Soil Health & management

Healthy soils are the foundation of all organic farming systems.  Healthy soils grow healthy plants, to provide healthy food and feed for people and livestock, to help make us (and our world) healthier, too.  We’ll talk about how the physical, chemical, and biological properties of soil interact and how we can use natural systems and management practices to keep our soils as healthy as possible. We’ll cover topics including soil tilth, fertility, nutrient cycling, managing organic matter, and cover crops in this session.  Bring your questions and your willingness to share your experiences. Whether you’re a beginning organic farmer or have lots of experience, we’ll have plenty of opportunities to learn from each other.

Mark Kopecky is the Soils Agronomist for Organic Valley and CROPP Cooperative.  Mark helps cooperative members and other farmers to improve their crop and soil management skills. Following service with the U. S. Marine Corps, he earned his BS and MS degrees in Soil Science from the University of Wisconsin at River Falls and Madison, respectively.  Prior to going to work for Organic Valley in 2012, he worked as a soil scientist with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and as an extension agent for the University of Wisconsin.  As an extension agent, he provided education to farmers and other landowners throughout Wisconsin focusing on crop, soil, and natural resource management.   He and his family operated a small pasture- based dairy farm in northern Wisconsin for over 20 years (now owned and run by his youngest son) and joined Organic Valley as farmer members in 2007. Mark and his wife, Linda Hart, operate a small farm in Fellsmere, Florida where they use organic and permaculture practices to raise pastured poultry.