Soil Health Takes a Seat at the TableBy Emily Keiser on Monday, 29 July, 2019
As the annual Corn Congress meetings commenced, many passionate corn advocates came together in Washington D.C. These meetings address current corn issues as well as hearing from several policy makers about actions being taken throughout the legislature. Throughout the week, sustainability and soil health became something that delegates began to not only understand, but truly learned the importance of embracing its effects.
“Soil conservation and sustainability is more about helping the environment and continues to ensure that a multiple generation farm stays around for many more,” said NCGA First Vice President and SHP farmer, Kevin Ross.
During the beginning of the week, action team members attended meetings updating them on current projects and learning from industry partners about involvement opportunities. As the meetings continued, a common theme began to arise: with the tough spring many farmers faced, many are looking toward conservation and soil health to try and get something out in their fields.
“Most farmers who already had a cover crop established were able to get in to plant a few days earlier than those that didn’t and in a year like this, that can be a big deal,” said SHP farmer and Stewardship Action Team Chair, Roger Zylstra.
As soil health and sustainability becomes the standing point for many organizations, farmers are also being asked to take part in the effort. Throughout the action team meetings, many partners have come forward asking farmers to take part in advisory committees to guide partnerships in a way that is the most feasible for farmers.
“Soil Health Partnership really stands as the pinnacle of all the conservation work that growers have been doing for decades. Understanding how that conservation work comes together to improve soil health and water quality has really been helping to define sustainable farming,” said NCGA Production and Sustainability Vice President, Nathan Fields.
With the formation for the Inaugural Farmer Advisory Committee, SHP will have a group of farmers ready to discuss topics including data collection, communication, and the sharing of knowledge through the farming network.
“The new Farmer Advisory Committee will provide consistent and targeted input to SHP on its strategic vision and program delivery. This will ensure we deliver value to farmers and agriculture, and continue to evolve in line with the dynamics of the agricultural system,” said SHP Executive Director, Shefali Mehta.