This is not a story about commercial refrigerators, but about the produce and farm products that go into them. Produce like tomatoes and beets the size of a small cantaloupe and flavorful grass-fed beef that surpasses many commercial products that line grocery store shelves. It's really a story about Ken Hamilton, a Utah man with a mission and an unmistakable passion for changing the way we farm and, in doing so, the way we eat.
According to Hamilton, American farmers have become managers — the opposite of what they should be. “We have this upside down sense of agriculture in large commercial farming. We create a problem and solve it with chemicals. Plants aren't designed that way.”
Plants understand their environment. They know what organisms are there and what elements are there. Plants know how to give back. Hamilton doesn't say it directly, but there's a broad suggestion that we should help nature rather than trying to modify it. As he puts it: take back your farm.
Hamilton's company — Bio Minerals Technologies — is trying to change how we farm.
“We don't sell fertilizers. We test to see what the soil needs,” says Hamilton.
This begins in his research facility in Millville, Utah, a few miles outside Logan in the northern part of the state. Agriculture has deep roots in rural Utah, so anyone with another idea of doing something new in a profession as old as humanity can find the going a bit rough. But after twenty years, Hamilton's techniques have found their place in farms stretching from the southeast to the northwest and many states.
Hamilton has many examples that he says testify to the effectiveness of his approach to farming. He points specifically to a Montana farmer who claims to have saved $400,000 by using the Bio Technologies program on his dry land farm — and his crop yield went up dramatically.
Education, Education, Education
The most important part for Hamilton is education. He stresses it above all else. Much of his was learning through experience, but having a university nearby didn't hurt. Learning about how plants thrive and how to assist is the farmer's job. If he or she does that well, they'll be successful without magical synthetic potions. It is about observing natural laws. They are the best laws, according to Hamilton. His company focuses on re-generating farmland by learning what the soil needs. Once that is done, his company can create a “microbial mineral tea” of the trace elements and vital nutrients to help the soil become a big producer of corn, soybeans, alfalfa, and many other crops.
“We look at the soil first,” says Hamilton. “Then we put the missing elements into a soluble form that the plants can absorb. I send a farmer a nutrient profile (see above) of the crop he is growing, and I send a profile of what that plant will need for every week of its life.”
Natural farming — he hesitates to use the word organic — is not about putting a sack of chemical fertilizer on the land. According to Hamilton, it takes education: “to do what we do, you have to learn. You have to work at it. Big companies do the thinking, so farmers are managing, not farming.”
“We use biological products to be more efficient than chemicals, and we use local sources as much as possible. We do not approach agriculture with synthetic fertilizers. Intelligent use of minerals and soil is a superior way to get greater plant response and greater quality of food. I was born around farming,” he continues. “I learned about failures and what wasn't working. It took me five hard years to learn about corn. The same with soybeans.”
“We (Bio Minerals Technologies) do not approach agriculture from synthetic fertilizers. We use what I call divine intelligence. It is a superior way of growing. You get greater plant response and a greater quality of food.”
Hamilton speaks with sincerity. Even if his adjectives are sparse, you don't miss the fundamental meaning and dedication: reliability, sturdiness, support, natural law, and the fundamentals (of life).