Identify next steps to improve your land and operation this summer. Gary Zimmer and Leilani Zimmer-Durand, owners of the Otter Creek Organic Farm, founders of Zimmer Ag and authors of The Biological Farmer, will lead practical, farmer-driven workshops during the two-day educational On-Farm Intensive event this July 19-20.
You will return to your farm and be able to apply tactics immediately around:
- balancing soil through natural inputs and systems,
- storing carbon with cover crops,
- tilling smartly to ensure nutrient availability,
- managing water efficiently,
- planting strategic companion crops,
- implementing permaculture tactics, and
- building cooperation with neighbors.
You can view the full agenda here, but here’s a sneak peak of what exactly you’ll learn in these focused sessions on biological farming, cover crops and soil tests.
Focus: Introduction to Biological Farming
What is biological farming? We’ll cover the six principles of biological farming practices that will help you on a path toward rebuilding your soils, including building soil biology, managing carbon in your soils, balancing soil minerals, the role of key minerals in building soil health, finding the best tillage practices to build loose, crumbly soils, the role of plant diversity for soil health and how to add diversity to your farm.
Focus: Cover Crops and Short Rotations
One thing you will find on the Otter Creek Organic Farm: cover crops, short rotations and a purpose for every field. As you walk the properties and experience hands-on learning, Gary and Leilani will talk about the role of different types of cover crops, the practical aspects of managing cover crops in your crop rotation, and dig in the soil to look at some of the improvements on this farm’s soils from adding a diversity of cover crops.
Focus: Haney Soil Test
The Haney soil test is a way to measure your soil health, but what does it really tell you? We’ll look at a series of Haney tests taken at the farm this spring and summer and talk about what those results are showing us. Can we tell from just looking at the soil which fields did better on the Haney test? How much does temperature and moisture influence our test results? When is the best time for you to use Haney tests on your farm, and what should your goal be when using this tool?