The recent Synergy in Science ASA, CSSA, SSSA International Annual Meeting was held in Minneapolis to highlight the need for improved soil health and how these farm management practices can benefit growers. As part of the event southeast Iowa farmer, Steve Berger, presented before and after pictures of the soil on his farm.
“This soil has been to the gym, if you will,” he said. “I’ve adopted practices on my farm that I believe will build healthy soil and protect water while maximizing my yields.”
Berger uses both no-till and cover crops to help create resistance to weather issues like drought and heavy rain.
The “Public Private Partnerships to Improve Soil Health and Agronomic Resiliency” symposium was also part of the week and focused on helping the agriculture industry work together to adapt to weather extremes and to further improve sustainability.
“Our challenge as researchers, grantors, environmental organizations, commodity organizations, universities and farmers in the next few years is to align organizational efforts, farmer incentives and the removal of barriers to scale up implementation of soil health practices within conservation management systems,” said Moira McDonald of the Walton Family Foundation.
“We need the research community. We need you now,” Berger said of fellow farmers. “I know from what I read in the newspaper that people are going to demand that farmers move in this direction. Farmers need to lead it, but we need the tools from you, including consistent research methodology that translates to farms in different climates,” he said.
It is one of the reasons Berger chose to be part of the Soil Health Partnership and make his farm available as a demonstration site.
“Data is a powerful driver of change,” he said.