Soil Health Summit brings farmers, researchers to Chicago

The 4th Annual Soil Health Summit, presented by the Soil Health Partnership, was held in Chicago last month, bringing together farmers, researchers and more to learn about the latest in land stewardship.

An initiative of the National Corn Growers Association, the Soil Health Partnership (SHP) is a data-driven program working to quantify the benefits of practices that support soil health from an economical and environmental standpoint. Its 2018 Soil Health Summit featured breakout sessions and speakers covering a wide range of soil health topics, including cover crops, nutrient management optimization, future ag technologies, effective storytelling of conservation practices and much more.

Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) board member Bryan Biegler was invited to the summit to participate on a panel on nutrient management for enhanced agricultural systems. Biegler shared his own experience using cover crops and strip-tilling and how that affected nutrient application and his overall soil fertility program. Biegler was joined on the panel by Shawn Richmond, who is the environmental technology director with the Agribusiness Association of Iowa.

While the sessions are certainly productive, Biegler said the main benefit he has seen in his two years attending the Soil Health Summit was in networking with his fellow farmers.

“I have been trying these different conservation practices for some time now, and I have found it helpful to get together with others,” Biegler said. “You always pick up little tidbits here and there about how you could improve your operation.”

Biegler has participated in Soil Health Partnership data trials for the last three years on his Lake Wilson farm. His focus is measuring the impact of cover crops on soil health. Biegler had a field day over the summer to share the positive benefits of the conservation practice, which you can learn more about here.

In addition to Biegler, fellow MCGA board member Noah Hultgren also farms on sites where conservation practices are being measured by the Soil Health Partnership. MCGA recently approved funding to add additional Minnesota sites in 2018, furthering its support of SHP’s mission to make agriculture more productive and sustainable through improved soil health.






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