MANNING, N.D. - What’s so great about great soil?

Ask Doug Landblom, beef cattle specialist at NDSU Dickinson Research Extension Center, and he will tell you, “It’s everything.”

Producers, students and others from western North Dakota, eastern Montana and South Dakota, are invited to the free 2019 Soil Health Workshop:  Carbon, Microbial Processes and Soil Health being held at the ranch south of Manning on Thursday, Sept. 12, from 8:35 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (MDT).

What happens when you have soil health? Landblom has a lot of room to talk when he points to such benefits as better crop yields, better steer performance, less inputs, better soil structure, better water infiltration and many other benefits.

DREC’s Integrated Crop, Livestock and Soil study, now in its ninth year (10-year study) at the ranch, found all those soil health results – and more.

“It doesn’t happen overnight. But at the ranch we’re incorporating livestock grazing, cover crops, diverse crops like unharvested grazer corn, along with dual-cropping. By doing all that, we gain a lot of soil benefits for producers, and these benefits have added up over the years,” Landblom said.

While Landblom won’t be speaking directly about the research it is conducting, the workshop is held at the ranch and participants will be able to see the results for themselves.

“We are focusing this workshop on soil health and there will be lots of NRCS participation from state NRCS and local NRCS personnel,” he said. “We’re really excited to host this workshop as students, farmers and ranchers will be able to have a better understanding of soil health and how it can work for them.”

Agenda includes:

8:35 a.m.-8:45 a.m. - Welcome by Chris Schauer, Interim director, DREC.

8:45 a.m.-9:30 a.m. - Importance of mycorrhizal fungi in crop and grazing systems, Dr. Heike Bucking, South Dakota State University soil microbiologist.

10 a.m.-10:15 a.m. - Break

10:15 a.m.-10:45 a.m. – Soil health principles and tabletop slake/Water-holding capacity demo, Hal Weiser, North Dakota State soil health specialist, NRCS.

10:45 a.m.-11:15 a.m. - Soil web soil survey, Jeanne Heilig, Soil Survey Team, USDA NRCS; UC Davis Soil Web app, Hal Weiser, NRCS.

11:15 a.m.-11:30 a.m. – Introduction into soil health indicators, Susan Sampson-Liebig, soil quality specialist, NRCS.

12:15 p.m.-12:30 p.m. – Travel to Section 19

12:30 p.m. -3:30 p.m. Rotating field soil health indicator and soil pit stations:

Station One: Residue, cover, biological decomposition, Doug Landblom, DREC beef cattle specialist.

Station Two: Soil Pit No. 1 - Soil horization, color, texture, John Kempenich, Soil Survey Team, USDA NRCS.

Station Three: Soil aggregates and structure, Jeanne Heilig, Soil Survey Team, USDA NRCS, and Susan Sampson-Liebig, soil quality specialist, NRCS.

Station Four: Soil Pit No. 2 – Roots, pores and structure, Hal Weiser, NRCS state soil health specialist.

Station Five: Biological diversity, bio-pores, compaction, and crusting, Dr. Joshua Steffan, associate professor of soil microbiology, Dickinson State University.

The Soil Health Workshop has become a recognized program that appeals to both university students and farmers and ranchers from central and western North Dakota, South Dakota, and eastern Montana.

Please respond to a number count for the free lunch to Toby Stroh at 701-590-1151 or

Program Sponsors include: Dakota West RC&D, Dacotah Bank, Western Cooperative Credit Union, Dakota Community Bank and Trust, Stockmen’s Livestock Exchange, and Agassiz Seed and Supply, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Dickinson State University, and NDSU-Dickinson RE Center.

To get to the ranch, go through Dickinson on Highway 22; turn onto 15th Street S.W., and travel west 2.8 miles.

To find out more, see

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