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Farm Tales: Organically Grown vs. Chemically Cultivated

Summary: The advent of farm chemicals in 1949 has changed the food we eat today.
Air Date: 3/23/16
Duration: 10 Minutes
Host: Dr. Mike Fenster
Guest Bio: Ray Nielsen
Ray NielsenA leader in the new science of sustainable, non-toxic and organic farming, Ray Nielsen was born into the world of agriculture. The son of a Michigan farmer, Nielsen spent his early life helping his father farm the land without chemicals. After earning an Associate degree from Michigan State University in soil science, he returned to show his father how to farm the modern chemical way. Within a few years, Nielsen began to see that his university training was not always the better way, and thus began the quest in which he would spend the rest of his life.

After serving in the U.S. Army, Nielsen began building what was to become a very modern dairy farm. The operation was such a success that the Nielsens spent part of their time as tour guides due to the daily visitation from other farmers, leaders and educators wanting to see the modern facilities and reasons for the high production and low cost. They visited from Canada and all parts of America to personally inspect the farm that was in the top 10 in the nation for production, animal health and profits. The innovative methods and designs that Nielsen developed were taught and promoted at Michigan State during special events.

The large dairy operation propelled Nielsen into an instrumental position in helping to build a national farmer organization providing farmers nationwide with a structure through which they could market their own livestock, grains and produce at a price that covered cost plus a reasonable profit. Nielsen’s position in this organization thrusted him into the world of big business. Nielsen was responsible for setting up and reloading stations, contracting with major buyers, coordinating large farmer meetings and speaking to small and large groups.

Throughout the years, Nielsen began researching and developing safe alternatives to non-sustainable agriculture. He began selling products and finally in the 1980s began in earnest to develop all the products necessary for complete plant and soil nutrition plus non-toxic insect control. Nielsen formed Circle One International, Inc., Brooksville, Florida, to produce and market an ever-growing range of sought after products for the sustainable, non-toxic, and organic farming market. He has now completed a full line of products that will do everything for today’s farmer from seed and soil inoculants, plant nutrients, growth stimulants, vitamins, minerals, including a full range of trace minerals, carbons and enzymes – to plant protectors, nematode-devouring fungi, nitrogen fixing bacteria, non-toxic insect control and now a newly engineered fungi to control potato beetles. His research and product development continues at a rapid pace.

Nielsen’s non-toxic, sustainable products and specially developed fermentation methods not only add nutrition, energy and shelf-life to fruits and vegetables, but increase yields for healthy, high energy crops thus increasing profits for the farmer. This all means high mineralized, better tasting food and fiber for healthier people and animals.

Nielsen and Circle One International, Inc. is positioned as the world’s largest producer of sustainable agriculture products. Mr. Nielsen is a sought after speaker, teaching sustainable and profitable agriculture to an ever increasing worldwide audience. Nielsen crossed the pages of many business and farm magazines including Reader’s Digest and USA Today. More recently, Nielsen was featured in articles published by the Wall Street Journal, the St. Petersburg Times and Florida Trend Magazine. He has received numerous awards for his work both as a farmer and as an innovative leader in sustainable agriculture. Nielsen serves as a consultant to governments and growers in the United States and abroad. He states, “I am in this business because I have a great concern for the farmer and I want to show them how to work with the earth, not against it.”
    Farm Tales: Organically Grown vs. Chemically Cultivated
    Lifelong farmer and organic pesticide purveyor, Ray Nielsen, has witnessed the change in food since the advent of pesticides.

    Ray grew up on a Minnesota farm in the 1930s and 40s. His family never used chemical fertilizer or pesticides, because they hadn't been introduced yet. His farming studies at University of Michigan were interrupted by service in the U.S. Army. He had time to buy some acreage and hire a caretaker for his own farm before his service began.

    When Ray returned from service, he finished his degree and bought more farmland. He started using the chemical fertilizer that he learned about in school. Farming chemicals came about in 1949, so this was a new and exciting development. Ray noticed the use of chemicals turned the soil from a rich black to gray. Each year he had to use more and more fertilizer.

    Ray then learned about organics and hasn't looked back.

    Ray defines organic farming as non-toxic farming. Toxic farming depletes the minerals from the soil, leaving the food with lower mineral content. Chemicals destroy the symbiotic bacteria in the plants, essentially destroying their microbiome. Organic farming removes the chemicals from the equation. Organic food is richer in micronutrients, making it taste better.

    Listen in as Ray shares his farm tales with Dr. Mike.
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