SDSU Extension to hold soil health workshop

SDSU Extension photo: A farmer conducts an inspection of soil on his farm. A soil health workshop will be held next month in Mitchell.

BROOKINGS – SDSU Extension will host a Soil Health Workshop on Feb. 13 at the Highland Conference Center in Mitchell. The event will focus on climate, weather, livestock integration, cover crops, carbon-to-nitrogen ratios and the benefits of manure for building organic matter and carbon in soil. Additionally, attendees can visit a variety of industry booths at the trade show.

Eric Snodgrass, an atmospheric scientist with Nutrien Ag Solutions, will start off the event as the opening speaker. Snodgrass is the former director of undergraduate studies for the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois and continues to serve as an adjunct professor there. 

He is currently working on the development of predictive analytical software solutions to manage weather risk for global production agriculture. Snodgrass provides frequent weather updates that focus on how high-impact weather events influence global agricultural productivity. His research uses machine learning to better understand field-level weather impacts on yields in the United States and to increase confidence in long-range weather prediction.

Following Snodgrass, Cody Zilverberg will speak about his research which focuses on the integration of livestock into cropping systems and prairie restoration. Zilverberg grew up on a beef cattle ranch in Hyde County. He obtained a master’s degree in agricultural economics from Texas A&M University and his Ph.D. in agronomy from Texas Tech University. In 2016, he moved to Pierre with his family. Zilverberg currently serves as an adjunct assistant professor at South Dakota State University and conducts research at the Dakota Lakes Research Farm outside of Pierre.

John Lentz, a resource conservationist with the Natural Resource Conservation Service, will discuss the benefits of manure in improving soil health, the pros and cons of different manure types, the role of carbon-nitrogen ratios and ways to improve organic matter in soil and decrease the loss of phosphorus and nitrogen from the landscape. Local producer Paul Hetland will co-present with Lentz and share his personal experiences. 

A farm panel consisting of local producers and experts will follow the speakers: Dan Forgey, an agronomist in Gettysburg; Matt Bainbridge, a producer in Ethan; and Dwayne Beck, an agronomist and manager of SDSU’s Dakota Lakes Research Farm, will serve as the panelists. Topics will include prevent plant acres, reflections on 2019 and suggestions for 2020. Discussion and questions from the audience are encouraged.

The event is free to the public. Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m. with presentations following at 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to pre-register so the organizers can plan accordingly for lunch. To pre-register, call the Davison Conservation District office at 605-996-1564, ext. 3 or contact the office by email by 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7. 

Certified crop consultant educational credits will be available at the event. More information and a full agenda can be viewed at the SDSU Extension events page or at the SD No-Till Association website.

The Highland Conference Center is located at 2000 Highland Way in Mitchell.

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