Soil-health leader to speak near Austin this weekend

Published 4:34 pm Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Leaders in the regenerative agriculture movement will speak at a free field day Friday on a farm just outside of Austin as part of ongoing efforts to raise awareness for soil-health practices.

Gabe Brown, an internationally known soil-health speaker, will join Austin Township farmer Tom Cotter for the regenerative farming event from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Cotter farm, just west of Austin, at 50203 205th St. Lunch will be provided at the field day.

The next day, Saturday, the Cotter Farm then will host the second annual Hemp & Food Health Day on a Regenerative Farm from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. This free event will include lunch and a beer social.

Both events require registration that is requested to be done by Wednesday, Sept. 14, to reserve a spot for either or both events. Sponsors for both events are the Minnesota Soil Health Coalition, Superior Cannabis Company, Mower Soil & Water Conservation District and the Land Stewardship Project.

During Friday’s event, Brown and Cotter will lead a walking tour of the cotter farm, focusing on increasing return-on-investment (ROI), fertilizers savings, residue management and soil-health assessments.

A hands-on discussion of varied regenerative solutions that have proven successful in building healthy soil for nutrient-dense production; sequestering carbon; filtering and storing water; stopping erosion; and keeping soil temperature cool to maintain a healthy micro-biome for a sound water cycle.

Brown owns and operates Brown’s Ranch near Bismarck, North Dakota, with his wife, Shelly, and son, Paul. This diversified 5,000-acre farm and ranch consists of several thousand acres of native perennial rangeland with perennial pastureland and cropland.

The Browns holistically integrate their grazing and no-till cropping systems that include a wide variety of cash crops and multi-species cover crops as well as all grass-finished beef and lamb. They also raise pastured laying hens, broilers and swine.

This diversity and integration has regenerated the ranch’s natural resources without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides. More than 2,000 people across the nation and overseas annually visit the Browns’ operation.

Cotter, a 2016 Outstanding Conservationist for Mower County, is a regional leader in farming with regenerative practices that build soil health. He produces organic hemp, soybeans and corn as well as rotationally grazed livestock.

At Saturday’s hemp event, organizers will focus on local foods, community engagement and autonomy around food health. There will be demonstrations and talks by local experts as well as farm tours and presentations.

During the event, attendees can talk with a nutritionist, natural-foods chef, backyard gardeners, canning experts, hemp growers and regenerative farmers. Topics will include growing and eating healthy foods and the benefits of hemp for the environment and humans.

To register for Friday’s event with Gabe Brown, go online at:  http://bit.ly/3JTs8Ah

To register for Saturday’s “Hemp & Food Health Day,” go online at: https://bit.ly/3JUCUGQ  You also can register at the Superior Cannabis Company store at 125 North Main St.

For help registering for either event, contact the Minnesota Soil Health Coalition’s Mark Gutierrez at 1-505-980-1360 or mark@mnsoilhealth.org.