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  • Holly (Hornback) Westby

Refreshed, reloaded, and regenerative

Hi, it’s Holly. Last Thursday, Nick and I got married in the Dominican Republic -- Punta Cana to be specific.

When we arrived earlier in the week, we expected to see the remarkable blue waters that make the Caribbean special, but the view was obstructed by seaweed lining the shores. What we saw was concerning, but it gave us a renewed appreciation for the regenerative agricultural practices we implement on our farms at OrgaNick Pastures.

Don’t get me wrong: The fact that the shores were lined with a seaweed called sargassum didn’t disrupt and destroy our wedding day. Instead, it served as a humbling reminder that we need to be more vigilant about how we are performing our agricultural services for the food supply.

A quick Google search showed that the large amount of sargassum is due to rapidly increasing levels of nitrogen and phosphorus from agricultural regions around the world. In Punta Cana, the more prevalent piles of sargassum are a product of increased fertilizer run-off in the Amazon and Congo River basins.

As I write this, I learned that today (June 22) is World Rainforest Day. As farmers deforest the Amazon Rainforest and then also allow nitrogen and phosphorus to wash directly into the Amazon River, those actions are disrupting and destroying ecosystems.

So, reflecting on our trip, we loved our time in the Dominican Republic and loved spending time with our family and friends, but now we’re back at the farms and know we need to do our part to lead by example.

We do that by making sure our hens spend as much time as possible eating from the pastures instead of eating organic feed. Of course, organic feed is a better alternative than most other options, but eating grasses and worms from the pasture is the best option for the earth and the soil. Foraging in our pastures reduces carbon emissions by keeping carbon in the soil instead of releasing it to the atmosphere.

On the other end of the digestion process, we have work to do. Admittedly, we need to find a more perfect way to manage our manure storage to reduce our carbon footprint. Composting is a piece of the puzzle, but there is more we can do. We also need to figure out how we can eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels.

It’s all a process, but we’re progressing and moving forward. We’re able to move forward because we have your support. Thank you for that.

Now that we’re married, I’ve been thinking more and more about the future. Please remember, when you support Wisconsin’s Favorite Eggs, you’re committing to supporting a better earth for your children and your children’s children.

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