Follow Ed Roberson and the Mountain & Prairie Podcast
Mountain and Prairie host Ed Roberson on innovative approaches to water in the West
Ed Roberson is conservation director at the Palmer Land Trust, and he’s host of the Mountain and Prairie podcast. We talk about some of the problems surrounding water in the West–and some new approaches to balancing urban and agricultural water needs.
1’40 how Ed got into conservation work
5’57 “buy and dry” — the selling of agricultural water rights
8’07 ecological implications of selling water rights
8’30 Crowley County, CO
9’48 like the Dust Bowl
11’06 where the water comes from
11’20 Book: Where the Water Goes: Life and Death Along the Colorado River by David Owen
11’50 Marker 9
12’19 how sustainable Colorado agriculture water has been—or not
14’00 water rights set up during an unusually wet period
15’25 they byzantine complexity of western water rights law
16’10 models for keeping water on agricultural land—even after water rights are sold
17’16 the Bessamer ditch model
18’03 Pueblo, CO, bought water rights and then leased them back to the farmers
19’21 new system to reallocate water
20’03 an innovative and new approach
22’29 contrast to Colorado Springs
23’47 the importance of holistic thinking
25’26 how creative thinking arises in the face of difficulties
26’23 local food movement in this context
28’12 return dried out land to its original ecosystem states
30’01 revegetating land to grassland
31’22 models for restoring grasslands to grazing
33’21 young people doing this work
34’05 soil conservation practices
37’54 the need for more comprehensive water conservation
40’00 do land trusts work together?
43’13 Mountain and Prairie podcast
Hopi farmers must be doing something right: they have survived and grown their own food for hundreds of generations. We talk to Dr. Michael Kotutwa Johnson about their regenerative farming and cultural practices––and the challenges to maintaining them.
Betsy Gaines Quammen has been researching the history of Mormonism and its relationship to Western landscapes for years. We talk about her new book, American Zion: Cliven Bundy, God and Public Lands in the West.
Water expert Brian Richter walks us through the history of these great man-made lakes, and how we can ensure that they will continue to provide water through man-made crises like climate change.
There’s plenty of food, but with Covid-19 it’s not getting where it needs to go, and everyone–especially farmers–is paying the price. Rachel Armstrong of Farm Commons walks us through the problems–and some solutions–to the many dilemmas facing the food system.
Grazing on public lands is controversial–for good reason. But when it’s done right, adaptive grazing can greatly improve land health–from overgrazed land, to former oil fields, to bombing ranges. Gregory Horner tells the stories.
Grant and Dawn Breitkreutz didn’t know they were cultivating soil health when they started doing Holistic Management of their livestock. But as they learned to work with nature rather than fighting it their soil–and their farm–began to thrive in ways they’d never dreamed of.
Farmer and writer Stanley Crawford got involved in a legal action that challenged a huge firm that wasn’t paying duties, and was “dumping” garlic onto the US market. What was supposed to take one year turned into a multi-year drama that is still ongoing.
Ronnie Cummins analyzes what’s not working about our food system and lays out a blueprint for change — while reminding us that regenerative agriculture is ultimately a necessity.
Kelsey Ducheneaux is a fourth generation regenerative beef cattle rancher, and she works with the Intertribal Agriculture Council helping producers to work within the current system–and reinvigorate native foods and practices.
Brennan Washington is an agriculture Renaissance man. He farms, promotes farmers markets, provides resources to limited-resource producers, and produces the Sustainable Ag Rider podcast.
Farmers in Australia work as fire fighters–but they don’t always do effective fire prevention. We talk to farm planner Darren Doherty talks about the devastation, causes, and opportunities arising from the bush fires.
We talk to Kevin Watt from TomKat Ranch about the practice and benefits of regenerative agriculture, how to incentivize it, and the dire long-term consequences of the degenerative practices of industrial agriculture.
Kate Zeigler is a geologist who works with farmers and ranchers in the arid Southwest to monitor their wells and the water table that keeps them flowing–and helps them to come up with water conservation strategies.
Jillian Hishaw works with farmers to protect themselves, their families, and their land–legally and financially. Attorney and food systems strategist, she provides free or low-cost services, particularly to African American farmers.
The hemp plant is amazingly versatile and resilient, and it can be used to produce innumerable healthy products and services. So why was it made illegal, and what does the future hold? We talk to hemp farmers Ed Berg and Scott Perez.
What does it take to be an apprentice on a farm or ranch? What does it take to mentor the apprentices? Paul Neubauer knows both sides, and talks about learning–and teaching–both practical and personal skills on the land.