Published: December 9, 2022

Category: Regenerative Agriculture, The Non-GMO Blog

Paul and Diane Overby of Wolford, North Dakota are enjoying the premiums from growing flaxseed for specialty food markets using regeneratively grown practices. The best part is spreading the word to farmers and consumers on the benefits of no-till, low chemical use, more sustainable agriculture that promotes healthy soil.

In 2019, Archer Daniels Midland—for whom the Overbys had grown sunflower and peas—invited the couple to grow flaxseed for its new “Knwble Grwn” (“Noble Grown”) brand, with a per-acre premium. This September, they harvested over 30 bushels per acre of flax—some raw seed will be sold, but most is crushed for the oil market.

“It is not organic,” Paul said. “It doesn’t mean you don’t have any chemicals. It’s just, ‘How little can we use?’”

In addition to no-till, cover cropping, and minimal chemical inputs (a pre-emergent herbicide and a post-emergent chemical), glyphosate use is not allowed as a pre-harvest desiccant. “Consumers are getting very nervous about … finding traces of glyphosate in the food supply. It’s something we’re going to have to deal with.”

Harvesting can be tricky—temperature and moisture conditions are critical. “This needs to have a premium. If they’re going to require no glyphosate, they’re going to have to have a premium because it does add risk to the farmer for harvestability,” Paul said.

The Overbys have used regenerative practices since the early 2000s on their 1,350 acres of crops at Lee Farm. Diane was impressed after the first few years at the yields and the ability to operate machinery in the fields after a rain.

They’re looking ahead for successors, hopeful that “a whole bunch of young people [will] want to try this…and maybe we can get together.”

Source: Agweek

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Organic & Non-GMO Insights December 2022