Soil health has been a growing interest to many farmers in Dodge County for several years. Cover crops are nothing new to Dodge County Farmers for Healthy Soil Healthy Water (DCF). The group hosts a Soil Health Expo in Dodge County to encourage more participation in conservation in their county. This year, the expo will be from 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Feb. 8.
Registration is required for this event; $50 includes lunch and the social event after the expo. The morning will begin with networking time with coffee, donuts and vendor booths. The meeting will start at 10 a.m with updates from DCF President Tony Peirick and lead right into formal presentations. Local farmers, Matt Wondra, Jeff Gaska, Dave Roche and Chris Conley will participate on an innovation panel moderated by Will Fuldwider from UW Extension. Attendees will explore topics about soil health through presentations by:
David Brandt, an Ohio farmer, is a nationally recognized cover crop expert. He farms 950 acres — all no-till — in Fairfield County, Ohio. He began no-till farming in 1971 and has been using cover crops since 1978. David has participated in yield plots for corn, soybeans and wheat into various covers. This information has been used by seed growers, county agents and universities to encourage other farmers to adopt no-till practices in their farming operations.
He has also been planting various blends of cover crops to find out what benefits they provide to improve soil health. David co-owns Walnut Creek Seeds, LLC with his son and daughter-in-law, Jay and Ann Brandt. David has had articles published in Farm Journal, Ohio Farmer, Country Journal and numerous no-till journals. He has worked in cooperation with The Ohio State University, University of Illinois, Penn State University, Purdue University and Milan Research Farm in Tennessee.
Brandt will be speaking about the work he is presently doing with OSU Randall Reeder and Dr. Islam on reducing input costs of fertilizers and herbicides using various cover crops which improve soil health. He is also working with the regional NRCS soils lab in Greensboro, N.C. on the benefits of cover crops to improve soil health. David Brandt has received many awards for conservation practices.
Shawn Wesener, data collection specialist for Farmers for Sustainable Food, works directly with farmers to help track conservation practice outcomes. Wesener has a professional background in agriculture and public planning. As a certified crop adviser, he most recently served as a precision agriculture specialist for Country Visions Cooperative, based in Brillion, Wis. He is now supporting farmer-led groups in their conservation efforts by working directly with farmers and crop advisers to capture the data needed to drive sustainability projects and support continuous improvement. He will be presenting the findings from DCF’s 2022 member conservation practices survey results.
Who: Dodge County Farmers for Healthy Soil Healthy Water
What: 2023 Soil Health Expo
When: 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Feb. 8
Where: Juneau Community Center, 500 Lincoln Dr., Juneau
- DCF year in review: Tony Peirick, DCF president
- DCF conservation outcomes: Shawn Wesener, Farmers for Sustainable Food
- Cover crops for soil health and reducing inputs to increase profitability: Dave Brandt, Ohio No-till Farmer
- Farmer innovation panel: Matt Wondra, Jeff Gaska, Dave Roche and Chris Conley moderated by Will Fulwider, UW Extension