For Immediate Release – Feb. 10, 2015
Contact: John Mesko, 763-260-0209, gro.n1438221618m-afs1438221618@nhoj1438221618
The Sustainable Farming Association is committed to developing and promoting sustainable farming solutions on every acre of agricultural land. SFA has become a leading advocate for the integrated use of cover crops, diverse crop rotations and livestock grazing for the purpose of building soil health. Our expertise is evident through events like the upcoming Midwest Soil Health Summit our work with cover crops and the integration of livestock to build soil health through a Minnesota Department of Agriculture Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant, as well as our ongoing partnership with the Pasture Project.
In 2014, Kent Solberg, SFA Livestock & Grazing Specialist, provided suggestions to the NRCS Conservation Plan for a project at the Agricultural and Energy Center at Central Lakes College, which involved a lease of R.D. Offutt Company land in Byron Township, Cass County. The intent of the project was to look at innovative cropping practices to protect groundwater. Other members of the advisory team included staff from Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), University of Minnesota (U of M), and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the regulatory agency monitoring ground water on the site through their irrigation well permitting process.
In a news release last week, R.D. Offutt and Company described SFA’s involvement as being “in partnership” with R.D. Offutt.
“While our involvement in R.D. Offutt’s Byron Township Project is primarily as technical assistance for the Central Lakes College project, we are encouraged that R.D. Offutt has been open to exploring sustainable farming solutions to expand to their many acres of potato ground throughout Minnesota,” SFA Executive Director John Mesko said. “Our goal as leaders in soil health education is to replicate high value agroecology production models on as many acres as possible, with as many farms as possible, regardless of size or current farming practice.”
Shifting the focus of agriculture from maximum yields to maximum soil health quality is critical to the sustainability of agriculture in Minnesota, the Upper Midwest, the United States and globally. SFA is committed to continued soil health programming, including programs addressing the integration of cover crops, diverse crop rotations and managed livestock grazing. We will continue the pursuit of funding and programs that foster the development of soil health building practices for the long term.