Veganic Farming in Practice: Arnold Schmidt

From his rich fields in Saskatchewan, farmer Arnold Schmidt supplies a bountiful harvest of wheat for One Degree breads, cereals and flour.  The key to success in veganic farming is building nutrients in the land, he explains: “Good soil, that’s where it starts.”

Arnold has refined a balanced approach to maintain the richness of his fields. “The best method I’ve found is planting wheat and rye together, spring wheat and fall rye,” he says. In this process, parcels are given time to lie fallow, allowing bacteria and enzymes to build nutrients.

Arnold has been using this particular rotation for the past five years, and he reports that the nutrient value of his soil is much higher than fields that use animal by-products for fertilization. “There’s nothing higher in nutrient value that I’ve found. Manure doesn’t even get close to that. Manure is only as good as the crop that the animals ate, or the grain they ate. Nowadays much of the grains, hay and grass fed to animals is so low in nutrients.”

A much wiser strategy is to substitute intelligence and patience for manure, he advises. “You really don’t have to add anything when you play along with nature. The nutrients will build up on their own, but you’ve got to cooperate, give them a chance to be able to do their thing.”

Tomorrow’s farmer: Jed Franklin