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- Co-chair: Mike Jorgenson
- Co-chair: Nicholas Perry
- Secretary: Carol Ford
- Treasurer: Jim VanDerPol
- Association Board Representative: Richard Handeen
Western Chapter Hosting Meeting, Soil Health Field Day Oct. 27-28 –
The U. of M.-Morris Organic Gardening Club and SFA Western Chapter are hosting a harvest gathering and soil health field day on Oct. 27-28 at Luverne and Mary Jo Forbord’s Prairie Horizons Farm, 31008 State Highway 29, Benson.
The festivities kick off at 6 p.m. Fri., Oct. 27, at the farm for a harvest gathering with locally sourced organic harvest stew and sourdough bread provided. Bring a dish to share and learn about SFA programs, meet others committed to stewardship of our food-producing resources, and come ready for music.
The next day, Sat., Oct. 28, attend a soil health field day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Prairie Horizons Farm led by SFA Livestock & Grazing Specialist Kent Solberg and Dr. Sharon Weyers of USDA. This field day includes lunch and up-to-date information on the latest in cover crops, grazing and soil health practices.
Both events are free but a freewill offering is appreciated. Camping will be available at the farm on Friday night.
About the Speakers
Kent Solberg, SFA Livestock & Grazing Specialist, and his wife, Linda, have a diversified pasture-based livestock farm near Verndale, Minn., where they raise dairy, pork, eggs and beef. Solberg, who is an expert on livestock fencing, cover crop selection, wintering livestock, and an array of other innovative profit-focused soil health topics, serves as Livestock and Grazing Specialist and Minnesota Dairy Initiative Coordinator through the Sustainable Farming Association. He is also an instructor for SFA’s Deep Roots Farmer Development program and co-founded the Midwest Soil Health Summit in 2014. Kent was recently featured in an instructional video series discussing fencing, livestock watering, and more produced by frequent SFA collaborator The Pasture Project.
Dr. Sharon Weyers is a Soil Scientist with the USDA-ARS North Central Soil Conservation Research Lab in Morris, Minnesota. Her research focuses on the influence of land management on soil health and nutrient cycling. She has worked in a variety of land management systems including conventional and organic production, perennial landscapes, and dairy and cattle grazing systems. Her efforts are to link conservation management practices, such as reduced tillage, organic amendments, and cover cropping with ecosystem services that benefit soil and water quality.
Potluck, Meeting and Bread Mixer | April 8, 2017 – Western Chapter hosted its annual meeting, potluck and bread mixer April 8 at the Milan Community Center, 170 N 4th St, Milan. At the meeting, we shared updates on several projects happening in our region including Jim and LeeAnn VanDerPol’s experience with intergenerational farm transition; Anne Borgendale’s plans for local grass-fed organic cheese from Northland Prairie’s dairy; Mike Jorgenson’s perspective on waterway buffer strip compliance; and Kathy Draeger on the new Farm-to-Grocery to Warehouse initiative. Attendees brought bread dough ready for the oven or something for the potluck. Jam session followed.
Barn Dance | March 24, 2017 – SFA Western Chapter co-sponsored a community barn dance featuring contra and square dancing with Ruperts Land Band on March 24, 2017, at the Student Center at the University of Minnesota Morris, 600 E 4th St. Presented in partnership with the UMM Organic Garden Club.
Annual Meeting | April 16, 2016 – SFA Western Chapter hosted its Annual Meeting along with a “Bread Mixer” event April 16 at the Milan Community Center, 408 N 4th St, Milan. Attendees brought dough ready for the ovens and/or sandwich fixings to bake bread together. Discussion focused on local ingredients and recipes as well as chapter business. Jam session followed.
Western Chapter Spring Get-Together | June 6, 2015 – Attendees enjoyed an evening of camaraderie, good food, farm research, music, and fire at Mary Jo and Luverne Forbord’s Prairie Horizons Farm in Benson. During a farm tour, Dr. Margaret Kuchenruether and Dr. Sharon Weyers presented regarding their research at Prairie Horizons Farm since 2008. Musical jam and bonfire followed.