Healthy crops need healthy soils.
To help farmers and other agricultural professionals learn how to address soil health challenges, the Clemson University Sustainable Agriculture Program and Clemson Cooperative Extension Service are conducting a conference, Building Soil Health: Principles, Practices and Profitability.
The conference is slated for Oct. 28 in Clemson’s Madren Conference Center. The cost is $75 for the public and $35 for students. A special extended program for Extension personnel and agriculture service providers, Tools for Teaching Soil Health, will be held the following day on Oct. 29 at no additional cost.
Kelly Ann Flynn, Clemson’s Emerging Crops Program coordinator, said this conference is being held after South Carolina agricultural producers identified soil health training as a critical need. It is supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program.
“During this conference we will provide information on new developments in the science of soil health as well as information related to using cover crop mixtures to achieve specific goals,” Flynn said. “We also will provide innovative management strategies like inter-cropping and relay cropping to show how these cultural practices can help build soil health to mitigate negative impacts extreme weather can have on farms.”
Conference attendees also will hear from farmers who have implemented soil health principles by using cover crops, no till and livestock integration to build resilient farming systems. Soil health experts will provide a historical perspective on the United States’ soil health and discuss critical components of soil health management, including basic soil health principles, soil biology and indicators of soil health.
Breakout sessions will be held to address specific soil health management practices for livestock, row crop and horticultural producers. There also will be a discussion on the economics of soil health.
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“There also will be opportunities to network with other farmers, Extension personnel and ag professionals,” Flynn said. “In addition, ag professionals will be given tools to use to teach farmers about soil health.”
Day two of the conference will include discussions of various soil health testing methods and indicators. Hands-on demonstrations of on-farm activities to use when teaching soil health also will be held on the second day.
Continuing education units will be offered for registered certified crop advisers and/or pesticide applicators.
A list of conference speakers and their bios and more information can be found here.