic farmers.
>--Farms without livestock are fighting an up hill battle for 
>fertility and biotic enhancement, even down to the need for 
>saliva, let alone the feces/urine of the livestock on the field. 
>No natural plant life has ever developed, grown without being 
>oversighted by livestock at some timing. Livestock effectively 
>grazed, 25,000 lb per acres, computed no matter what size of 
>herd which then determines the size of the paddock to complete 
>in one to three days, or before any regrowth is identifiable 
>is A1. Poultry for insect control, especially in fruits, small 
>or tree, and nuts, are simple and work. 
>--On weed control, we are so effective using biotics, timing, 
>mechanical, and competitive soil building sequence, it is a 
>dream. For row crop or spaced row planting, our rubber finger 
>weeder made in China is unbeatable, copied after the Buddingh 
>which lacked bearings as noted before.
>--Fertility can be created from almost anything as you know.
>--Pest control is solved generally by fertility, eyes on the 
>field, some cases mineralization or biological then botanical. 
>We have neem everywhere. No one but us takes the seeds, crushes 
>and extracts the oil--but neem is there, for free, lining the roads.
>--On the practical level of actual human interference with the 
>land, plant, animal, water natural resources and design, 
>the Keyline Scale of Permanence excels.
>--Harvesting and post harvest handling among organic farmers 
>leaves the Central Valley handling as a very expensive alternative --
>I could show you the mechanisms I have designed for hydrocooling 
>in the field in less than 1 minute after harvest, etc.
>So, where does this lead one--to sustainable agriculture--un-needing 
>of synthetic fertility, purchasing off farm produced products 
>whether for feed or pest control--you do need some machines, most of 
>can be farmer built, systemic understanding, and close observation--but 
>these are the characteristics of indigenous peoples and the foundation 
>of all cultures.
>And on to market development and sales, 60% of commercial farming is 
>marketing. Organic has excelled in that, far outstripping any consumer 
>based marketing sector in fewer years. Purchasing and marketing 
>cooperatives are of course the solution to sustainability.
>In China I have refined and revised the subsoiler frame for less 
>expensive, closer connection to tractor, integrating bed forming, 
>pasture renovation and knife roller for green manure crops, which 
>incidentally as conveyed by 90 year old Illinois farmers should be 
>cut back or destroyed before the get above 14 inches.
>Have a small acreage near town, some flat land, some side hill 
>planted to avocados, citrus, banana, pineapple. Row crop veges 
>on the slight drop land. Gone through all the Chinese tractors, 
>equipment for small farms. Two worthwhile other than the tractor, 
>an excellent bed width grain drill with double openers, back bar 
>roller and leveling board for less than $200 delivered within 
>China and a small single row, they have two row also pto driven 
>root digger for $800 delivered within China. Forget about the 
>rest of implements--rip offs. Only one tractor worth exporting 
>Dong Fang Hong, now called YTO, and perhaps Foton. Loaders are 
>outstanding $3225 USD, FOB China--bigger cylinders, but near the 
>same price as US versions say for my 70hp, 4  wheel drive YTO, 
>with loader cost FOB factory is $15,000--hard to beat that. 
>Organic farmers should be cooperatively purchasing in quantity 
>at even lesser price--more sustainable.
>Farming in China is unsustainable--because there is no secure 
>land tenure, therefore areas row crop, bed farmed per family 
>is 1/2 an acre with from 1 to 3 acres of side hill for banana, 
>tree crops in the north, etc. My 4 years living in China has 
>provided many months of insights, which would take days to write 
>up on all sectors of society. My major interest is the Li people, 
>1.3 million who live around me, never defeated by any force in 
>3000 years, totally living with and of, and within their biological 
>and cultural biodiversity--there are actually 5 different none 
>communicable languages with the Li and yet the weaving, superlative 
>in comparison to any worldwide, relations to nature, many of the 
>traditions are similar between all 5 language groups.
>Am now making an exhibit, 60 photos, 1937 silent movie, some 
>artifacts for the American Museum of Natural History--there 
>has never been an exhibit or even discussion of the Li peoples 
>3000 continuum of sustainabilty.
>Where I am this day is defining the domains and the elements 
>of biological and cultural diversity to document for the 
>exhibit--perhaps, you have passed over some writings related?

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