Nearly 100 people, including a participant from Belize, attended HMI’s sponsored workshop and field day that focused on soil fertility. The workshop, led by Gabe Brown took place at the Kaesebier Farm near Elkhart, Illinois on August 28th. To start the day off, participants were greeted with a “soil your undies” display where the Kaesebiers were airing their dirty laundry next to the registration table! The partially decomposed cotton underwear hanging on the line had been previously buried in different areas of the farm, and the amount of decomposition showed differing levels of biological activity in the soil from those areas.
The day started off with an introduction to Holistic Management from HMI Board member Walter Lynn of Springfield, IL. Gabe Brown then talked about the value of Holistic Management and Rick Kaesebier briefly shared what they have been doing on their 800-acre farm to improve soil health. Participants spent the rest of the morning rotating between four learning stations on the farm to view a cover crop test plot, a slake test demonstration, a soil pit, and a water infiltration demo, as everyone learned more about soil health and soil fertility management practices.
After a catered lunch, Walter Lynn kicked off the afternoon session, which was followed by an overview of Holistic Management and HMI’s educational programs by HMI Program Director Kathy Harris. Gabe then spent the rest of the afternoon presenting results experienced on his farm and practices that have improved both profitability and soil health. There was a lot of great conversation and Q&A as people had the opportunity to ask Gabe a lot of questions, while also sharing their own experiences, and learning from other event participants.
Here are some of the results from the Soil Fertility Workshop:
- Would recommend event to others – 100%
- Expanded network – 91%
- Intend to integrate or modify soil fertility practices as a result of event – 89%
- Intend to change management practices – 89%
HMI would like to extend their thanks to the Kaesebiers for opening their farm for this event and to the Herd Quitters Management Group for their help. We’d also like to thank our event sponsors; Soil Health Partnership and ProHarvest Seeds for supporting this program.
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