With the theme, "Rooted in Data, Growing Success," the National Corn Growers Association's farmer-led project, Soil Health Partnership (SHP), opens its fifth annual Soil Health Summit to farmers, agronomists, environmental groups, consumer companies and other partners.
The SHP mission? Make agriculture more productive and sustainable through healthy soil.
The event previously served as the annual gathering of farmers enrolled in the SHP, their agronomists and industry partners. But the organization believes it is time to expand their network, starting January 15-16, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch.
Dr. Shefali Mehta, executive director of the Soil Health Partnership, said the growing interest in soil health from a host of sectors is one reason the group decided to open the event to the public this year.
Learn data-driven practices
“The Soil Health Summit is a unique event in that it fosters making soil health research relevant to operational success, in combination with actual on-farm results at scale. The Summit provides a forum to facilitate discussion on the adoption of data-driven practices such as cover crops, reduced tillage and nutrient management on farms,” she said. “This is the place to learn the latest in data and information surrounding adaptive management practices, engage in deep-dive education, and connect with others in peer-to-peer networking and learning.”
The event also provides great value in bridging the conversation between diverse stakeholders, including food companies and environmental groups, who rally around improving soil health, Mehta said.
To help bridge the conversation, SHP has attracted some excellent general session speakers: Kendra Levine, North American Sustainability Manager for McDonalds; Larry Clemens, Director of North America's Agriculture for The Nature Conservancy; Ryan Sirolli, Row Crop Sustainability Director for Cargill; and Sean Arians, Ag Environmental Business Development Lead at Bayer Crop Science.
Soil health 2019
After a kickoff lunch, the opening general session will examine "A New Year in Soil Health." The Soil Health Partnership now has three years of consistent on-farm data to interpret and share insights. In addition, farmers will learn how soil health intersects with agriculture’s end user – the consumer. Top food companies will highlight why soil health is key to their business and sustainability strategies, and how it can improve the outlook for everyone. The Nature Conservancy will also report on why collaboration between ag and environmental groups is more vital than ever in 2019.
Numerous excellent breakout session topics are scheduled:
- Cover crop termination
- Farmers link to supply chains
- New federal/state regulations for 2019
- Improve landowner relations and soil health
- Cover crop grazing
- Soil health and profitability
- Farmer/agronomist roundtable discussions
- Importance and use of social media
- Drones: Put aerial imagery to work
- Become a SHP Associate to improve soils
- Healthy soils and cleaner waters
- Down and dirty on soil testing
SHP executive director Mehta encourages everyone to register at https://www.soilhealthpartnership.org/summit/. Cost is $100 for farmers/educators and $250 for non-farmers. SHP promises high-energy education, enhanced breakouts and more time for peer networking. You’ll get the latest soil health strategies, data insights and business impacts!