Whether you’re looking to grow in your agronomic knowledge or searching for a gift for the regenerative farmer in your life, you’re sure to find an interesting book recommendation on John Kempf’s reading list. This list was originally published on John’s website. Below is an excerpt of the original article:
Many people have asked me for a recommended reading list of the most pertinent and valuable books I have read. This list is a live list of books that I continue to update.
I have divided them into different (somewhat arbitrary) sections based on how accessible they are and their general topic area.
My preference is to have post-it flags within easy reach as I read, and mark each page with a flag that I want to use as a reference in the future. It is easy to observe how useful a book might be based on the number of flags it has. Most of the books who made it onto this list have hundreds of flags. For the very few which have fewer, they are still on the list because of the importance and relevance of their message.
Foundational Soil & Plant Science
This group of books is very accessible, from my perspective any serious grower will have at least half of them on his shelf. These are pretty much in the must-read category for farmers who want to begin thinking differently and prepare for the agriculture of the future.
Exceptional Peer-Reviewed Soil and Plant Science References
The books in this group are written by and for academics, rather than for growers, but the information they contain is gold. How much is it worth to you to have a reference book that can tell you precisely why a certain disease organism is showing up, and how you can create an environment so that it is no longer present? If you are an agronomist or a consultant, each of these is a must-read. Reading these books will change how you approach managing soils, crops, and pests.
The Biophysics of Living Organisms, With Strong Agricultural Implications
The coming agricultural revolution which will supersede the “Green Revolution” will be a revolution of biophysics. We are reaching the limits of chemistry. The information contained in any one of these books will require us to shift our thinking and approach to growing crops. Some of these are more accessible than others. Any one of them will have you on the edge of your seat as you understand the implications.
The Biophysics of Water
Water is THE fundamental in agriculture. The information here is so valuable and important, it deserves a section of it’s own.
The most successful growers are those who connect with their plants, much the same as producers connect with livestock or horses. Stephen Buhner is perhaps my favorite author for his writing style. These books are very accessible and read like a thriller. Many people have said they couldn’t stop reading when they began because the information is so captivating. I have gifted these books a lot.
The ‘Culture’ of Agrarian Culture
People laugh at me because I am different. I laugh at them because they are all the same.
– Gabe Brown
The present model of commercial agriculture has adopted a very mechanistic worldview and ethos, with little room for ‘culture’. As we implement more regenerative models our cognition changes. We are present with our plants and livestock in a different way. We begin thinking about the ecosystems we work within, and how we can enhance them. This culture of caring is what consumers associate with farming culture. There are many good books that would fit into this category. Some are exceptional. Here are a few of the exceptional ones.
The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs – Joel Salatin (A must-read)
For the most updated version of this list, visit John’s original blog post.