Soil and water health topic for workshop

Wisconsin State Farmer

Juneau — A workshop on practices leading to healthy soil and healthy water will be hosted by the Dodge County farmer to farmer nonpoint work group at the Juneau Community Center on Wednesday, Feb. 8.

The program will open at 9 a.m. with five producer and organization representatives diagnosing the question of “How did we get here?” regarding the current concerns and problems pertaining to soil and water health.

Keynote presentations will be made by the Natural Resources Conservation Service's “Soil Guy” Ray Archuleta of Seymour, MO; by Justin Morris, the NRCS's regional soil health specialist for Wisconsin and Minnesota; and by Jim Harbach of Schrack Farms dairy in central Pennsylvania.

Three producer panel discussions will follow the noon lunch. The topics will be cover crops, tillage methods and manure and nutrient management.

For the cover crops panel, the members will be Tony Peirick of Watertown, Dale Macheel of Randolph and Damon Reabe and Steve Smits of Waupun. For the session on no-till or strip till practices, the panelists will be Ricky Kratz of Slinger, Jonathan Gibbs of Fox Lake and Ryan Nell of Beaver Dam.

The day's final panel session on manure and nutrient management will feature John Koepke of Oconomowoc, Kevin Roche of Columbus and Jordan Crave of Waterloo. At the conclusion of the day, there will be an announcement of a farm shop follow-up session on Thursday, Feb. 9.

Reservations are required by Wednesday, Feb. 1. The fee is $10 per person with a late fee of $5. Checks payable to Dodge County Non-Point Runoff Work Group should be sent to Dodge County UW-Extension, Administration Building, Room 108, 127 East Oak St., Juneau, WI 53039. Persons with questions may call 920-386-3790.

Major sponsors for the February 8 workshop are the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board and the United Cooperative. Other sponsors include the University of Wisconsin Extension Service, the Farm Bureau, the Beaver Dam Lake Improvement Association, and other conservation groups.


A study from the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources has found that switchgrass, which is a perennial plant and used commonly for biofuel, improves soil quality and can be grown on farms that have lost fertile topsoil.