No-till field

Soil health will be the topic of an upcoming workshop in Burley, Idaho

The fifth annual Soil Health Workshop is scheduled Feb. 6 at Best Western Plus Burley Inn & Convention Center, 800 N. Overland Ave., Burley, Idaho.

Minidoka, West Cassia and East Cassia soil and water conservation districts, which comprise the Mini-Cassia Direct Seed and Cover Crop Project, host the free event. Local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service staff provide technical support.

Registration starts at 8 a.m. General presentations and specialized breakout sessions will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch and a continental breakfast will be provided. Education credits are available.

Scheduled speakers include Jay Fuhrer, a Bismarck, N.D.-based NRCS soil health specialist who plans to discuss regenerative agriculture; and Bladen, Neb., no-till producer Keith Berns, slated to cover to cover soil economy.

Attendance grew from 40 to 50 the first year to more than 320 in 2018, said David Mabey, NRCS district conservationist for Cassia and Minidoka counties.

“Soil health is rapidly gaining attention in southern Idaho,” he said. “Soil health is about more than cover crops and no-till. It affects literally every facet of agriculture, either directly or indirectly — from farmers to ranchers to the general public.”

Prioritizing soil health can provide benefits including reduced soil erosion and pesticide use, reduced fossil fuel demand, and increased resiliency of soils and cropping rotations, Mabey said. It also can benefit pollinators, increase the diversity of all microbiology in the soil, add grazing acres for livestock and lead to more efficient fertilizer use as well as better management of agriculture’s carbon footprint.

Information is available from Doreen McMurray or Jessica Anderson, 208-572-3388 or 208-572-3369. RSVP to 208-572-3369 or ewcswcd@gmail.com.

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