Soil summit brings meme star, farmers to Alexandria

The event takes place March 8-9.

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Ohio farmer Dave Brandt, whose face began appearing in internet memes after the U.S. Department of Agriculture published an article about his farming techniques, will speak at the March 8-9 Midwest Soil Summit in Alexandria.

ALEXANDRIA — Working with soil, not against it, will be the dominant theme at the 10th annual Midwest Soil Health Summit, which will bring farmers, agriculture researchers and others to Alexandria next week.

Hosted by the Sustainable Farming Association, the summit will be held Wednesday-Thursday, March 8-9, at the Holiday Inn in Alexandria. The association's soil health specialist, Jonathan Kilpatrick, lives in Alexandria, and says that the summit will bring a few of the "original pioneers of the soil health movement" to town.

One of the featured speakers will be Elaine Ingham, an internationally acclaimed soil microbiologist, who will talk about how farmers can regenerate soil without conventional practices. In a second presentation, she will dig into data.

Speakers and panelists include Dave Brandt, an Ohio row crop farmer and meme star, who will share his experience as one of the first farmers to implement soil health practices into a commodity row crop farm in the 1970s. His ruddy face, overalls and baseball cap often show up in memes with the tagline, "It ain't much, but it's honest work." He has spoken at a NATO conference on soil and climate change.

Panelists will also represent a variety of Minnesota agriculture, including commodity crops, organic, cattle, and dairy.


Guests will get a chance to talk with experts on custom grazing, organic and grazing dairies, sheep and goats, soil testing, inter-seeding cover crops and more.

Two-day registration for the summit costs $200, or $150 for Sustainable Farming Association members. The event kicks off at 1 p.m. Wednesday and continues Thursday with a 7:15 a.m. breakfast.

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