‘Roots for our Future: Building Soil & New Farmers’ Event Jan. 12 in Elgin

ELGIN, Minn.—The realities of running a farm that emphasizes both building soil and building a future for young farmers will be the focus of a Land Stewardship Project (LSP) meeting Thursday, Jan. 12, at Peace United Methodist Church (52497 275th Ave.) in Elgin. The “Roots for our Future: Building Soil and New Farmers” event is from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (registration opens at 3:30 p.m.), and the cost is $10 ($5 for additional family or farm members and students); a supper is included. To reserve a meal, contact LSP’s Karen Stettler by Jan. 9 at 507-523-3366 or stettler@landstewardshipproject.org.

The event will feature no-till and cover crop farmer and rancher Rick Bieber. Bieber has 15 years cover- cropping experience on his crop and livestock operation in South Dakota, where he and his family turn an annual average of 16 inches of rainfall into significant yields of wheat, corn, soybeans, flax, peas, sunflowers and alfalfa. They also have a 600-head cow-calf grazing operation.

Over the past 20 years, Bieber has tripled his yield and doubled his organic matter. Bieber also has experience helping beginning farmers beyond his family get started farming. Building soil health is at the foundation of his efforts to get a new generation of farmers started.

“When I give the mortgage to my sons they should not ask, ‘Where’s the soil?,’ ” said Bieber. “Our soils are our livelihood. Our soils are our partners. We must treat them as such.”

Bieber will be joined by a panel of area farmers pursuing innovative soil building practices on their operations. Panelists include Aaron Welti, a no-till corn, soybean and canning crops producer from Plainview, along with organic crops and livestock producer Eric Kreidermacher of Altura, Minn. They will share their soil building innovations and address topics like crop rotations, soil dynamics, the role of livestock and economics. There will also be an opportunity to brainstorm ways the community can help beginning farmers get started.