It has been 16 years since Gary Zimmer first published his ground-breaking book, The Biological Farmer. That booked paved the way for many farmers to gain a deep appreciation for their soils and introduced them to a different way of thinking about farming. After a year of writing, the second edition of the book was released this year.
The new edition follows the same format as the original edition, and is still one of the best resources available to gain a better understanding of soils, the value of fertilizer ingredients, how those ingredients interact with soils, and why soil health leads to healthier crops, higher yields and better farm profits. The book still contains real-world examples from biological farmers, updated to include their latest stories of on-farm successes and challenges.
Much has changed in agriculture over the last 16 years and a lot of those changes are reflected in the new edition. We don’t always notice how much things are changing when we’re focused on this year’s planting, this year’s fertilizer, this year’s harvest and this year’s prices, but when you look back, the recent changes to agriculture are remarkable. The first edition of The Biological Farmer came out in 2000, and at that time, only a small percentage of farmers were planting GMO crops. Cover crops were still a novelty, and it was a pretty rare and out-there fertilizer salesman who was selling biologicals.
Today, ag markets are inundated with new biologicals, seed enhancers and the latest and greatest microbes to add to your soil. Cover crops and soil health have also gone from the fringes to the mainstream with talks and articles on these topics in just about every ag conference and ag magazine out there. To help farmers navigate this rapidly growing market, the book contains more information on biologicals. New sections on cover crop management and soil health have also been added to guide farmers in their decision making processes. There is also more information about soil biology and soil carbon in the new edition of the book, and a new chapter devoted to seed selection.
All of this updated and new information does mean the book has gotten lengthier — despite removing outdated information, the revised edition is over 100 pages longer than the original! Our hope is that the new edition is easier to read and provides you with even more knowledge and tools to guide you on your biological farming path.
Copies of Gary’s new book can be purchased from your Midwestern BioAg consultant or online from the Acres USA bookstore.