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Take steps toward soil health and earn cash

Calling all farmers. Increase your forage supply, save fuel, reduce labor, and improve soil health while getting paid up to $80 per acre … and that’s no empty promise.

The Carlton Soil and Water Conservation District was recently awarded over $14,000 in funding through the state of Minnesota to assist landowners in improving and renovating hayfields or pastures and planting cover crops.

The Carlton SWCD and the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program, in partnership with the University of Minnesota Extension, will hold a joint interseeding and soil health workshop at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 16 at the Barnum Community Center. The workshop is free, but registration is required.

Those attending the workshop will learn how to improve and renovate pasture and hayfields by interseeding. This is a method of adding species diversity to an existing hayfield or pasture by no-till drilling new seed.

Interseeding can be used to extend the life of a forage stand without plowing under and reseeding. Topics will include soil test results and associated fertilizer recommendations, species choice, timing and preparing a field for best results.

Attendees will also learn about incorporating cover crops into a farm. Cover crops have been used by farmers in Minnesota for decades. They provide many benefits, including erosion control, improved fertility and organic material in the soil, improved soil tilth (the physical condition of the soil), increased infiltration and aeration of the soil, and improved overall soil health. Cover crops include species such as brassicas, small grains and annual clovers that provide soil cover when a field would otherwise be left bare.

After attending this workshop, you will be eligible to apply for funds, up to $80 per acre, to assist in interseeding or cover crop planting. The SWCD will even provide its Great Plains no-till drill and Brillion seeder for your use, free.