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Published February 19, 2013, 12:50 PM

Soil Health Workshop Set for Grand Forks

Farmer Paul Brown will be one of the speakers at the first Grand Forks County Soil Health Workshop Feb. 28 at the Ramada Inn in Grand Forks, N.D. Organizers hope the workshop will become an annual event.

By: Jonathan Knutson, Agweek

Paul Brown grew up believing in the importance of soil health. Now, the Bismarck, N.D., farmer is spreading the message to other agricultural producers.

“Soil health is important to everyone,” he says.

Brown will be one of the speakers at the first Grand Forks County Soil Health Workshop Feb. 28 at the Ramada Inn in Grand Forks, N.D. Organizers hope the workshop will become an annual event.

“We’re excited about this workshop,” says Paul Bjorg, a technician with the Grand Forks County Soil Conservation District, which is hosting the event.

Also involved in the event are the North Dakota State University Extension Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the North Dakota Department of Health.

Brown, 25, is part of his family diversified farm near Bismarck. It raises livestock, including cattle, sheep, chickens and turkey, 10 to 15 cash crops and as many as 75 species of cover crops.

“We’re not just corn and soybeans,” he says.

His family began emphasizing no-tillage farming practices and soil health in the 1990s. Several years of bad weather had hammered the farm’s profitability, and the family was looking for ways to cut input costs.

Interest in soil health among area agricultural producers has grown rapidly in recent years.

“In the past two years, we’ve really noticed the trend in that direction,” Brown says.

He’s been speaking publicly on soil health for several years.

Brown will speak at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 28 in Grand Forks. His presentation is titled “Regenerating the Soils that Sustain Life.”

Other speakers will examine the link between soil biology and soil health, soil salinity, no-till farming practices and activism and agriculture.

Activities began at 9 a.m. and will finish at 3 p.m. Lunch will be provided.

Register by Feb. 22 by calling (701) 772-2321 or emailing kristine.larson@nd.nacdnet.net.

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