(Posted Thu. Jun 21st, 2018)
The groundswell continues to grow for soil health as an on-farm business and environmental strategy, with more Illinois farmers ready to take that first step. To help them learn from their peers and answer tough questions on adopting new ag practices, the Soil Health Partnership embarks on its fifth year of participating in dozens of field days across 12 states this summer and fall, including Illinois.
Practices that improve soil health are taking on elevated importance as a means to protect topsoil, helping farmers manage extreme weather, increase profitability, protect water quality and sequester carbon. These practices include reducing tillage, growing cover crops and adopting advanced nutrient management strategies.
Several of the field days will take place at one of the 30 Illinois farms enrolled in SHP. These farmers participate in the rigorous long-term, on-farm data collection project, and often adopt soil health practices beyond the test plots.
“The increased focus on soil health as a business strategy is only getting stronger,” said Jim Isermann, SHP field manager for northern Illinois. “Farmers tell us regularly they want to remain profitable and preserve their land for the future. Improving soil health is emerging as a leading strategy to do those things—and the first step is learning from local farmers.”
The 2018 Field Days in Illinois are:
- July 12, Decatur: “Strip-Till Demo Day”
- July 25, Hoopeston: “Strip-Till and Cover Crop Seeding Demo Day”
- July 26, Auburn: “Lake Springfield Soil Health Field Day”
- July 26, Chatsworth: “Strip-Till Systems and Soybean Cyst Nematode Management”
- Aug. 9, Golden: “Cover Crop Diversity and Soil Health”
- Sept. 4, Toluca: “Water Quality and Soil Health”
- Sept. 6, Decatur: “Cover Crops: Seeding Techniques and Soil Health”
- Sept. 14, Stockton: “Cover Crop Diversity and Soil Health”
For a list of field days in Illinois and other Midwestern states, and to register, visit www.soilhealthpartnership.org.