Improving soil health can boost farmers’ bottom line Adams Soil & Water Conservation District
While there may be a labor shortage in many places, there’s an underground community ready and waiting to go to work for Idaho farmers and ranchers. Don’t worry: This isn’t illegal or off-the-books. It’s literally underground—millions of micro-organisms in the soil that will work hard if given a chance.
How to feed and support these micro-workers to farmers’ advantage is the topic of the annual Soil Health Symposium coming Thursday, February 9th from 8:00 to 5:00 at the Four Rivers Cultural Center in Ontario.
“We are excited to bring back the popular Soil Health Symposium after missing the last two years,” said Jo Anne Smith, chair of the Payette Soil and Water Conservation District, the host of the symposium. “Our focus this year is on the economic benefits of soil health and how caring for the microbial community can improve producers’ profit margins.”
Attendees will hear from keynote speaker Nicole Masters about how harnessing that underground labor force can help reduce the need for fertilizers and pesticides, thus decreasing input costs and increasing profits. Masters is the author of For the Love of Soil: Strategies to Regenerate Our Food Production Systems aimed at helping producers create vibrant, profitable operations from the soil up.
“What farmers and ranchers seem to appreciate most about the annual Soil Health Symposium is the opportunity to hear from fellow ag producers about their experiences,” said Wendy Green, chair of Adams Soil and Water Conservation District, which co-hosts the event.
“Two panel discussions will feature local producers sharing what they’ve learned in implementing soil health principles on the farm and integrating livestock with soil health practices” Green said.
In addition, Russell Schiermeier of Schiermeier Farms will tell how he has added solar power to his irrigation operation to lower his pumping costs to get water where it needs to be. Schiermeier harvests the sun’s energy to run 36 pivots and nine pump stations on his 3400-acre farm near Bruneau.
Representatives from the University of Idaho will be on hand to explain the Climate Smart Commodities Grant and how it could help Idaho farmers and ranchers implement soil health practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Equipment vendors and agriculture service providers will be available as well.
Cost to attend the Soil Health Symposium is just $35 and lunch will be provided. Register now at https://www.payetteswcd.org/soil-health-symposium.
To register for the Symposium
For more than 50 years, the Adams Soil & Water Conservation District has been assisting landowners in the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in Adams County, Idaho. We continue to help agricultural producers and other area landowners in voluntarily implementing best management practices (BMPs) to conserve our land and water resources for today and tomorrow.
Our programs are voluntary and non-regulatory.
We coordinate with many partner agencies to provide science-based technical assistance and financial incentives.
Contact us to learn how we may be able to help you maintain healthy, productive soil, water and other resources.