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Shadow R Ranch



I purchased the Shadow R Ranch property in 2007. The pastures had been severely overgrazed with no effort to regenerate the soil or restore the multiple species of grasses that once flourished and swayed in the breezes during previous generations. For many decades, there was no effort to depart from the traditional mono-farming (a single type of crop at a time vs. planting multiple crops at the same time). This style of farming included deep soil cultivation and, perhaps unknowingly, upsetting the natural balance of the soil. Today because of better soil science, we know bacteria varieties and microorganisms are vitally necessary for soil fertility. That was not the understanding or the mindset of the farmer/rancher family of the past. Unfortunately, many of the current day farmers/ranchers remain uninformed, but that is changing as more and more are becoming aware of the virtues of the poly farming (cover crop) culture and the use and practice of no-till planting. Now, back to the Shadow Ranch story. For the five years following the purchase of the Ranch, I devoted most of my time to building ranching structures, replacing 150 old fences, buying cattle, and preparing to become a working ranch. It was not until 2011 that I concluded it was time to devote all of my energies to managing the land and restoring the soil. In 2012, I attended a cover crop planting conference in Ohio. It was there that my fascination with soil science and all of the life-generating interaction between the sub-soil microbe critters, their bio-symbiotic relationship with micro-algae, and photosynthesis began. A new world had been opened to me with a set of exciting goals to achieve soil fertility and soil regeneration. Combining working hands with working knowledge to make my land/soil live again became my passion. In 2013, I purchased a no-till drill, put my first cover crop seed recipe together, and headed to the fields with a new vision and a new reality for the Shadow R Ranch. I attended a second conference sponsored by Green Cover Seed where I was able to continue my education. Fortunately for me, I also continued to receive advice and help from a Green Cover Seed representative who lived in my local area. The now famed rancher and soil guru Gabe Brown traveled to Shadow R Ranch in 2014 while in the Dallas area on business. He reviewed my seed planting plan, sifted the soil between his fingers, and examined the roots of the plants. With a smile, he said I was on track and that he believed my soil was being successfully restored to health. Many thanks to Gabe for his encouraging words. Where is the Shadow R Ranch now? As the owner and manager of the Shadow R Ranch, I can proudly say that I have restored the organics of the soil. I have continuously produced a larger yield in the Ranch’s hay operation year after year. In addition, I have integrated multiple species of grasses with legumes to guide my planting program. This program, together with no-till farming and practicing the principles of soil regeneration, has not only provided abundant nutrients for my livestock, but also provides the natural environment for the life that lives beneath the soil’s surface to produce plant life miracles everyday. Is the work done? No. It continues day after day and year after year. I awake every day with soil fertility ideals firmly implanted in my consciousness to help the Ranch become all that it can be and to serve as a living soil example for those who may follow me. Thanks to Green Cover Seed and the many other authoritative and expert voices in the fields of soil science for your help and for your resource material. Green Cover provides excellent soil content information, and I continue to enjoy reading its many helpful “keeping you covered” articles. I like to believe that I am leaving the soil at the Shadow R Ranch in a much greater soil fertility and health condition than I found it. That continues to be my fervent hope and goal. I hope you enjoy the above photo, which demonstrates without words that I was here at this place, at this time, with a passion and a plan that was successful. Refel Rushing

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When God smiles the rains, come, grass grows, fish swim in deeper pond waters and wildlife rest from far and wide travels looking for a cool drink and a brilliant green blade of grass. Thank you God