Tuesday, April 22, 2014

“Soil – It’s Alive!” A Don’t Miss Opportunity

by Van Slack, technician, Muskingum SWCD
Life is full of opportunities, but some of those are once in a lifetime.  On April 28 and 29 Dr Hans Kok will be in Zanesville, Ohio to share his knowledge and experiences with soil.  His presentation will be one of those “don’t miss” opportunities.  The information shared will be useful to anyone who grows a crop or has livestock.  “Soil – It’s Alive”, will be packed full of practical soil management advice.  You will learn the ways that soil health impacts nutrients and crops.

Dr. Kok has over 25 years experience with soils and conservation tillage.  He grew up in the Netherlands and received his Bachelors and Masters in Science from the Agricultural University located there.  He then went on to earn his Ph.D. in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Idaho.  Dr. Kok worked on a joint appointment between Washington State University and the University of Idaho covering conservation tillage and bioenergy.  He also worked as a conservation tillage specialist for Monsanto for seven years and for Kansas State Extension as the State Specialist for Soil and Water Conservation.  Currently Dr. Kok is the coordinator of the Indiana Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative.

Dr. Hans Kok is a very dynamic speaker who is both entertaining and educational.  He has the ability to bring the subject of soil health alive.  Soil health and topics like cover crops are not just buzz words or a fad; they are here to stay.  Nutrient management is a hot topic because of its link to the algae blooms in Lake Erie and Grand Lake St. Marys.  The Ohio Legislature is currently working on legislation to require a licensing program for people who apply fertilizer on more than 50 acres of land.  This presentation will provide an opportunity to gain insight on management practices that impact soil health, economic sustainability, and the environment.

On Monday evening April 28 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Dr Kok will be speaking on Soil Health and Cover Crops.  This presentation will be held at the Rolling Plains United Methodist church located at 3350 Moxahala Park Rd., Zanesville, Ohio.
Tuesday April 29 from 9:00-11:00 a. m. Dr Kok will be covering the topics of 4R Nutrient Management, Soil Health, and Nutrient Cycling.  This presentation will be held at the Rural Services Building, 225 Underwood St., Zanesville, Ohio. 
Tuesday April 29 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. Dr Kok will lead a soil pit investigation, talk about soil biology, conservation tillage, and reducing fertilizer and chemical inputs.  This presentation will be held outside, in the field, at the Kevin and Lance Deal Farm, 6625 Chandlersville Rd., Chandlersville, Ohio.  Dress for the weather.

This event is made possible in part by a nutrient reduction grant from the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission.  It is also sponsored by the Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Muskingum, Guernsey, Perry, and Morgan Counties as well as by OSU Extension Muskingum County.
Soil-It’s Alive is a free program but registration is required.  To register or to receive more information, about this program, contact the Muskingum SWCD at 740-454-2027.  Don’t miss this great opportunity to gain important knowledge that could impact your bottom line or increase the production of your garden in the backyard.

The Soil Science Society of America says soil is an amazing substance. It is a complex mix of minerals, air, and water, soil also teems with countless micro-organisms, and the decaying remains of once-living things. Soil is made of life and soil makes life. To the farmer, soil is where crops grow.  To the engineer, soil is a foundation upon which to build.  To the ecologist, soil supports communities of living things.  To the archaeologist, soil holds clues to past cultures.  To the city dweller, soil nurtures grass and gardens.  To the soil scientist, soil is all of these things.  Soil has been called "the skin of the earth" because it is the thin outermost layer of the Earth's crust.  Like our own skin, we can't live without healthy soil.

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