By Tamara Daniel
Last week, more than 250 producers attended the Texas Soil Health Short Course – a two-day event hosted in partnership by the Association of Texas Soil and Water Conservation Districts, the Texas NRCS, and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board. The short course featured presentations and demonstrations by scientists and NACD Soil Health Champions, and was capped off with a field tour.
The event speakers explained various processes, like how soil health management can enhance and improve water resources, and described the fundamental scientific principles that underpin successful no-till operations. They also taught attendees how to build or start a soil health management system on their own farms.
Texas producers addressed specific issues they had personally encountered using soil health practices. In his presentation, Terry McAlister from Texas talked about the mistakes he had made and what he had learned through trial and error. Soil Health Champions Jimmy Emmons of Oklahoma and Kenneth McAlister of Texas (Terry’s brother), shared their experiences as well.
On day-one, NRCS rainfall simulators gave attendees a first-hand understanding of how using cover crops can improve the soil’s ability to retain moisture and move water within the soil profile. Day-two – the field tour – was no-doubt the highlight of the meeting. Meeting participants got up-close and personal with soil profiles and roots structures from down within soil pits. There, attendees could really see all the “healthy aspects of the soil.”
Texas hopes to continue to host these types of short courses across the state to continue to promote the benefits of soil health. If you are interested in learning more about this event, head to NRCS’ official page, or read local news coverage here.