He was very resistant and it took several years to get him to even entertain the ideas but then his wife got sick and his kids wanted to help run the farm, he suddenly wanted to know his land would stay in the family for more generations.
That thought happened by several of his neighbors farms went to auction from bankruptcy. He liked pecans, even had a mono orchard of them near his house so it was easy to point out that he could use more of these trees since he already had a market for the nuts.
His farm land had been ravaged by the abuse that conventional farming does, for three generations the land had been in constant disturbance and he was willing to use 1,000 of his acres to test out the methods I was proposing.
I even told him that if he didn't see major soil improvement in water useage, fertilizer independence, crop growth rates, after the second year of the trial he would not owe me my consultation fees and I would help him put that land back the way it was before the trial.
After the first six months, he was seeing improvements he didn't think possible and those observations led to a second thousand acres going into the trial.
At the end of the first harvest of soft red winter wheat, he saw that his bottom line was in the black, it was the first time he had ever made money without including the subsidy money he gets.
He remarked that "I think you are really onto something here" when he told me about these first results.
This farmer has taken on the roll of evangelist in his area and he teaches his fellow farmers what he has learned. (I still get to lay out the water management for new converts, so I do get a little money from that consultation).
He doesn't charge the farmers, just brings them to his farm and walks them around, pointing out how he does things now and that he doesn't buy fertilizer or herbicides anymore because he doesn't need to.
His soil has improved greatly and the top soil goes down around 24 inches deep, everywhere. Rains don't wash away his soil or rut up his fields (His fields, like the whole area, are slightly rolling hill type).
I consider these farms a good compromise, they are not true permaculture but they are holistic land management that is restoring fertility. A great first step forward to a new methodology.
Acceptance of this method was slow at first. A few people tried it but were ridiculed. Wood was a scarce and valuable commodity so their trees were stolen. A breakthrough came in 1984, when radio coverage of an international conference on deforestation in Maradi helped to increase awareness of the link between deforestation and the climate. This was followed by a Niger-wide severe drought and famine which reinforced this link in peoples’ minds. Through a “Food for Work” programme in Maradi Department, people in 95 villages were encouraged to give the method a try. For the first time ever, people in a whole district were leaving trees on their farms. Many were surprised that their crops grew better amongst the trees. All benefited from having extra wood for home use and for sale. Sadly, once the programme ended, over two thirds of the 500 000 trees protected in 1984 – 1985 were chopped down! However, district-wide exposure to the benefits of FMNR over a 12-month period was sufficient to introduce the concept and put to rest some fears about growing trees with crops. Gradually more and more farmers started protecting trees, and word spread from farmer to farmer until it became a standard practice. Over a twenty-year period, this new approach spread largely by word of mouth, until today three million hectares across Niger’s agricultural zone have been re-vegetated. This is a significant achievement by the people of Niger. The fact that this happened in one of the world’s poorest countries, with little investment in the forestry sector by either the government or NGOs, makes it doubly significant for countries facing similar problems.
Following the success of the Humbo project, FMNR spread to the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia where 20,000 hectares have been set aside for regeneration, including 10-hectare FMNR model sites for research and demonstration in each of 34 sub-districts. In addition, the Government of Ethiopia has committed to reforest 15 million hectares of degraded land using FMNR as part of a climate change and renewable energy plan to become carbon neutral by 2025.
In Talensi, northern Ghana, FMNR is being practiced on 2,000-3,000 hectares and new projects, initiated by World Vision, are introducing FMNR into three new districts. In the Kaffrine and Diourbel regions of Senegal, FMNR has spread across 50,000 hectares in four years. World Vision is also promoting FMNR in Indonesia, Myanmar and East Timor. There are also examples of both independently promoted and spontaneous FMNR movements occurring. In Burkina Faso, for example, an increasing part of the country is being transformed into agroforestry parkland. And in Mali, an ageing agroforestry parkland of about 6 million hectares is showing signs of regeneration
David Livingston wrote:Firstly talking woman to woman I think will help particularly