While no-till and cover crops are slowly gaining popularity in the area, the Olson operation has been pursuing their practices for 17 years. As though that doesn’t make their operation unique enough, Kari Olson is a young female farmer who got the opportunity to farm her own ground early on shortly after graduation. While some have underestimated her abilities she has proven herself and continues to expand and learn all she can from her dad as he transitions the family land to her charge.
Kari has participated in the cafe talks with Dr. Abbey Wick. Because of those discussions she went on to explore different cover crop species, techniques and even saved some of her rye for seed to reduce the risk of added weed populations. She has also recently hired someone to manage cattle grazing her cover crops to enhance the soil health of her fields and increase their organic material.
“We've been soil testing every third year and, you know, watching the rates of nutrients and they’re staying up there. We still have to fertilize, but we're starting to cut back on that. Organic matter isn't decreasing anymore. It's starting to slowly increase.” - Kari Olson
One problem she is trying to mitigate is the temperature of her soils which caused her corn emergence to be off. She attributes this to the residue remaining on the surface and blocking sun exposure. New equipment and new cover crops are all on the horizon to manage this issue.
While she feels they haven’t achieved all the potential they will with their soil health, she has noticed a difference in the soil structure. She found the fields much more consistent and easier to manage. Kari hopes to not only preserve the ground she has been trusted with but to continue to improve it so that future generations will have the opportunities that she was able to find and take advantage of.
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