MERIT OR MYTH?
From the USDA NRCS SOUTH DAKOTA

In Season 1 of Merit or Myth, we discussed the issue of no-till in the context of residue management, soil water (mainly infiltration), soil temperature, weeds and economics. In reality, a companion between no-till an conventional till system is very difficult to compare is one only looks at one factor (e.g., residue). When we spoke to Dr. Randy Anderson (ARS, Brookins), he spoke of the systems synergy effect where if one stacked one practice on another (e.g., no-till, diverse rotations, cover crops), the sum of the good effects were actually greater than the individual parts.

In our second Merit or Myth season we will try to look at whole systems, first by speaking to practitioners (e.g., NRCS’s Jeff Hemenway) and researchers (e.g., Dr. Mike Lehman from Brookings ARS) who will apply the science and demonstrate that soils are living dynamic ecosystems (as opposed to a medium to grow plants). We will also be speaking to farmers who mimic nature though multiple tools that include no-till, cover crops, diverse rotations, and the use of animals in the system – we’ll tap into their knowledge and experience based on what they see and how they have been able to innovate.

In our previous video, Research Microbiologist Dr. Mike Lehman described soil microbes in healthy soils as a “division of labor.” This “division of labor” is extensive and, when cultivated through regenerative practices, works alongside the farmer. 

In our third and final video, Dr. Lehman takes it a step further and shows us that these microbes aren’t just laborers, but are actually an active community that interact, communicate, and recycle plant nutrients. The end result? You guessed it: HEALTHY CROPS!

 

Merit or Myth‘s mission is to engage with SD farmers, researchers, and conservationists to gain a better understanding of healthy, functioning soils.

Learn more about managing soil at http://www.MeritorMyth.com or visit the Soil Health Information Center at https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/soils/health/    or SD Soil Health Coalition Website https://www.sdsoilhealthcoalition.org/

WE HAVE TWO VERY IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS!

TREE PICK-UP AVAILABLE

Friday 5/11/18 — 8am to 6pm
Monday 5/14/18 — 4pm to 6pm
Tuesday 5/15/18 — 4pm to 6pm

Pick-up is available at the shed — 1120 E 72nd St N, Sioux Falls, SD 57104 (two miles south of the Renner corner, or 3/4 mile north of I-90 and Cliff on the west side of the road)

EMERALD ASH BORER CONFIRMED IN SOUTH DAKOTA

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) has confirmed that an infestation of emerald ash borer (EAB) has been discovered in northern Sioux Falls. This is the first confirmed infestation in South Dakota. Emerald ash borer is an invasive insect that has killed tens of millions of ash trees in at least 32 states.

On May 9, 2018, Secretary Mike Jaspers implemented an Emergency Plant Pest Quarantine in order to prevent or reduce the spread of the EAB. This emergency quarantine is effective immediately.

The quarantine restricts the movement of ash materials in all of Minnehaha County, in areas north of Highway 18 in Lincoln County and north of Highway 18 and east of Highway 19 in Turner County, unless accompanied by the appropriate authorization from the SDDA. These regulated ash materials include: ash nursery stock; ash logs, lumber, wood chips or mulch, including trimmed ash tree branches; and pallets made out of ash. Movement of firewood from any hardwood species, whether intended for commercial or private use, is also restricted within the quarantine area.

Ash trees within the quarantine area should not be pruned or removed unless absolutely necessary until after Labor Day to prevent spread of EAB. As a precautionary measure, people with ash trees in good condition within the quarantine area who want to save those trees should consider treating them now. Treatment information, as well as more information on EAB and response efforts, can be found by visiting emeraldashborerinsouthdakota.sd.gov the SDDA’s dedicated EAB webpage.

The SDDA is hosting EAB information forums on Thursday, May 10, at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 12 at 1 p.m. at the Game, Fish and Parks Outdoor Campus located at 4500 South Oxbow Avenue in Sioux Falls. These forums will provide important information for residents in the quarantine area on EAB and current efforts to limit its spread. Dr. John Ball, Forest Health Specialist for the SDDA and SDSU Extension Forester, as well as officials from the SDDA and the City of Sioux Falls, will present information and answer questions.

Agriculture is a major contributor to South Dakota’s economy, generating $25.6 billion in annual economic activity and employing over 115,000 South Dakotans. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture’s mission is to promote, protect and preserve South Dakota agriculture for today and tomorrow. Visit us online at http://sdda.sd.gov or find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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THE GEVIK LEARNING AREA HAS BEEN REOPENED!

Just in time for the beautiful weather we’ve got in the forecast! Get outside and take a stroll along our trailways. Enjoy the wildlife and songs of the birds. Take a meditative walk and breathe in the fresh air. The Gevik site is a great place to relax and find balance physically, emotionally, and spiritually!

The Gevik Learning Area is 1/2 mile west of Wall Lake, or 1/4 mile north of the intersection of 266th Street and 462nd Avenue, about eight miles west of Sioux Falls.


(Photo Credit: Mick Zerr)

 

THREE NEW PROFILES IN SOIL HEALTH

The first video is about Jeremy Smith and Trish Jenkins who own Cycle Farm, a small, diversified mixed vegetable farm located in the heart of Spearfish Valley, in the northern Black Hills of South Dakota. They grow over 40 different crop types and focus their farm management for healthy, resilient soil.

 

Second is a story about Kurt and Kathy Stiefvater of Salem, SD, as they share their inspiring soil health story. They cover everything from infiltration and cover crops, to economics, sustainability, and much more. Kurt and Kathy are hosting SD Soil Health Coalition’s 2018 Soil Health School September 5-7.

 

And the third video is about the Jordan and Sarah Reimnitz family. Jordan says, “The purpose for me for cover crops was water management, erosion, and overall soil health; to improve those that keep the living. If I can keep the living cover out there all year, whether it’s a cash crop or a cover, I would. With our farming practices, the soil structure is so much better. We know that there are many living things down there, and when you go out in our fields and dig with the living cover, the soil just looks alive.”

These Soil Health stories were produced during 2017 through an agreement of the SD Soil Health Coalition with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and South Dakota’s Conservation Districts. For more information, please visit their website at https://www.sdsoilhealthcoalition.org/.

PUBLIC SAFETY ANNOUNCEMENT

We regret to inform you that due to the freezing, snow, and winter debris, we will have to close the Gevik Learning Area for safety reasons. We will post a notice to let you know when it’s open again. Also, we will be installing new signs on the trails, hopefully in the next two or three weeks. We’re all anxious to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. Hopefully the weather will be more cooperative in May, and your experience at the Gevik Learning Area, with the new signs and clean up, will be more enjoyable than ever!

Thank you for telling your friends and helping us get the word out. We want everyone to be safe and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

THINK SPRING!
(Photo Credit: Mick Zerr)

We received SUCH a nice note from a local teacher and her students, and wanted to share it with everybody:

“I wanted to send MCD some positive feedback- I was teaching an environmental science lesson to some elementary students this past weekend, and when they were doing a conservation webquest they ended up on your webpage (this page here https://minnehahacd.org/partners) They thought I should tell you we were using the links there and found some great information so thanks 🙂

They also decided it would be nice of us to return the favor, so I had them pick out a good conservation page for us to share with you!

“Home Science: Backyard Conservation” – https://www.homeadvisor.com/r/home-science-backyard-conservation/

It has lots of great information for kids on conservation so they thought it’d be a helpful link for you to add to the page they found… would you be able to? They’d be so proud and I’d love to show them their suggestion 🙂 Thanks so much and have a wonderful day!!

Sincerely,
Ms. Ainsworth & Lauren, Jordan, Taylor, and Jacob”

THANK YOU, Lauren, Jordan, Taylor, Jacob, and Ms. Ainsworth! We have added your suggested link and very much appreciate the help you have offered! We would also like to make you aware of one of our projects where all of you could experience conservation and nature firsthand as you walk in a natural prairie setting. The Gevik Site has much to teach students of every age. It’s free and open to the public. Please visit https://minnehahacd.org/gevik-learning-area/ for directions to the learning area and a map. There are walking trails and interpretive signs to explain what you’re seeing. If you are able to go there, we would welcome your feedback and if you take any pictures, please send them to us so we can include them on our website too. Again, we’re glad you found our website, and thank you very much for your valuable contribution!

SAVE THE DATES!

We have a TON of great events coming up all the way through next January! CLICK HERE to view / download / print the schedule. Looking forward to seeing everybody there!