The first regional Colorado Soil Health event put on by the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Colorado STAR program took place in Monte Vista on Saturday, August 13. Primarily in attendance were farmers and ranchers, who spent the day focused on the essential nature of soil health and soil health management.
After a welcome from Cindy Lair with the Colorado Department of Agriculture was a brief talk from Senator Cleave Simpson, a Colorado Republican who is a fourth-generation San Luis Valley farmer and rancher, as well as general manager of the Rio Grande Water Conservation District.
Attendees also were given the option to go on one of two local farm tours: Elliott Farms in Monte Vista, and San Juan Ranch near Saguache.
Following Valdez was Colorado State University’s Gene Kelly, who is a professor of pedology, as well as Deputy Director of the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station, and Associate Director for Research in the School of Global Environmental Sustainability.
The keynote presentation was given by Oklahoma farmer Jimmy Emmons, who showed the benefits of cover crops and soil health on his farm and others. “Changing the soil has changed our lives,” he said.
The educational presentations finished up with a farmer panel discussion on “Perspectives on Soil Health.” Participants included George Whitten, Kyler Brown, Brice Custer, Lyle Nissen and Jimmy Emmons, with Patrick Neil as moderator.
The event wrapped with a thank you from Cindy Lair and a final overview of the STAR program from Ground Up Consulting’s Max Neumeyer.