December 7, 2016

OSCD honors exemplary conservation practices

By Annette Tait
A virtual tour of South Africa with NRCS Soil Health Specialist Jay Fuhrer was a highlight for attendees at this year’s Oliver Soil Conservation District annual recognition banquet. Fuhrer recently traveled to South Africa with his wife, Kathy, at the invitation of a group of South African farmers he met when the group toured the Menoken Farm operated by the Burleigh County Soil Conservation District. The farmers were visiting the U.S. to learn more about soil health, and learned about cover crops from Jay during their visit to the Menoken Farm.
“[The invitation read] ‘We’ve used cover crops for two years and wondered if you would like to see what happened’,” Jay said. “There was no explanation as to whether cover crops were working or not.”
During their visit, Jay and Kathy stayed in several private homes. Most were built of sandstone with thatched roofs. He noted that the climate rarely freezes, allowing for a 12-month growing season.
The growing season also provides for some dramatic changes in soil. Jay explained that, during the tour they would dig soils from field without cover crops, where the soil was a light red. He explained that those were “old soils,” and that iron is one of the last minerals to leach out.
 


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