There are thousands of farmers like me who are concerned about preserving the land and our
way of life. We are looking for ways to improve the soil, use less water, increase our yields, and
ensure that we can continue to grow high-quality products.
To that end, the research component of this project will test, in the context of a farm operation,
the use of a new method making compost. Developed by Dr. David Johnson, professor of
microbiology at New Mexico State University at Las Cruces, the Johnson-Su bioreactor
produces compost that improves seed germination rates, soil water infiltration and water
retention, and increases plant health, plant growth rates, and crop production. Building materials
cost less than $250. The process adds no toxins to the environment, does not produce odors, and
does not attract flies. Soil testing at one year intervals will measure improvement in soil health.
The same crop will be planted in the test plot each year. Yields and costs will be documented.
Our expectation is that the outcome will be very beneficial. The results of the research, as well
as, soil health principles will be presented to producers via our web site and through workshops
we will conduct in the field designed to reach socially-disadvantaged farmers on their own terms
with people who have developed their trust, speak their language, and understand their
educational and cultural milieu. Pre- and post- workshop tests will be administered and we will
be following up with workshop attendees to determine producer adoption of new methods. It is
expected that this innovative approach will increase the awareness of and use of sustainable
agriculture principles in addition to increasing the capacity of small farmers to participate in
Project objectives from proposal:
1. Test and document the impact of using compost made in Johnson-Su Bioreactor on soil
health, production in the test field, and cost of farm operations.
2. Document the impact of applying other soil health management principles as
recommended by the Technical Advisor
3. Convey to producers the results of this project and other soil health management
4. Monitor adoption of these methods by other producers through communicating with
members of HFRAI and collecting their feedback