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Published December 31, 2012, 09:23 AM

Stressing soil sustainability

Three area agricultural organizations that stress soil sustainability will hold their annual workshops during the same week at the same location.

By: Jonathan Knutson, Agweek

Three area agricultural organizations that stress soil sustainability will hold their annual workshops during the same week at the same location.

The North Dakota Grazing Lands Coalition, the Burleigh County (N.D.) Soil Conservation District and the Manitoba-North Dakota Zero Tillage Farmers Association will hold their 2013 events during the week of Jan. 7 at the Ramkota Hotel in Bismarck, N.D.

“This is the first time we’ll be all going together in the same week. Before, one of the groups would hold their meeting one week somewhere and the other groups would hold their meetings another week somewhere else,” says Roger Ashley, a North Dakota State University Extension Service agronomist stationed in Dickinson, N.D., who’s involved with the zero till group.

Tying in with the three meetings is the proclamation by North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple that Jan. 6 to 13 is Soil Health Week in the state.

The North Dakota Grazing Lands Coalition holds its annual workshop Jan. 7. The grassroots organization began in 1996 to promote the health and sustainability of grazing lands in the state.

This year’s workshop, “Grazing with Purpose,” includes sessions on getting started in ranching, holistic systems for grazing and direct marketing.

There is a fee to attend; RSVP by Jan. 1. To register, call Tara Dukart at 701-400-0591. For other information, contact Joshua Dukart at 701-870-1184.

The Burleigh County Soil Conservation District holds its annual workshop Jan. 8. Sessions include using livestock as a regenerative tool and the benefits of preserving insect communities in farmland.

There is no fee to attend, but it’s requested that attendees register in advance to make sure adequate mater-

ials and lunch is arranged. Call 701-250-4578, ext 3, by Jan. 2, or register online at www.bcscd.com.

The zero till group’s workshop and trade shows runs Jan. 8 to 10. Sessions include a look at no-till corn and soybean production and an evaluation of the soil and agronomic benefits of cover crops.

No-till farming practices have become common in the Upper Midwest. Still, drought and the rising cost of inputs such as fuel and fertilizer are generating even more interest, Ashley says.

“No-till shines when you have these extreme weather conditions,” he says.

Even though no-till is established now, “more research is being done and we have more answers” to farmers’ questions about the best way of doing things, Ashley says.

There is a fee to attend. Information: www.mandakzerotill.org.

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