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News Release

Local Free Workshops Aim to Improve Soil Health

Marlon Winger
(208) 378-5730

For more information:
Alexis Collins, Public Affairs Specialist: 208-685-6978 

Hands in soil

BOISE, Idaho, January 22, 2013 - Producers in Eastern Washington and North Idaho seeking to improve their farm’s soil can attend a free soil health workshop in mid-February. National and local presenters from the Natural Resources Conservation Service will teach participants how to protect and improve the soil habitat. The workshop will be offered on three different days and in different locations:

· February 12 - Spangle, WA - Harvester Restaurant, 410 W 1st
· February 13 - Colfax, WA - First Methodist Church, 109 S. Mill Street
· February 14 - Lewiston, ID - Red Lion Hotel

The workshops run from 9 am to 3 pm. There is no cost and lunch is provided.

“At this workshop, we hope to change the way you view soils and improve your profit margin by applying agro-ecology principles,” said , State Agronomist with the Idaho Natural Resources Conservation Service. “We’ll discuss how our farming practices affect soil quality as well as things you can do to improve the soil quality.”

The key note speaker is Ray Archuleta, a national conservation agronomist with NRCS. Archuleta travels around the country presenting information and technology that can help farmers improve their soil health. He says soils are a living factory of macroscopic and microscopic organisms. Providing a good habitat for those organisms improves your soil. Archuleta will demonstrate a simple way to test soils to determine how well they function.

“With a better understanding of the microbial activity in soil, farmers can improve the soil health,” Winger said. “Healthy soils have improved water infiltration rates, reduce fuel, fertilizer and pesticide needs, and resist wind and water erosion.” Winger is one of the speakers at the workshop and will be discussing new technologies in cover crops. Jon Stika, Area Resource Soil Scientist from North Dakota, will present information on basic soil health principles and crop diversity.

For more information contact at 208-378-5730. Along with the NRCS, a host of sponsors are supporting the workshops: the University of Washington Extension Service, Soil and Water Conservation Society, Lewis Soil Conservation District, Clear Water Direct Seeders, Colfax Palouse Direct Seeders, Spokane Direct Seeders, and the Pacific Northwest Direct Seed Association.

Persons requiring accommodation, please notify Alexis Collins at (208) 685-6978 by Friday February 8, 2012.



USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).