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DIRT Workshop slated for Fargo, North Dakota, December 9-11

The Dakota Innovation, Research, and Technology (DIRT) Workshop will cover the latest in soil health tools and techniques.

Farmers wanting to know the latest in soil health tools and techniques should mark their calendars for December 9-11 in Fargo, North Dakota. Registration has started for the Dakota Innovation, Research, and Technology (DIRT) workshop that will be held at the Fargo Delta by Marriott.

The event will include farmers and scientists talking about areas, including:

• Cover crops 

• Soil health systems and reduced tillage 

• Intercropping 

• Precision agriculture and fertility 

• Salt-affected soil management 


The DIRT workshop will kick off on the evening of December 9 with a Farmer Show-and-Tell hosted by Tim Hammerich, who heads the Future of Agriculture Podcast and North Dakota’s Soil Sense Podcast. This event – complete with food and a cash bar – will give attendees an opportunity to share techniques they’ve tried on their own farms. It needn’t even be something that worked; it can be something that almost worked where a valuable lesson was learned, says Abbey Wick, North Dakota State University Extension soil health specialist. She says this event is meant to be a creative brainstorming time to spark ideas and conversations throughout the DIRT workshop. Preregistration check-in is also available from 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and during this informal social event.

December 10 kicks off with a keynote by Lee Briese, a Centrol crop consultant, on why details matter when adopting new soil health building approaches and when refining current practices. Briese will get farmers ready to critically think about how to apply information to their farms. Breakout sessions follow the rest of the morning. Sessions specific to livestock start at 11 a.m. and go through the evening.

Breakout sessions continue in the afternoon, followed by small-group discussions modeled after Café Talks that Wick has successfully used in North Dakota to convey soil health techniques. One of the Café Talks will feature Bill Spiegel, Successful Farming magazine crops editor, and Nick Toussaint, a Wahpeton, North Dakota, farmer, discussing what’s known about cover crops in sunflowers.

Breakout, demonstrations, panel session, and Café Talk discussion groups continue on December 11. Briese will then close out the conference. Serving as a trusted adviser on over a million acres, Wick says Briese has a good idea of how to pull pieces of information together so it can be applied on-farm.

“He says it best: 'There is no one-size-fits-all for anybody,’” says Wick.

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