Soil health Christine Jones

Christine Jones, Ph.D.

Christine Jones, Ph.D., an internationally renowned groundcover and soils ecologist from Australia, will be the keynote speaker at the 6th Annual Soil Health Workshop in Burley, Idaho, on Feb. 6.

Jones has been doing research, teaching and extension since the early 1970s and has a wealth of experience working with innovative farmers and ranchers to implement regenerative land-management practices.

Those practices are focused on enhancing biodiversity, productivity, nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration and water quality and creating new topsoil.

Jones has gained international recognition through workshops, field days, seminars and conferences throughout Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Western Europe, Central America, the U.S. and Canada.

“Christine Jones is the pinnacle in experience in the microbiology of soil health worldwide,” said Doreen McMurray, information and education specialist with the East and West Cassia Soil and Water Conservation Districts — which sponsor the annual workshop.

Most of her career has been centered on soil health, and she is an expert in understanding the microbiology for soil health improvement. She is able to share her knowledge to help farmers implement soil health practices on their operations, she said.

“This really is a rare opportunity to be able to tap into her experience and knowledge base. It will be a huge opportunity for farmers to get information to benefit their own farms,” she said.

Jones has done extensive work in Australia’s dry climate, which should be of particular interest to farmers in southern Idaho, she said.

“Her information will provide great help for every farmer in our area,” she said.

Jones’ keynote address will focus on quorum sensing in the soil microbiome, and she will also give breakout sessions on the extraordinary power of soil diversity.

The all-day workshop will also include local farmer success stories, soil health basics, cover crop seed ideas for southern Idaho, cover crop research and using livestock for soil health.

“This workshop will provide information for basic growers to those who have been doing it for years,” McMurray said.

It has something for everyone, and will benefit those just starting in soil health to those who have a lot of experience, she said.

“If they think they’ve heard it before, they haven’t. And if they haven’t heard it before, this is a great opportunity,” she said.

There are many reason to learn more about soil health and how to implement practices that will improve it. Farmers are becoming more interested in doing what’s good for the earth, good for their farm and farming in ways that will benefit future generation, she said.

Attendance at the annual workshop has grown from 50 to more than 300 over the years, she said.

The event, including a vendor fair, will be held at the Best Western Burley Inn and Convention Center, starting at 7:45 a.m.

The workshop is free and includes a continental breakfast and lunch. Those who want to attend must register by emailing ewcswcd@gmail.com or by calling (208) 572-3369. For more information, visit: www.minicassiaswcd.com .

Pesticide and certified crop advisor credits will be available.

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