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How healthy is your soil?

The Sustainable Farming Association (SFA) will have its new conference, the Midwest Soil Heath Summit, on February 19-20, at the Arrowwood Resort in Alexandria.

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The summit will assemble some of the most innovative farmers and researchers in the upper Midwest for two days of networking, speakers, panel discussions and breakout sessions, all targets at improving the health of soil.

The keynote speaker will be Gabe Brown, the “Bruce Springsteen” of soil health, of Brown’s Ranch in Burleigh County, North Dakota. Brown is an internationally renowned soil health expert and is a pioneer in diverse cover cropping, having used no-till techniques for two decades. His family ranch encompasses 5,400 acres, all managed sustainably and with the goal of building ideal soil health conditions.

Following Brown’s address will be a presentation by Richard Bieber, a producer from South Dakota who has been practicing no-till for 27 years. When it comes to soil health, Bieber says that it is his passion.

Other speakers include SFA Livestock and Grazing Coordinator Kent Solberg, research microbiologist at North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory Wendy Taheri, Ryan Stockwell from the National Wildlife Federation, and District Conservationist Jay Fuhrer from the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Bismarck, ND.

The first day will start at 6 p.m. and will be focused on networking with a casual presentation by Brown.

On February 20, a full day of programming will begin at 8 a.m. and will include Brown’s keynote address, Bieber’s presentation, a producer panel, a series of breakout networking sessions, opportunities to interact one-on-one with producers and researchers, and more.

A slate of exhibitors will be available for vendors to set up from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday and again from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Thursday.

Cost is $100 for current SFA members and $150 for non-members. When registering, SFA member must choose the discount option and enter the code that was sent in a members-only email. Online registration ends at 5 p.m. on February 17. People can access the link to register online at Walk-up registration begins at 6 p.m. February 19 at Arrowwood and continues into the next day.

Annie Harman
Annie Harman is a reporter for Echo Press and The Osakis Review. She grew up in Detroit Lakes and graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire with a degree in print journalism and history in May 2012. Follow her on Twitter at annieharman
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