SDFU Connects Farmers with Soil Health Resources
In 2019, half of all South Dakota planted acres were seeded with no-till farming practices. As more farmers begin to implement no-till and other soil health building practices, they may have questions. And South Dakota Farmers Union wants to help by connecting them with answers and resources. “South Dakota Farmers Union recognizes the importance of soil health,” explains Luke Reindl, who coordinates the organization’s Building Connections for Soil Health programming in his role as SDFU Communications & Legislative Specialist.
With help from grant funding through a U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation (USDA-NRCS) grant, Reindl will host workshops and collaborate with other organizations like the S.D. Grassland Coalition and S.D. Soil Health Coalition to connect growers with resources.
He also works to connect farmers new to soil health practices with those who are more experienced through an ongoing collaboration with USDA NRCS, S.D. Grassland Coalition, S.D. No-Till Association, SDSU Extension, S.D. Conservation Districts and S.D. Soil Health Coalition. Several of his mentors are current SDFU members. He is looking to expand the list.
“Changing up field management practices can seem like a daunting task. These mentors are here to share real-life, field experiences and suggestions,” Reindl explains. “I encourage anyone who is just starting out to ask me to help connect them with a mentor.”
The following South Dakota producers currently serve as mentors: Scott and Amber Kolousek, Wessington Springs; Craig Rau, Java; Jim and Carol Faulstich, Highmore; Dallas Anderson, Eureka; Bart Carmichael, Faith; Gary and Amy Cammack, Union Center; Dan and Kris Nigg, Sisseton; Lynn Harnisch, Parkston; and Lewis Bainbridge, Ethan.
Soil health is not a new concept for Reindl. A Wessington Springs crop and livestock producer, he and his family have implemented no-till and other soil health farming practices for nearly 30 years. “The reality is that agriculture is the only sector that can significantly sequester carbon in a truly effective manner. So, as farmers and ranchers, we are tasked with not only producing food for the world, but we are also challenged with protecting our environment. The best, and probably the easiest way for us to protect the environment, is to ensure that our soil is healthy, full of life and able to grow plants in the most efficient way.”
To learn more about how you can become a Voices and Soil Health Mentor or how you can be connected with a mentor and other resources, contact Reindl at [email protected] or call him at 605-350-4220.
Photo Courtesy of USDA-NRCS South Dakota, Joe Dickie, Mitch Kezar.