2020 certainly brought a lot of change and challenge for agriculture producers. While the pandemic forced Discovery Farms Programs in Wisconsin and Minnesota to cancel the annual conference, farmers, soil conservationists and crop consultants were still able to take advantage of educational opportunities online.
The theme for this year’s Discovery Farms’ weekly virtual conference series is “Keeping up with your conservation goals through change and challenge.”
A recent conference featured Dr. Christine Morgan of the Soil Health Institute in North Carolina who described soil health as the capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem sustaining plants and animals. She notes that there are very different soils in different parts of the country or even within a state. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t all be healthy and productive.
As part of her work at the institute, she and colleagues have examined 124 samples across the country demonstrating different soil and practices.
“To measure this we look at how each part of soil health was affected by various management systems: rotation diversity, crop count, organic amendments (manure), cover crops, decreased tillage; and residue retention,” she said.