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Annual conference to teach Kansas farmers about soil health goes virtual



Kansas – After planning for their usual 700-person conference, No-Till on the Plains realized they must go virtual this year.

Instead of the comradery and more than one dozen speakers, the conference features three authorities on regenerative farming at the 25th Annual No-till on the Plains Winter Conference on Jan. 26.

“We’re going to make farmers think about how they can produce crops a little differently,” said Steve Swaffar, executive director of No-Till on the Plains.

No-till on the Plains is a nonprofit educational organization that provides information for producers to adopt high-quality, continuous no-till systems and information on soil health.

Swaffar understands the one-on-one intimacy present in in-person conferences will not be available this year, but he thinks the three speakers will challenge his audience and make them think about producing healthy soils.

This all-day event features Darin Qualman, who will speak about trucking, energy, farming and the future; Chris Teachout, a fifth-generation Iowa farmer who practices regenerative farming, and John Kempf, who will speak about replacing chemical compounds with biological ones.

Qualman is the author of the 2019 report “Tackling the Farm Crisis and the Climate Crisis” and his book, “Civilization Critical: Energy, Food, Nature, and the Future.”

Kempf, who offers a wealth of information on making plants healthy from the bottom up, attended last year’s conference. He will speak about how most nutrient deficiencies are created by overapplication.

“John is extremely popular,” Swaffar said. “(This year) he will focus on the biology of nutrients in the growth cycle of a plant.”

Swaffar said it is always important to have someone who runs his own farm and practices the techniques at the conference. Teachout has practiced regenerative farming for 25 years on his 1,800-acre farm.

“He will speak about how his soils have evolved as he has put these principles into play,” Swaffar said. “The five soil health principles work wherever you are.”