Welcome to Flux Farm
Sustaining the lifestyle, livelihood and ecological future of the West through agricultural innovation
Flux Farm contributes to the economic viability of agriculture by providing landowners, policy makers, and industry with research driven information on how to profitably integrate renewable energy and carbon sequestration technologies onto farms and ranches in the Intermountain West.
The need for new agriculture in the Intermountain West
The high plains on either side of the Rocky Mountains have a short growing season and little rainfall. As homesteaders moved west they found their economic niche in the livestock sector of the agricultural industry. Trees were cleared, fences built, and where water was available, irrigation ditches were dug. Improved grass species and nitrogen fixing alfalfa were introduced, and the pastures thereafter were seldom put to the plow. The railroads made a national market for the West’s livestock.
Well, the world flattened, the price of meat at the market did not increase as fast as the costs of production in the high prairie. What was once a good business went south, and ranchers either held on to the lifestyle with skeleton thin profits or sold out to the recreation and second home sectors of the economy. For agriculture on the Western Slope to remain viable, a new kind of agriculture must emerge, one that emphasizes the production of goods and services that sustainably compete in the marketplace today and in the future. Biofuels, carbon sequestration, and renewable energy could fit this niche nicely.
The Western Slope states list some 150,000,000 acres as pasture. The mission of Flux Farm is to understand if, how, and when this kind of isolated land resource could be managed as an economically sustainable resource in the carbon constrained economic future.
It is clear to us that the final answer to if lies in uncovering the answers to how and when. What crops might be in demand, at what volumes and at what prices? When will the technology reach the deployment stage and when should ranchers begin their transition?
Flux Farm is the intellectual bridge between the Western Slope landowners and the new renewable energy sector. We will know what the land can produce and pair that with what the industry needs.