Soil Health Series
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Madison County has had a continual and steady turnover of farmland to new and beginning farmers who have moved in from places like Chicago to California. The lands they are purchasing or leasing to farm are more often than not been laid fallow and or been hay fields where neither has had much nutrient management. Farmers were facing big hurdles after getting their soil reports back with low pH and low fertility and an aggressive seed bank to battle.
N.C. Cooperative Extension of Madison County stepped in with a three-part Soil Health Series where we partnered with Carolina Farm Stewardship to offer classes that covered: reading your soil report, cover crops, weed ID and management, conservation tillage and more. At the end of the series, there were 70 total participants reached.
All farmers that participated in this course stated that they would plan to use a cover crop for nutrient as well as weed suppression. There were also 90% of participants that stated they would conduct a soil test every 2 years to monitor the progress of building their soil health. The total number of soil tests taken in Madison County in 2019 was 268. The impacts of these steps are a reduction in fertilizer and chemical usage and the growth of a beneficial soil biome.