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.