Wildlife Habitat and Soil Health Management Day
December 15, 2022 @ 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
The Kansas Soil Health Alliance along with partners Green Cover, Ward Laboratories, Kansas WRAPS, Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever, National Deer Association, and Noble Research Institute are hosting a Wildlife Habitat and Soil Health Management Workshop on Thursday, December 15th from 8 AM – 4 PM in the Hubbard Welcome Center at Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas.
The day will feature keynote speaker Dr. Grant Woods. Drawing from his experiences as an avid hunter raised in the Ozark Mountains and his formal education and research, Dr. Woods has developed a specialty in habitat improvement and hunting techniques. For the past 10 years, he has produced GrowingDeer, a weekly, year-round show to assist hunters with hunting strategies and habitat management. Dr. Woods has formed relationships with two of the workshop’s primary sponsors, Green Cover and Ward Laboratories, to further his enhance his work. During his morning and afternoon presentations, he will share how he is using soil health practices to improve his rocky, shallow Ozark Mountain soils to improve forage production and wildlife habitat.
Registration and light breakfast begin at 8:00 with the program beginning at 8:30. The day will include many speakers, breaks to visit booths, a hot lunch, and drawings for prize giveaways.
$25 registration through December 1st, $35 fee after.
Kansas Soil Health Alliance
Soil Pro Seeds
Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever
National Deer Association
Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks – Habitat First Program
WRAPS – Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy
Dr. Grant Woods – GrowingDeer, Branson, MO
For 20+ years Grant has been using a no-till drill to plant food plots in the rocky and shallow soil of the Ozark Mountains near Branson, Missouri. After a period of trial and error, Grant improved the techniques and achieved significant improvements in the soil health. As the soil improved, so did the forage production and quality as well as the wildlife populations. The Proving Grounds, as Grant calls his property, changed from a very over-grazed cattle ranch to a nationally known standard of quality wildlife habitat and wildlife populations.
Darin Williams – D & N Ag Farms, Waverly, KS
Using Large Scale Food Plots to Improve Soil Health and Build Relationships Between Wildlife Habitat Management and Production Agriculture
D & N Ag Farms LLC features Holistic Management practices to reflect nature’s image and to solve problems in a more natural way. Holistic Management practices on the farm include no-till farming, a diverse cropping strategy, and managed livestock grazing of cover crops—all of which improve the health and function of the soil—a key operational goal.
Diverse cash crops, including non-GMO soybean seed, food-grade corn, food-grade clear hilum soybeans, barley, cereal rye, triticale, sunflowers, and oats are grown on the farm. All livestock are free-range, and beef and lamb are raised on all-natural food sources of grass and diverse cover crop vegetation.
By implementing farming and ranching practices and principles that regenerate the health and function of the soil, the Williams have reduced the use of synthetic fertilizers, and eliminated fungicides and pesticides—all of which have reduce production input costs. In addition, non-GMO crop seed is used exclusively on the farm.
In addition to being members of the Kansas City Food Circle, Darin and Nancy received the Conservation & Energy Award in 2014 and have been featured in the John Deer Journal and The New York Times for their commitment to soil health-improving regenerative agriculture.
Steve Swaffar – Noble Research Institute, Ardmore, OK
The Connection Between Soil Health and Upland Bird Habitat
Steve Swaffar serves as an agriculture consultant in the producer relations program for the Noble Research Institute. He works with producers to understand and improve their soils and grazing operations. Steve joined Noble in December of 2021 after serving as executive director of the non-profit No-till on the Plains. Prior to that Steve was the Natural Resources and State Governmental Relations Director for the Kansas Farm Bureau. Steve has bird hunted since he was a young boy on his grandparent’s farm in northern Oklahoma. Now he enjoys chasing birds with his son, his English setters and Labradors.
Keith Berns – Green Cover, Bladen, NE
We have a problem! Tying BioGraces to soil health to create solutions.
Keith Berns combines over 20 years of no-till farming with 10 years of teaching Agriculture and Computers. In addition to no-tilling 2,000 acres of irrigated and dryland corn, soybeans, rye, triticale, peas, sunflowers, and buckwheat in South Central Nebraska, he also co-owns and operates Green Cover Seed, one of the major cover crop seed providers and educators in the United States. Through Green Cover Seed, Keith has experimented with over 100 different cover crop types and hundreds of mixes planted into various situations and has learned a great deal about cover crop growth, nitrogen fixation, moisture usage, and grazing utilization of cover crops. Keith was honored by the White House as a 2016 Champion of Change for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agriculture. Keith also developed the SmartMix CalculatorTM one of the most widely used cover crop selection tools on the internet Keith has a Masters Degree in Agricultural Education from the University of Nebraska and teaches on cover crops and soil health more than 30 times per year to various groups and audiences. Keith also was appointed by Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts to be part of the Nebraska Healthy Soils Task Force and had the privilege of serving as the chairman.