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Soil Sense

90 EpisodesProduced by NDSU ExtensionWebsite

Welcome to the Soil Sense Podcast, where we believe that building healthier soils is not just a prescription, but rather a pursuit. This journey requires collaboration, curiosity, and communication among farmers, agricultural researchers, agronomists, consultants, and extension. You’re going to hear… read more


Decades of Soil Health Collaboration

Brad Brummond joined the NDSU extension in 1982 and has been in his current position in Walsh County for 28 years. His body of work allowed him to be the first North Dakotan selected for the County Agricultural Agents Hall of Fame. Brad’s experience and knowledge are invaluable. He joins us today to share some of what he’s learned. Brad has made it his mission to not only get people involved in soil health practices but also to work together in doing so.

“This can be done. This is very doable…..It’s fun. It’s exciting. It gets me up in the morning.” - Brad Brummond

Brad’s career started in organic agriculture in the 1980’s. “Soil health was what we went after from a soil fertility standpoint in organic agriculture,” shares Brad. His own initiative that he has developed and used is called “Save the Five.” It operates under the assumption that there are at least 5 acres of unproductive farmland on most operations. Most often this is caused by sodicity or magnesium imbalances. The goal with “Save the Five” is to sample these areas, create a plan to regain the use of that land.

“You can’t tell them. You have to show them. This is why our demonstration projects were so successful because they could go out and they could see it. We could put a shovel in the ground and we can show them the soil aggregates and the worms. What healthy soil looks like.” - Brad Brummond

Brad found that one of the biggest barriers he needed to overcome was the concern for profitability with soil health practices. He was able to offer farmers interested in the program financial support in the form of money to “buy off the risk.” He wanted finances to not be the obstacle keeping farmers from proving these protocols. One thing he maintains and makes sure farmers understand before taking action is that soil health takes time to build.

“The soils got to where they are over a long period of time and we’re not going to pull them out of it in one or two years….You have to be patient and you have to understand it didn’t get here overnight and it’s not leaving overnight.” - Brad Brummond

Brad takes pride in the collaboration his team has been able to achieve.  He has cultivated a level of trust within Walsh County that brings all kinds of viewpoints and opinions together for healthy discussion.  Groups including NDSU, local producers, the Soil Conservation District and NRCS have come together to discuss different practices and possible outcomes. He encourages other counties to create the same collaborations.

“This can be done ladies and gentleman. Our’s just happened. I think you could do it in a more deliberate manner.” - Brad Drummond

This Week on Soil Sense:

  • Meet Brad Brummond, NDSU Extension in Walsh County
  • Learn what Walsh County has achieved with furthering the soil health discussion
  • Explore the tips and tricks to creating collaborations across many organizations
  • See the benefits of soil health practices on their operations

Connect with Soil Sense:

Soil Sense Podcast is hosted by Tim Hammerich of the Future of Agriculture Podcast.

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