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Quivira Coalition works to improve ecological, economic and social health of Western landscapes

Ted H. Smith / Red Dirt Report
Literature from the Quivira Coalition.
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ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico – FLASH NEWS ALERT: 1500 AD The Earth is not the center of the solar system.  The Earth revolves around the sun. Copernicus releases unbelievable theory!

All throughout history ideas have come along to overturn accepted theories and practices that have been in place for generations.

So I discovered when I attended the Quivira Coalition Conference here in Albuquerque,  Nov. 11-13, 2015.

“Quivira” was used on a very early map of the Midwest to denote “a city of gold” or an unexplored place.

So the Quivira Coalition was organized to go into that unexplored space in agriculture that might change the world.

Allan Savory was born in 1935 in Rhodesia, now known as Zimbabwe. He attended the University of Nepal and majored in ecology. He has written several books and formed the Savory Institute to promote the idea that managed livestock grazing can reclaim degraded land and increase agricultural yields.


The Quivira Coalition came together in 1997 and was organized by a rancher and two conservationist as a non-profit whose mission is to ”build resilience by fostering ecological economic and social health to Western landscapes though education, innovation ,collaboration, and progressive public and private land stewardship”

Four broad initiatives are: 1) improving land health, 2) sharing knowledge and innovation, 3) building local capacity, and 4) strengthening diverse relationships.

Membership of the coalition control over one million acres of private and public land.

Dr. Christine Jones presented “Fundamentals of Soils” on Wednesday.  It is difficult to summarize an eight-hour talk. Needless to say, Jones explained the plant chemistry that utilizes photosynthesis, soil microbes and fungi to produce healthier plants, resilient drought resistance soil, and greater availability of soil nutrients.

Her talk included examples of ranchers that used managed grazing to replicate the intense grazing of large-hoofed animals on the prairies of the world when those animals were harried by hunters and carnivores. This managed grazing forces animals to graze one confined area until the animals are moved to the next confined area. This practice will prohibit the selective destruction of young plants and the absence of grazing on old growth plants.

No-till farming was discussed. Dr. Jones gave several examples on no till farming where something was growing all the time. These examples demonstrated increased crop yields, increased soil fertility, and increased water retention in the soil.

All of the methods demonstrated by Jones used no added fertilizer or chemical weed control.


On Thursday there were several speakers on organic farming and organic garment manufacturing.

Christopher Gill presented what he is doing in Van Horn, Texas to restore range land and to increase drought-resistant grazing practices. He showed how he used a new type of narrow bladed plow pulled along graded topographic lines to bring back native grasses and to build soil microbes and fungi. All of his water source are available for all the wild animal  in the area. Mountain lions, coyote, deer, quail, can all access the water.

Dr. Dave Johnson presented “Soil Microbes, Their Powerful Influence in Agroecosystems.”

Johnson gave several examples of the increase in soil fertility, increase water retention and increased yield on land that had been remediated by spaying with a macrobiotic and fungi laded tea.

Most of the talks and videos shown at he conference can be viewed online at Quivira Coalition.

The surprising thing about all of this is that all of the excess carbon in the atmosphere that everyone is discussing can be fixed in the soil by no till farming and managed grazing here in the United States.

The problem is that chemical fertilizers and chemical weed killers have become so prevalent in agriculture that the idea of no-till farming and managed grazing is treated like the idea in 1500 that the Earth rotates around the sun. 

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About the Author

Ted H. Smith

Ted H. Smith is a 1966 graduate of Texas A&M University. He received his Master Degree in...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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