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Kansas Soil Health Alliance formsKansas Soil Health Alliance forms

New nonprofit will be a resource for soil health information for Kansas farmers and ranchers.

Jennifer M. Latzke

April 6, 2021

2 Min Read
Hands holding soil
SOIL HEALTH: Kansas Soil Health Alliance aims to provide farmers and ranchers a one-stop clearinghouse for information and education.Sebastian Schmidt/Getty Images

Kansas farmers and ranchers looking for soil health information and educational opportunities now have a new one-stop online resource, the Kansas Soil Health Alliance.

The new nonprofit organization brings Kansas soil health practitioners together with organizations that are leading the soil health charge. The goal is to be a collective place were farmers and ranchers can go to find farmer- and rancher-proven information and soil health training resources, explains Jennifer Simmelink, Kansas Soil Health Alliance coordinator.

“If there’s a soil health event in Kansas, whether virtual or in-person, and it’s of interest to Kansas growers, we’ll put it on our calendar,” Simmelink says. Events and resources will be reviewed by Simmelink and the board, which is made up of farmers and ranchers. This, she says, will provide credibility to the information they provide.

“We have a lot of great soil health efforts in our state, and our goal is to not recreate or repeat what’s already being done,” Simmelink says. She adds the alliance wants to also foster mentoring among experienced soil health practitioners and those just starting out. They plan to do this by matching mentors with growers, according to their region in the state and their particular production concerns. Ultimately, she adds, the alliance would like to see peer groups form to exchange ideas.

Simmelink says that the mission is to improve and protect Kansas soils, no matter the farming operation’s size, or current farming and ranching practices.

“A resilient soil will help provide a steady income through extreme weather events,” says Michael Thompson, a farmer and the alliance chairman.

The alliance is led by a board of Kansas farmers and ranchers who practice soil health principles on their own operations, and serve as both mentors and information sounding boards. Five partner organizations have also pledged their support of the nonprofit, each one with a soil health education initiative of its own, including the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition, Kansas Soybean, No-till on the Plains, and General Mills. Learn more at kssoilhealth.org.

Source: The Kansas Soil Health Alliance is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

About the Author(s)

Jennifer M. Latzke

Editor, Kansas Farmer

Through all her travels, Jennifer M. Latzke knows that there is no place like Kansas.

Jennifer grew up on her family’s multigenerational registered Angus seedstock ranch and diversified farm just north of Woodbine, Kan., about 30 minutes south of Junction City on the edge of the Kansas Flint Hills. Rock Springs Ranch State 4-H Center was in her family’s backyard.

While at Kansas State University, Jennifer was a member of the Sigma Kappa Sorority and a national officer for the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow. She graduated in May 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and a minor in animal science. In August 2000 Jennifer started her 20-year agricultural writing career in Dodge City, Kan., on the far southwest corner of the state.

She’s traveled across the U.S. writing on wheat, sorghum, corn, cotton, dairy and beef stories as well as breaking news and policy at the local, state and national levels. Latzke has traveled across Mexico and South America with the U.S. Wheat Associates and toured Vietnam as a member of KARL Class X. She’s traveled to Argentina as one of 10 IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism. And she was part of a delegation of AAEA: The Ag Communicators Network members invited to Cuba.

Jennifer’s an award-winning writer, columnist, and podcaster, recognized by the Kansas Professional Communicators, Kansas Press Association, the National Federation of Presswomen, Livestock Publications Council, and AAEA. In 2019, Jennifer reached the pinnacle of achievements, earning the title of “Writer of Merit” from AAEA.

Trips and accolades are lovely, but Jennifer says she is happiest on the road talking to farmers and ranchers and gathering stories and photos to share with readers.

“It’s an honor and a great responsibility to be able to tell someone’s story and bring them recognition for their work on the land,” Jennifer says. “But my role is also evolving to help our more urban neighbors understand the issues our Kansas farmers face in bringing the food and fiber to their store shelves.”

She spends her time gardening, crafting, watching K-State football, and cheering on her nephews and niece in their 4-H projects. She can be found on Twitter at @Latzke.

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