MADISON, S.D. (KELO) — People from several states visited an organic farm near Madison, South Dakota this week.
The Johnson family has been running 2,500 acres as an organic farm since 1976. This week, 40 people from several states came to the operation to get a closer look at the fields and how the farm incorporates conservation practices.
These field day visitors are getting an up close look at conservation practices in use for organic farming at the Johnson Farms. Here you’ll find a diverse crop rotation and cover crops.
“Soil is actually a community of life and so it’s important that any community that has life in it has diversity, is protected and well taken care of. So if you protect the life in the soil, you’re protecting your investment,” said Charlie Johnson, owner and operator of Johnson Farms.
“I like the perennial crops they have in the rotation, I like the diversity of the rotation, so they do a lot of good things that really builds their nutrients in there with the legume in their rotation,” said Eric Barsness, conservation agronomist with NRCS. “Pest management, it helps with the weed control so yeah the diversity is really key I think for the Johnson operation.”
Presenters from Natural Resources Conservation Service also gave a demonstration on water infiltration with a rainfall simulator.
“You know if they can take something from this workshop, take it home, start small in their operation, open their mindset a little bit, maybe they are open to trying a different rotation, maybe a different length of rotation, trying a new cover crop mix, you know any little thing that they can take back home and implement on their farm is probably one of our main goals,” said Barsness.
Mike Schulist traveled all the way from Wisconsin to attend the field day.
“Just the awareness of the soil filtration, knowing that having a diverse rotation a green manure crop, growing your own fertility a lot of pluses that were learned today,” said Schulist.
Hoping to give people something to think about and broaden their understanding of organic agriculture.
“For others I hope it gives them some ideas or approaches they can take back home to their farm. If they are not a farmer or producer I’m just glad they are here also just to learn about how farmers out here in the rural areas are actually doing farming without having to purchase harmful inputs,” said Johnson.
You can find more Natural Resources Conservation Service soil health resources here.