'From Entomology to Economics' Soil Health Workshop March 5 in Caledonia

CALEDONIA, Minn. — A workshop entitled, “From Entomology to Economics: Building Soil Health with Jonathan Lundgren," will be offered by the Land Stewardship Project (LSP) on Thursday, March 5, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at St. John’s Lutheran Church (650 N. Kingston St.) in Caledonia. It will feature presentations by Dr. Lundgren and a panel featuring southeastern Minnesota farmers. The cost is $15 per person ($10 for an additional farm partner, and $30 per family), which includes a noon meal featuring a local foods lunch catered by Estelle’s. To register by March 3, contact LSP’s Alex Romano at 507-523-3366 or at aromano@landstewardshipproject.org.

This workshop will also be offered at the Lion’s Community Center in Goodhue, Minn., on Friday, March 6, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and will include a local farm panel featuring Kaleb Anderson, Josie Trople, John Jaeger and Mike Zabel.

A challenging and provocative presenter, Lundgren is an agroecologist, entomologist and beekeeper. He received his PhD in entomology from the University of Illinois in 2004 and was a top scientist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service for 11 years. Lundgren’s research and education programs focus on assessing the ecological risk of pest management strategies and developing long-term solutions for regenerative food systems. Together with his family and laboratory team, he began Blue Dasher Farm in 2016 in South Dakota. The farm raises livestock, crops and bees.

Lundgren will present on his team’s efforts to:

  • Research ecologically-based pest and farm management solutions that reduce disturbance and increase biodiversity.
  • Educate farmers, the public and future scientists on regenerative farming practices.
  • Address the financial feasibility of regenerative agricultural practices on a working farm.

“Dr. Lundgren’s talk reinforced for me the importance of thinking of my farm as an ecosystem, and in so doing, providing a home for beneficial insects, both predators and pollinators,” said North Dakota farmer Gabe Brown.

The local farm panel for the Caledonia meeting will include Jordan and Rachelle Meyer, Aaron Gillespie, and Connor McCormick. The Meyers raise grass-fed beef, pastured pigs and poultry, incorporating goats, organic row crops and small grains. Their soil-building practices include managed rotational grazing and grazing of multi-species cover crops. Gillespie raises conventional/organic row crops, small grains, cover crops, hay, canning peas and beef. He uses a homemade interseeder to apply cover crops on the last cultivation pass in his organic corn. His other soil-building practices include managed rotational grazing and experimenting with interseeding covers into 60-inch corn. McCormick raises row crops and beef. His soil-building practices include broadcasting cover crops with fertilizer, working towards all no-till, and incorporating spring calving on cover crops.

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