Soil Health Minute: A new workshop comin' to town
In case you haven't heard, there's a new workshop focused on soil health coming to the region. The Dakota Innovation Research and Technology Workshop, or DIRT Workshop for short, will be Dec. 9-11 at the Delta by Marriott in Fargo, N.D. I want to...
In case you haven't heard, there's a new workshop focused on soil health coming to the region. The Dakota Innovation Research and Technology Workshop, or DIRT Workshop for short, will be Dec. 9-11 at the Delta by Marriott in Fargo, N.D. I want to explain a little history of the event before I go into the highlights.
For the past five years, NDSU has co-hosted the Conservation Tillage Conference with the University of Minnesota. That was the regional workshop focused primarily on management in reduced till systems. This past year, we had a door buster CTC event in Fargo and we had to turn people away. That seemed totally wrong, but the venue couldn't hold any more people. The decision was made to split - where the University of Minnesota will continue to hold the Conservation Tillage Conference in Minnesota and North Dakota State University would start a new event for that area. This is how the DIRT Workshop got started. Now, let me tell you why you'll want to be there.
The focus: The DIRT Workshop is everything related to accomplishing soil health goals in the northern Plains. We are bringing in experts ... when I say experts, I mean individuals in research, Extension, consulting, industry, farmers ... to discuss using cover crops, reducing tillage, integrating livestock, intercropping, setting equipment, soil biological components, whole systems management including disease, fertility and weed management. It will be the primary meeting of the year for soil health information.
How we'll deliver the information: Based on evaluations from conferences in prior years (yes, all those tedious evaluations you fill out are used to improve programs and make them worth your time to be there), we are using a mix of demonstration, breakout sessions, farmer panels and discussion groups. This way you can "see" what we are talking about, hear the "science" behind the observation and figure out the "application" to your operation, research, educational program, equipment development or product.
We realize that it's hard to get away when you have livestock, so there are livestock/grazing sessions packed into the afternoon of Dec. 10. Sessions start at 11 and go until 5:30. This way, you can get things done in the morning and hit the road to Fargo!
Time to talk and make connections: We have two social events with the DIRT Workshop. The first is the evening of Dec. 9, called the "Farmer Show and Tell." This is where farmers get together and share ideas and get ramped up for the next couple days of learning. But you don't have to share, you can just join us for a little inspiration, too! Think of something you've tried and had success with, that needs to be modified or was a complete failure but you learned a valuable lesson to share with the group and get ideas or feedback. You can load a couple pics on a jump drive if a visual will help share what you're doing. Tim Hammerich, the host of the Future of Agriculture podcast and our own Soil Sense podcast, will be guiding the discussion for a really fun evening with food, a cash bar and a lot of conversation!
The second social event is Dec. 10 and gives you a chance to talk in-depth with exhibitors, presenters and other attendees after you've had a day full of learning. We'll have food and a cash bar at this one, too, and to get different discussions going, we'll have general topic areas where you can gather and share ideas, whether it be about reducing tillage, incorporating cover crops or grazing/livestock. It's a nice way to wrap up the first day of being filled with information and ideas and pull those thoughts together.
Get more information and sign up: Visit DIRTworkshopND.com to find the registration link, hotel information and booking, the agenda, presenters and topics along with sponsors and exhibitors. For now, I'm looking to cap the registration at 350 attendees, so register early. But my arm can usually be twisted to accept a few more - especially this year because we have the space to do it! If you're interested in sponsoring or exhibiting, there's also information for you on how to get involved. Hope to see you all there!