January 20th Soil Health Workshop and Williams County Ag Improvement Meeting

Farmers and ranchers in the MonDak area are invited to participate in a soil health workshop on Thursday, January 20. The workshop, which is being sponsored by the Williams County Soil Conservation District, Natural Resources Conservation Service, NDSU Extension Williams County, and the Williams County Ag Improvement Association, will begin at 9:00 am at the Williston Research Extension Center and will be a hybrid event featuring both in-person and online opportunities to participate.

Opening speaker for the workshop will be Frayne Olson, NDSU Crop Economist/Marketing Specialist. Frayne will provide a crop market update and outlook, a topic that should be of considerable interest as producers plan for the upcoming growing season.

The focus of the soil health portion of the program will be on increasing soil carbon as it is one of the primary components to improving soil health and resilience.

Keith Berns, a former teacher, who along with his brother are no-till farmers and co-owners of Green Cover Seed near Bladen, Nebraska, will lead off the discussion talking about “Carbonomics”. Berns came up with the term when he realized the distinct parallels between a healthy, robust economy and the types of biological activity taking place in a healthy, well-managed soil. Berns notes that a common thread weaving throughout a healthy soil economy is carbon.

Following the “Carbonomics” presentation, Hal Wieser, Soil Health Specialist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, will talk about management practices to increase soil carbon.

Lunch will be served at noon, compliments of the Williams County Ag Improvement Association, Williams County Soil Conservation District, and NDSU Extension Williams County.

After lunch, David Ripplinger, NDSU Bioproducts and Bioenergy Economist, will give an overview on the emerging carbon markets. Carbon credits are one component of an emerging market for agriculture collectively known as “ecosystem services markets”. As practices that build soil health tend to also be practices that capture carbon in the soil, there may be opportunities for producers to participate in this emerging market.

To round out the program, staff from the Williston Research Extension Center and North Dakota Crop Improvement & Seed Association will provide updates on crop variety performance and new varieties being released by NDSU.

Following the conclusion of the program, all Williams County producers are invited to stay for the annual meeting of the Williams County Ag Improvement Association. Working closely with NDSU Extension Williams County, the Ag Improvement Association plays a key role in the increase of new varieties released by NDSU within the county and helps to support many ag related programs in the county.

Those planning to participate in the workshop are asked to pre-register to help with the meal count for in-person participation and if you plan to participate online, so you can be emailed the link to join the workshop. To pre-register, please contact the Williams County Soil Conservation District at 701-774-2319 or the NDSU Extension Williams County office at 701-577-4595. Please pre-register by Tuesday, Jan. 18.

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