In late March, SFA hosted an evening “Soil Health and Livestock” session in Sleepy Eye, co-sponsored by the Brown County Soil and Water Conservation District and Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources. At this well-attended meeting in my neck of the woods, southwest Minnesota, one of the producers said he and his wife were planning a road trip this summer to Gabe Brown’s farm in Burleigh County, N.D. They want to see first-hand how Gabe has restored his soil to health, how his beef cattle fare in 90-plus-degree heat, and how the land supports plants, microorganisms, livestock, pollinators, wildlife, and Gabe’s net farm income.
In this time of low commodity prices, producers are looking for ways to reduce their input costs and boost their net farm income, and Gabe’s operation gives some answers. He, and many SFA members, also show a pathway toward sustaining food-producing resources like air, land and water.
Closer to home, SFA is hosting two more “Dirt Rich” soil health and livestock workshops that also provide answers and a road map to economic and environmental sustainability. Featuring renowned livestock specialist Dr. Allen Williams, SFA will hold a pair of two-day events: Aug. 8-9 in Faribault and Aug. 10-11 in Blue Earth.
Dr. Williams has thrice been a featured speaker at SFA’s Midwest Soil Health Summit and at last year’s “Dirt Rich” field days. He is a champion of the grass-fed beef industry as well as a leader in cutting-edge grazing methodology. He currently is Co-Project Leader of the Pasture Project, of which SFA is a part; some of the cooperating farmers, Scott & Anna Haase, will be participating in Blue Earth.
Coordinated by SFA’s Livestock & Grazing Specialist Kent Solberg with help from SFA Board members Tiffany Tripp and Chris Gamer, these field days present a golden opportunity to learn directly from leading soil health and livestock experts and from producers. The workshops are designed for farmers who want to achieve soil health and a better bottom line, as well as agricultural professionals and farm business people.
Watch for registration details in the next edition of SFA Connect, or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to be sent registration information.
I’m inspired by producers like the farmer in Sleepy Eye who, with the goal of better stewardship, is excited to travel 600 miles to North Dakota. Excited, too, are folks like Gabe, Allen, and our own SFA members who practice soil health principles every day.
Agriculture is on the cusp of a paradigm shift toward soil health, and events like “Dirt Rich” prove that SFA is a significant reason why.