By: McKenzie Fox, Conservation Program Assistant
Farmers young and old know the importance of soil to their crops and livelihood. Soils hold and provide the nutrients and water for the plants they grow, and healthy soils are the foundation for a healthy farm. Soil is a living ecosystem with bacteria, fungi, and microbes, and for the soil to continue to do its job of producing crops, it is important that we ensure the ecosystem is well-functioning. Healthy soils lead to increased production, increased profits, and natural resource protection (healthy soils hold more water, decrease flooding, provide more nutrients to crops, and help crops resist disease and pests) according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Given that 95% of our food is directly or indirectly produced on our soils, soil health does not just affect farmers. It affects all of us.
Every year, the Antrim and Kalkaska Conservation Districts (ACD & KCD) host a soil health field day. This year, the event will take place on July 25th at Iott Seed Potato Farm in Kalkaska, highlighting their 3-year cover crop trial. Field day discussions will also include an intro to the Iott Farm Story, soil health impacts on crops, attracting beneficial insects on the farm, composting, and the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP). The event will begin with day-of registration at 9:00am and end with an ice cream social at 3:30pm. We are excited for this very informative and fun event! Pre-registration is encouraged and can be done on KCD website at kalkaskaconservation.org or by calling the office at (231)258-3307. Registration is $10 per person and includes a locally sourced lunch. You must pre-register by July 22nd to guarantee your lunch.
For more information on ACD and/or to subscribe to ACD’s newsletter, visit our website at antrimcd.com, call us at (231)533-8363, or stop by our office at 4820 Stover Rd. in Bellaire.
For more information on KCD, visit their website at kalkaskaconservation.org, call them at (231)258-3307, or stop by their office at 406 South Cedar St., Suite A in Kalkaska.
Read more about soil health at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov.