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Soil health workshop draws a large crowd

By Alecia Kaus


Farmers from three counties packed the Generation Center on Center Street in Batavia this morning to learn how they can improve their yields and be better stewards of their land.

The first ever "Soil Health Workshop" was put on by the Genesee County Soil and Water Conservation District and the event attracted about 60 farmers from Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties.

Presenters talked about how to tell if your soil is healthy, disturbing your soil less, soil function and what works for you.

Molly Stetz, an AmeriCorp student intern for Genesee County Soil and Water Conservation, did an infiltration demonstration with donated soil from local farms.

Stetz says, "Many farmers do not know how to increase infiltration unless they visually see it using displays. It is an awakening for them to see how healthy their soil really is."

Farmers are always trying to increase infiltration because it causes less soil run-off into streams and creeks and there is also less compaction, which then optimizes plant roots and yield.

According to Heath Eisele of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, "Those of us in the conservation area thought this was something we needed to share with farmers. We are extremely surprised and glad to see that there is this much interest in soil health and that farmers want to treat their land better than what they are doing."

Stetz says "Farmers are looking for a way to network farmer-to-farmer and today was a good way to do that."

The Genesee County Soil and Water Conservation District is hoping to have a field day event in the summer to do field demonstrations for area farmers.

To contact Gensee County Soil and Water about future workshops call 585-343-2363.

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