By Jason Walker • SFA Communications & Membership Coordinator
February’s SFA Midwest Soil Health Summit drew a crowd from at least five states and Canada, but the easy winner for farthest traveled was Evan Lewis.
Evan (right) came all the way from South Australia to attend the Summit. He had been searching the internet for Gabe Brown, came across SFA’s homepage and liked what he saw, and then decided to make the trip, his first to the U.S.
“We have various issues with our soils that I believe cover crops can help to alleviate,” he said. “I’m keen to see if we can adapt the principals to our no-till system.”
Evan’s trip, though, got off to a bad start. Horrible, actually. His travel agent had booked his flight not to Alexandria, Minn., but Alexandria, Louisiana. He emailed me the night before and said he was in the wrong Alexandria and would try to make it the next day, but that his “Gab With Gabe” ticket could probably go to somebody else.
Luckily, though, the air travel system came through. Evan arrived in Minneapolis on Feb. 19 and hopped on a shuttle to Alexandria, where he arrived a little after 4 p.m. in time for the limited-ticket confab with Summit keynote Gabe Brown.
Evan and I tried to connect during the Summit, but every time I saw him he was busy chatting and networking with other farmers in attendance. However, after getting snowed in at Arrowwood Resort on Feb. 20 due to a nasty winter storm, I was able to have dinner with Evan as well as also-snowbound Kent Solberg, Jerry Ford, Jane Jewett, Cassie Dahl, Dan Tiffany and Dan Fabian. Despite being stuck at Arrowwood, it was a great evening of conversation.
Evan has returned to Australia but said he’s interested in returning to Minnesota again and possibly bringing some farmer friends for an SFA field day.
“My challenge now is to adapt the concepts to our own climate and conditions,” he said.