You might not like snow, but nature sure loves it...and so do I, find out why!
I love the snow, however I am fully aware that many people do not share my enthusiasm.
In our busy hustle bustle society snow is often viewed as a major inconvenience. The news and weather stations make a big fuss about its interference with the morning and evening commute.
Others dread the cold and avoid the snow at all costs.
But for those who work outside, snow is just another day especially for the farm.
Snow is just accepted as part of life in the winter. But on a farm, especially a regenerative farm, it is not only accepted it is needed and wanted.
Snow plays a vital role, not just in regenerative farming, but also in the ecological balance of our natural environment.
Snow is far from a hassle to be avoided, shoveled, and salted away.
Here is a list of reasons to help you rethink your love or lack thereof for snow:
1. Snow and deep freeze help to eliminate pests and disease to crops.
The deep, killing, subfreezing cold of winter typically eliminates many damaging insects and pathogens. If the deep cold doesn’t come, an outbreak of pests or crop disease can mean smaller harvests, higher prices, and frustrated farmers and customers.
2. Besides killing the baddies, the cold helps the goodies!
A deep freeze and snow pack helps to put good perennial crops into a state of dormancy where they can save up their energy reserves for the next season. The deep sleep and extra energy reserves gained, results in better crop production and a better harvest of goodies the next season!
Fun Fact: Without sufficient chilling time from freezing temperatures, a fruit tree will generate fewer, weaker buds, limiting fruit production from day one.
3.Snow keeps things cold, but not too cold.
Snow functions as an excellent insulator of the soil. Without snow, very cold temperatures can freeze the soil deeper and deeper. This could lead to damage of root systems of trees and shrubs.
4. For sheep and beef cattle snow is an efficient water source in the winter months.
Studies in Alberta have shown that beef cows eating snow as a water source experience no loss of production or performance when compared to those cows drinking liquid water. Similar studies show similar results for dry ewes.
5. Snow helps soil fertility, for free!
Snowflakes trap dissolved organic nitrogen, nitrate and ammonium in the atmosphere, delivering it free-of-charge to fields and crops.
6. Snow replenishes the water supply.
During the summer months it takes a lot of water to water all the animals. That means the farm’s well needs to be well supplied. A slow snow melt allows water to trickle slowly into the earth, percolating through the soil and refilling our aquifers, providing water for our drinking supply.
7. Snowpack plays an important and vital role in minimizing carbon emissions and global warming.
This is a complex topic but in short: In normal winter circumstances, the cold temperatures limit microbial activity and keep the soil greenhouse gas emissions low.
A good snowpack also helps to push water, minerals, and carbon deeper into the soil. This is known as a carbon sink, and helps to prevent carbon from escaping back into the atmosphere where it can contribute to rising global temperatures.
Isn’t snow amazing?!
With all these reasons to love snow maybe now you can see it through a different lens.
The next time you see snow in the forecast, remember all the ways it helps our environment, and how it helps the farm bring good food to you.
I wonder what would happen on Beiler Family Farm if it didn’t snow? How would that affect the farm and their production? If production went down how would that affect you as a customer?
Something important that you can do is to support the farms that are doing their part to help the planet and help reverse climate change from their place of power.
Enjoy the food!