Michael Thiele’s mission today is to acquaint more farmers and ranchers with a holistic view of agriculture.
Thiele grew up on a farm west of Dauphin, Man., just north of Riding Mountain National Park. His father had a small grain farm and a few cows.
“We were busy trying to farm and make a living and like all the other farmers around us, we were creating a monoculture of grain crops — mostly wheat, canola, oats and barley,” says Thiele.
“When I went to university, I thought soil was simply dirt,” he says. People didn’t realize how alive soil is, teeming with life and activity, and how much we depend on a healthy soil system. Now Thiele is trying to help producers understand that the way we farmed created unhealthy soil.
In his part of Manitoba there were rich, fertile soils with 10 to 14 per cent organic matter. “But those soils are now between two and four per cent.