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Soil health, water management headline symposium

Soil health and Ogallala Aquifer management strategies will headline the No-Till Texas Soil Health Symposium. Filmmaker Peter Byck will address attendees about his docuseries, "Roots so Deep."

Shelley E. Huguley

February 9, 2024

2 Min Read
soil health No-Till Texas
The 2024 No-Till Texas Soil Health Symposium to focus on soil health and underground water management at their Feburay 13 and 14 event.Shelley E. Huguley

Conserving the soil and the water that runs underneath it are two topics that will headline the sixth annual No-Till Texas Soil Health Symposium in Canyon, Texas, Feb. 13 and 14th.  

The conference, to be held at West Texas A&M University, will raise awareness about strategies “that will both help us conserve these resources and also make our operations more profitable,” says Muleshoe producer and symposium Vice President Kelly Kettner.

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Grazing management will also be discussed. “We will talk about regenerative grazing and give the scientific reasons why this helps build our soil and make it absorb more water,” he told Farm Press.

Unique to this year’s agenda is the viewing of a documentary, “Roots so Deep,” by filmmaker and keynote speaker Peter Byck. “We are asking people to pre-watch Episode 1, and we are going to show Episode 4 on the afternoon of the first day of the conference,” Kettner says.

Byck, an Arizona State University professor in both the School of Sustainability and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, is leading a $10 million research project comparing conventional grazing with Adaptive Multi-Paddock (AMP). This collaboration with 20 scientists and 10 farm families focuses on soil health, carbon storage, GHG cycling, microbial/bug/bird biodiversity and water cycling.

Soil health workshops

Registered guests will receive a link to watch the first episode before the conference.

Also on the agenda are the following workshops and guest speakers:

  • "The Plow That Broke the Plains," with Pare Lorentz

  • “Life Beyond the Aquifer,” Barry Evans, Kress, Texas, producer

  • “Dealing with Drought and Declining Groundwater,” David Parker, West Texas A&M University

  • “The Future of Regenerative Agriculture,” Kettner

  • “Soil Health, Rancher Wealth and the Science to Back It Up,” Byck

  • “Roots So Deep You Can See the Devil, Episode 4,” Byck

  • “Non-Irrigated Cropping Systems Research Update,” Craig Bednarz, West Texas A&M University

  • “Building Grit to Ensure a Successful Regenerative Transition,” Elizabeth Heilman, Wichita State University

  • “Rainfall Simulator,” Brandt Underwood, NRCS

  • "Answering Questions About How to Profitably Manage Grazing Livestock for Regenerative Management of Resources," Tim Steffens, West Texas A&M University

  • "Ending the Power of Drought," Dale Strickler, an agroecologist and author, and Heilman

Symposium workshop

To register for the event or to learn more, visit No-Till Texas. Registration includes lunch on both days and access to the trade show and demonstrations, Kettner says. The conference will begin at 8 a.m.

“I hope attendees will leave our conference with an awareness that we can be profitable and still leave this land in good condition for our kids and grandkids.”

Read more about:

Ogallala Aquifer

About the Author(s)

Shelley E. Huguley

Editor, Southwest Farm Press

Shelley Huguley has been involved in agriculture for the last 25 years. She began her career in agricultural communications at the Texas Forest Service West Texas Nursery in Lubbock, where she developed and produced the Windbreak Quarterly, a newspaper about windbreak trees and their benefit to wildlife, production agriculture and livestock operations. While with the Forest Service she also served as an information officer and team leader on fires during the 1998 fire season and later produced the Firebrands newsletter that was distributed quarterly throughout Texas to Volunteer Fire Departments. Her most personal involvement in agriculture also came in 1998, when she married the love of her life and cotton farmer Preston Huguley of Olton, Texas. As a farmwife, she knows first-hand the ups and downs of farming, the endless decisions made each season based on “if” it rains, “if” the drought continues, “if” the market holds. She is the bookkeeper for their family farming operation and cherishes moments on the farm such as taking harvest meals to the field or starting a sprinkler in the summer with the whole family lending a hand. Shelley has also freelanced for agricultural companies such as Olton CO-OP Gin, producing the newsletter Cotton Connections while also designing marketing materials to promote the gin. She has published articles in agricultural publications such as Southwest Farm Press while also volunteering her marketing and writing skills to non-profit organizations such as Refuge Services, an equine-assisted therapy group in Lubbock. She and her husband reside in Olton with their three children Breely, Brennon and HalleeKate.

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