A New Year: Refining the Vision

Dear All,

Welcome to 2019! I hope this message finds you and yours in health, wealth and happiness.

This is going to be a year of major growth for me.  I will have to manage my time and priorities exquisitely, as I am beginning a Master’s in Land Rehabilitation at Montana State University.  My goal is to roll it into a PhD in short order but there is much to learn before that can happen.  This blog is a way for me to refine my writing skills and share with you my findings along the way.

Since autumn of 2016 I have been working on The Sandy Arrow Ranch (SAR), outside of Geraldine, Montana.  This region, known as The Golden Triangle, is primarily dryland wheat and cattle country.  Pulses such as chickpea, lentil, pea and bean are making their debut.  A common farming practice in this region is to grow wheat, and either leave or till the stubble in after harvest and apply herbicide to keep weeds back.  The rotation being: one year wheat, one year “chemfallow”.  There are many reasons for this type of practice, one being to recharge the ground water for growing wheat.  The Golden Triangle receives about 13 – 16 inches (33- 41 cm) of precipitation annually.  In 2017, the SAR received roughly 5 inches (13 cm) of precipitation!  That was a tough year indeed.

So, how does one produce organic winter wheat in dryland country while building a healthy soil?  How do we nourish the world, not feed the world?  Can we enhance the system to be productive for those drought and deluge years?  Well, that’s what we’ve been exploring at the SAR.  We have had, what I would consider to be some hardcore failures, which is to say, we have been learning.

The mission of SAR is to establish soil health while growing the highest quality annual grains and pulses.  Our goal is to establish regenerative farming techniques that are effective, affordable and streamlined for the greater farming community in the Golden Triangle of Montana.  The integration of Compost and Compost derivatives (Compost tea & Compost extract), mineral balancing of soils, annual cover cropping systems, tillage and mob grazing constitute the regenerative agriculture approaches that have been taking place on eleven test sites since 2016.

The SAR dove into no-till organic production using a multi-specie, low-growing perennial understory plant mix in 2016 (alsiki clover, ladino white clover, cicer milkvetch, norcen trefoil, small burnet and fringed sage).  The idea was to no-till drill our crop of choice into the understory.  The instruction was that this would be fine to do because, when the biology is balanced there is a sharing of nutrients and water, not competition.  Maybe this can be true, eventually.  But our compost production was new and we had many challenges with water and management in the compost yard, our field organic matter averaged 1- 2%.  This method, in conjunction with the 5 inches (13 cm) total precip drought in 2017 resulted in poor understory establishment and SEVERE weed competition. From 2016- 2018, our various Compost applications were not effective in reducing weed populations at the SAR.  I look forward to an in-depth discussion of that in a future post.

While tillage has become part of the weed control management strategy again, no-till organic crop production remains a high bar the SAR has every intention of reaching.  A strategic approach in that direction is to employ intensive cool season and warm season cover cropping, tillage and mob grazing techniques to increase soil organic matter, feed the nutrient cyclers (micro and macrobial creatures), develop aggregate stability and provide plant available nitrogen for the 2019 planting of winter wheat.  Below is a table describing the 2019 proposed various field management strategies where we will be  using differing rates and combinations of Compost, Compost tea and Compost extract.

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The windrow Compost production at the SAR has stopped due to limited access of quality water.  To continue the field tests that will require 500 tons of solid Compost input, the SAR will need to purchase Compost from offsite, those sources are being confirmed for quality and compliance with the organic certifying agency.  The low-cost, low-energy input production of vermicast and BEAM compost methods are continuing to produce a high quality biological inoculate (more on that in a later post).  These methods will be refined and expanded on in 2019.

Calculations for applications of Compost tea and Compost extract show that a total 35,200 gallons of water will be needed and a plan for accessing water in a cost-effective way will need to be determined.  We do have rain catchment that allows us access to good water, all dependent on what falls from the sky and lands on our shop roof.  Since 2016, Haviland Earth Regeneration (HER) has tested the fields of focus twice annually.  Extensive data has been accumulated and deserves to be beautifully archived in a database that is meant to house and relay scientific findings. Come spring, that data will be in a format that will tell the story of these fields through numbers and can be called upon by the scientific community for future research.  Field health test methods have not changed since 2017 and will be described in future posts as well.  A new test field is being added into the SAR fields of focus, this is where my master’s research will be taking place.  That information will become available to you all in a matter of months.

When it comes to exploring the efficacy of Compost and Compost derivatives in dryland wheat production, the United States has released few publications. Furthermore, the published research exploring the uses of these products that contains data regarding the microbial communities in the product and how it impacts the plant or soil ecology should be expanded upon.  Together, the SAR, HER and MSU will contribute valuable information to the agricultural and scientific community regarding the transformation of “waste” into a Compost resource, how that Compost grows nutrient dense winter wheat and pulses and how the soil health is enhanced in Montana’s dryland farming systems.

***Compost is capitalized in these documents to refer to a product that contains a diverse microbial community beyond the standard bacterial dominated compost products.



Soil Crawl With Northern Plains Resource Council

The 2018 Soil Crawl will get down and dirty with soil monitoring on Saturday, October 13 at Steve Charter’s Ranch, north of Billings. Join soil experts Tony HartshornMolly Haviland, and Bill Milton for an interactive soil demonstration where you’ll learn how to use everyday tools to measure what’s happening under your feet!

Northern Plains’ 2nd Annual Soil Crawl
Saturday, October 13
10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Steve Charter’s Ranch 
13838 U.S. Highway 87 N

Cost: $30 for Adults, $20 for students (includes lunch)

*Please bring plenty of water, a chair, and clothes for any conditions. 

For questions and additional information (including driving directions), contact Maggie at (406) 248-1154 or email maggie@northernplains.org.

Space is limited so make sure you register soon to reserve your spot!

To register, follow this link: https://northernplains.org/event/soil-crawl/


Change of Address for tonight’s (9-13-18) Meet & Greet

My apologies for sending this out to the whole works of you, but… ya gotta do what you gotta do.  If you are planning on coming to the September 14, 2018 Compost Exchange meet & greet dinner tonight from 6-8 pm.  Come to Ron & Judy’s Restaurant and Lounge 28603 Hwy 55 Paynesville, MN 56362 Phone: 320-243-2469.  We are ready for you all!  Safe travels!

2018 Compost Exchange

“The goal of the Compost Exchange is to streamline the integration of biological farming for everybody so it’s an easier road to go down.” -Clifford Johnson

The Soil Alliance is thrilled to offer a full day intensive of exploring the world of microbes in agriculture.  In 2016, our Compost Exchange attendees asked for a farm tour, we heard you and it’s happening! The Johnson’s invite you to their certified organic farm for a day packed with relevant information, demonstration and brainstorming sessions on how the soil food web fits into large scale agriculture.

For more information and to register, follow this link. http://havilandearthregeneration.com/event/2018-compost-exchange-event/

Carolina Farm Stewardship Sustainable Ag. Conference – (3rd year for me!)

November 3-5, 2017 Durham, NC
I love me the Carolina Farm Stewardship Sustainable Agriculture Conference.  It is packed full with entertainment, delicious food and knowledge to keep you going for the 2018 growing season.
I am honored to be invited back for the third time!  There will be a full one day course in Microscopy ($85 for members, $100 for non members) we will get down and dirty into the underworld of soil life so bring your scope and get ready to see the fundamental creatures that build this lovely earth that is our home.
I will also offer a lecture on Saturday morning packed full of information that will give you an incredible technique to start building your own, local, soil probiotic with very little labor and time invested.  Too good to be true?  Nah, come see for yourself.
If that is not enough for you, well stick around and attend the extended scope course to be held offsite.  We have so much fun with this.  I’ll post more information on that as soon as I have it.  I am looking forward to seeing you there in beautiful North Carolina.

Slow Money Event -Soil 2017

Boulder Theatre, Boulder, CO October 16-17, 2017
“Bring money back down to earth.” This is a mission for the Slow Money Organization that I can get behind.  Join the Slow Money Event and come and hear incredible speakers from across America (including me!) This event links soil health and well, making money and keeping money in communities.  Slow Money Organization has been a catalyst that has steered $57 million into local food enterprises.  Support resiliency of soil health and ultimately community health and stick around for Day 2 events, I’ll be there too!  We can learn together about this opportunity for 125 people to focus on SOIL (Slow Opportunities for Investing Locally) – a new Colorado initiative.  What’s up with the local food system and what would success look like?   Let’s suss it out eh?
Click here for more information and to register for this incredible opportunity.

Cultivating the Soil Food Web June 24 – July 2 Hosted by Anadolu Meralari Location: Köyceğiz, Turkey

I am so pleased to have been invited back to this incredible country.  Not only is the land beautiful and diverse, the people are beautiful, diverse, hospitable and incredibly intelligent.  This year I have been invited back to repeat last years course and expand it further into field exploration and monitoring.  Come one come all and enjoy the celebration of expanding the brain and friend circles.  It’s time to build some soil!

As “Anadolu Meraları”, the Savory Hub in Turkey, we are happy to organize this training in our 2017 regenerative agriculture education program.

The registration for this training is open to both Turkish and international students.

Upon completion of this course you will be able to:

  • Understand soil food web roles and functions
  • Understand foundational principles for the creation of high quality Compost, Compost extract and Compost tea
  • Apply soil enhancing products at key times for greater success
  • Identify the key active soil food web members in soil and soil products through the use of a microscope

A properly balanced and diverse soil food web will supply your growing system with:

  • Plant Productivity
  • Disease Resistance
  • Nutrient Retention and Nutrient Cycling
  • Water Retention
  • Soil Stabilization
  • Reduction of Weed
  • Carbon Sequestration
  • Toxin Breakdown

This year’s training will be held in 2 sessions. The first session will last 5 days, and the second session, right after will focus on practice of microscopy  and living soil product applications.

Location of the training: Köyceğiz, Turkey

Köyceğiz is a nice, small town next to Köyceğiz Lake and near the Mediterranean Sea. Transportation is very easy with international Dalaman Airport (to which there are a number of flights everyday from Istanbul and foreign cities) that is 20 minutes by car. The region offers very strong and diverse natural and cultural wonders.

Dates of the training:

First session: June 24 – 28 (5 days)

Second session: June 30 – July 2 (3 days)

Training Programme

Foundations of Implementing the Soil Food Web in Growing Systems

Session 1

Day 1: Decomposition and Cultivating the Soil Food Web (5 hours)

We will introduce you to the cast of characters that make up the Soil Food Web (SFW). By the end of this lecture you will understand the symbiotic relationship between plants and soil microorganisms. You will understand which microorganisms you’re growing system needs to thrive. You will understand how to establish a growing environment that increases and maintains SFW population for plant productivity and disease resistance.


Day 2: Composting Methods and Applications (6 hours)

This day’s lecture will cover aerobic thermal Compost, static Compost, and Vermicompost. We will discuss the basic rules of these methods and how to ensure that a beneficial SFW is being cultivated. As a group, we will creat an aerobic thermal compost that will be monitored each day for the duration of Session 1 and Session 2.  We will also create an aerobic thermal static compost to be used in one years time.  Each morning for the rest of the course will be spent monitoring and turning the compost we build.


Day 3: Compost Methods Continued & Identifying the Soil Food Web (5 hours)

A continuation of the discussion of compost methods will be combined with ways to monitor the compost processes to assure a finished high quality product.  We will discuss how to make and use compost amendments such as humic acid, Compost extract, and aerobic Compost tea.

The second portion of today’s course will delve deeper into knowledge of the soil food web by learning how to identify them using the microscope.  This day will include lessons on how to responsibly use a microscope in addition to viewing of photos and videos of soil food web organisms to understand their morphology and habits.


Day 4: Identifying the Soil Food Web Continued (5 hours)

This days course will be a continuation of identifying soil food web organisms combined with time spent on the microscope for learning integration.  We will look at various composts and soils student have brought with them.  (Bring your Compost and soils – international students – take a trip to the woods or take a walk and gather samples to bring to the class, find a gardener at the market and ask for some of their compost or soil).

Day 5:  Identifying and Documenting the Soil Food Web Continued (4 hours)

We will revisit sampling and identifying organisms. This is a skill that takes time, practice, and patience.  The spreadsheet for a qualitative soil analysis will be introduced.  The duration of the day will be spent doing soil and compost analysis using the microscope and spreadsheet.  A discussion on the data gathered will allow for determining action plans to create a better compost or soil system.

*Students should bring a laptop on this day for successful learning integration.


End of Course Summary and Closing


Foundations of Implementing the Soil Food Web in Growing Systems

Session 2

Day 1: Field Monitoring (6 hours)

It is important to do field monitoring to know if the inputs for a growing system are getting desired results.  Monitoring to take place in the fields will be (but not limited to): Water infiltration, root depth, compaction, brix readings, soil biology, plant species diversity, soil armor, and fixed point photography.  Students will receive data sheets for the monitoring practices.  We will establish control and test sites for biological applications in the following days.


Day 2: Compost and Compost Amendment Creations & Applications (6 hours)

In this course, we will be assessing Composts made from the week prior as well as Composts that are available onsite or that students have brought with them.  We will make a Compost extract and apply it to the land.  Spray equipment will be tested to assure that biology is getting out of the equipment successfully.  We will also assess and apply the Compost tea made from the prior days course.  A new compost tea brew will be made for the following days course work.


Day 3: Applied Microscopy for Regenerative Agriculture Success (4 hours)

This course day will be a summary of the last week and a half.  We will assess the Compost brew from the day before and apply it to seeds and to land.  We will brainstorm additional product creation and applications methods.  We will celebrate our time together and our future of regenerative agriculture.


About Trainer: Molly Haviland

Molly C. Haviland is the founder of  Haviland Earth Regeneration, L.L.C., a soil building company.  The goals of HER are to build soil as quickly as possible, grow food that is medicine, and train others to do this for themselves.  By the end of this decade, soil food web knowledge and soil building practices should be common knowledge.  HER is the catalyst for making this happen.

HER trains, consults and lectures across the USA and usually goes where invited. Invitations have come from across the globe in Hungary, South Africa, New Zealand and Turkey. Most of the trainings are for large-scale annual agriculture in the Midwest USA and to compost operations. The strength of HER is in teaching the basics of soil food web knowledge and practical applications of making the composts, assessing and applying them.

In 2010 Molly attended a month-long course from Dr. Elaine Ingham while attending the Maharishi University of Management, where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sustainable Living.  Molly continued to work with Dr. Ingham at the university for two years as a teaching assistant, three years as co-teacher, and one year as a full-time teacher for the month-long Living Soil Course in 2016.

During her course work, Molly created a work-study position in the campus greenhouses as a Soil Builder and maintained that position for one and a half years. Her work was focused on making hand turned quality Composts. After completing her work in the greenhouse, Molly took ownership over The Living Soil Compost Lab. The lab made Composts, extracts and teas as well as ran qualitative analysis on soils, Composts and soil products.   The lab held training courses for students and farmers. This work eventually merged into consulting with farmers in the Midwest America and branched out into the globe.

“The beauty of this work is that it is regenerative and can be sustainable.  Plant nutrition and fertility can come from materials that surround farms, cities, villages…it’s a matter of putting the mix together properly and understanding the nuances of incorporating that living soil product into the growing system.  Looking seven generations into the future, could this practice be viable?  Absolutely! Now, let’s build some soil!” -Molly C. Haviland


Training Language:

Training will be held in clear, simple english. There will be no consecutive or simultaneous translation into Turkish. Intermediate level of english will be good enough to enjoy the programme.


Soil And Compost Samples

You can bring soil and/or Compost samples from your land. We will have the opportunity to examine these samples under microscope and investigate the Soil Food Web within.

Instructions on how to take the samples and safeguard them will be shared within the “Participant’s guide” that will be emailed to the participants a priori the trainings.


Acquiring a Microscope

A set of criteria for the microscope suitable for this training and followup work will be shared with the participants in the “Participants’ guide”. Anadolu Meraları also will do its best to facilitate/organize bulk-buying of microscopes. If you’re interested in that, please state so in the registration form.


What is a Compost (and why it’s with a capital C?)

Molly Haviland defines Compost as a material that it living and therefore has the ability to create fast and effective regenerative impacts on all practices of agriculture. The “compost” with a lower case c is defined as the relatively low-quality product that we prepare mostly for recycling our organic waste.


Our 2016 training’s evaluation by the students

These are average of the points given by 14 students anonymously online, following the training.

(Score given on 10)


“I’m happy with the training in general”



“The training have met my expectations”



“I’ve understand the foundations, principles and methodology of Microbiology Herding”



“After this training, I now feel more ready/prepared/equipped on my work/life/dreams”



“The trainer was satisfying, experienced and well-equipped in terms of knowledge”



“The trainer was satisfying, experienced and well-equipped in terms of teaching methodology and capacity”



Training Fees and Registration


There is limited number of seats available for the training.


The training fee includes the tea/coffee breaks and lunch. In case the training venue is suitable, there will be also camping possibility.


Early Registration

1st Session (5 days) – 600 $

2nd Session (3 days) – 360 $

(Available only for half & non-refundable payments until March 3rd)


Normal Registration

1st Session (5 days) – 675 $

2nd Session (3 days) – 400 $

(Available only for half & non-refundable payments until April 7th)


Late Registration

1st Session (5 days) – 750 $

2nd Session (3 days) – 550 $

(Available only for full non-refundable payments until June 16th)


Contact Information

Durukan Dudu

Email: durukand@gmail.com

Website:  http://anadolumera.com/yeni-egitimler/


You can choose to pay half of the training until the dates mentioned above, to finalize and secure your registration. In that case, you need to pay the rest of the fee until April 14th.


About refunding


For this training, the refunding is possible only in case of cancellation of the training by Anadolu Meraları due to not-enough number of registration until April. In such case, the whole amount of paid fee will be paid back to the participant.


accommodation and Travelling


detailed information and guidelines will be provided in early Spring through the “Participant’s Guide” that will be emailed to the participants. We are working hard to suggest and organize a full array of accommodation for different budgets.


Transportation is quite easy to the town where the training is happening, with the international Dalaman Airport.


Note for potential participants who have doubts on security aspect:

We’re aware that today’s Turkey provides a number of reason to have doubts and fears on safety angle, yet the training will be held on rural/semi-rural setting, which is very safe in all aspects.


Application and Registration
Go to this link: http://anadolumera.com/yeni-egitimler/  the form to apply for the training. We will send you an email within a day or two and will provide all the information for you to finalize your registration.