An Integrated Agriculture System

Anticipating the likelihood that resource constraints would get worse in the years ahead, Missourian Charles McCutcheon developed an integrated agriculture system in the 1970s for farmers and homesteaders.

| November/December 1980

  • 066 integrated agriculture - charlie mccutcheon
    Charlie McCutcheon with a large and small bag of his natural potting soil amendment.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • 066 integrated agriculture - grain residue, worm castings
    TOP: Worm castings make excellent organic fertilizer. BOTTOM: Protein-rich grain residue serves as both a livestock feed supplement and as earthworm fodder.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • 066 integrated agriculture - worm beds
    The red worm beds at Charles McCutcheon's facility produce about 6,000 obs of "red wrigglers." Worms played a big part in his integrated agriculture system by turning manure and grain residue into fertilizer.
    PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • 066 integrated agriculture - mccutcheon's tractor
    The McCutcheon's ethanol-powered tractor.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • 066 integrated agriculture - alcohol distillery
    The McCutcheons' alcohol distillation system.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • 066 integrated agriculture - flow chart
    This flow chart demonstrates how the waste or byproducts from one process become resource inputs for another.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • 66-132-i2_01
    Diagram of the McCutcheon's alcohol fuel distillery.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

  • 066 integrated agriculture - charlie mccutcheon
  • 066 integrated agriculture - grain residue, worm castings
  • 066 integrated agriculture - worm beds
  • 066 integrated agriculture - mccutcheon's tractor
  • 066 integrated agriculture - alcohol distillery
  • 066 integrated agriculture - flow chart
  • 66-132-i2_01

It doesn't take a soothsayer to figure out that the role petroleum-based fuels have played in our society is going to change. Political unrest abroad, dwindling crude reserves here at home, and the ever-rising cost of locating, unearthing, and processing "black gold" (not to mention the environmental price we pay as a result of both retrieving and using the fuel) should all serve as weather vanes to indicate that humankind must start using alternative forms of energy now to avoid getting caught short in the future.

And, naturally, it is necessary that such changes be made by governments and individuals alike. MOTHER EARTH NEWS recently visited one "little guy" who's seen the handwriting on the wall (and has chosen to do something about it), Charles E. McCutcheon, Jr. of Fayette, Missouri. Charlie, together with his sons and a long-time employee, operates McCutcheon's Midwest Miracle Products, a small manufacturing firm in the Show Me State's agricultural heartland.

The business — although modest — is a surprisingly diversified one. In effect, the McCutcheons have worked out a well-balanced integrated agriculture plan that might provide a valuable example for folks who want to protect their farms or homesteads from the food, fuel, fertilizer, and economic shortages that are sure to become worse as time goes on. 

Three-Way Independence

Charlie refers to his system for self-sufficiency as "energy-protein-nitrogen independence" ... and for a good reason. Briefly, here's how it works: A large part of the McCutcheons' operation involves high quality, family-built ethanol distillation equipment ... that's been designed to operate at a much greater level of energy efficiency than does a conventional still of comparable size, because it functions within a vacuum. Therefore, Charlie uses less thermal energy than would normally be required for alcohol production. (A mere 130°F will keep his distillation column in operation!) 



Using his low-energy distillation apparatus, Mr. McCutcheon converts local grain produce (either corn or milo) into 160-180 proof alcohol fuel for use in his tractors, trucks, and other farm equipment ... and has the additional option (because of the new federal legislation governing the production of ethanol fuels) of selling any excess for a comfortable profit.

But McCutcheon's concept of integrated farming for self-sufficiency involves more than simply producing fuels. In order to manufacture ethanol at a reasonable cost, one must take full advantage of the value of the process's by-product ... the leftover distiller's grains. Normally, such protein-rich remains (which usually total about one-third of the raw materials' original weight) can be sold outright as a livestock feed supplement or used directly on the farm for the same purpose. Charles, however, employs the residue to produce a sizable "crop" of earthworms!






Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: February, 16-17 2019
Belton, TX

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!

LEARN MORE








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard
Free Product Information Classifieds

}