Welcome to the Soil Sense Podcast

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 their stories and discover how and why they’re working together to make sense out of what’s happening in the soil.

– Tim Hammerich, Future of Agriculture Podcast Host

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Season 1

Episodes - 1-16

Season 2

Episodes 1-15

Season 3 Episodes

Episodes 1-15

Season 4 Episodes

Episodes 1-15

Season 5 Episodes

Episode 7 – Disease Management with Andrew Friskop, Ph.D.

 

Disease Management with Andrew Friskop, Ph.D.

 

This episode focuses on a topic that we haven’t talked about too much before: disease management. Specifically, we’re talking about a couple of diseases in corn and in small grains to be aware of, challenges with fungicide resistance, how soil health practices affect disease management, and what it looks like to take an integrated pest management approach to these diseases.

 

Dr. Andrew Friskop, cereal crop extension plant pathologist at North Dakota State University, joins us to discuss his research in disease management strategies for North Dakota producers. He says he’s always looking at both what the research says and what’s executable on the farm level. To accomplish this he partners with farmers and other regional research extension centers around the state to plant test plots every year.

 

“There’s never a one size fits all approach, but be aware of what you’re worried about during the season and put as many tools as you can in place to make it work.” – Dr. Andrew Friskop

 

Crop rotation and genetic resistance are the initial steps Dr Friskop suggests to mitigate disease risk. Besides Goss’s wilt, he recommends monitoring for evidence of tar spot. Fortunately it is currently not present in North Dakota but could be soon and needs to be scouted for. Ongoing research is working to provide best management practices for targeting this Tar Spot fungal concern. This emerging disease highlights the concern researchers and producers alike have for chemical resistance in regards to disease management.

 

“When you get a pest out there and you start using the same crop protection product on it for several years or decades, you’re going to be able to start selecting for some of those resistant populations.” -Dr. Andrew Friskop

 

This Week on Soil Sense:

  • Meet Andrew Friskop, cereal crop extension plant pathologist at North Dakota State University
  • Learn how to identify the threshold for instigating disease management practices
  • Explore what it means to take an integrated approach to field disease management and where Dr. Friskop recommends starting your efforts as a producer

 

 

Connect with Soil Sense

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

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Episode 6 – A Practical Approach to Soil Health with Mark Huso and Scott Huso

 

“A Practical Approach to Soil Health with Mark Huso and Scott Huso”

 

In this episode we are joined by two brothers from Northeast North Dakota who have each been on their own soil health journeys while supporting and pushing each other to keep getting better in farming and agronomy. Scott Huso farms with his wife Elizabeth south of Aneta, North Dakota. Mark Huso is the owner of Huso Crop Consulting where he works with and consults for many different types of farms across Northeast North Dakota. The Husos come from a farming background, but didn’t inherit the family farm, which was sold in the 1980s.

 

Together they share their soil health journeys, how they are staying true to principles but not necessarily individual practices and how they are constantly pushing each other to explore different ways to maximize both productivity and soil health. Neither Scott or Mark are really dogmatic about no-till. “I am all about soil health. I’m not all about no-till,” shares Mark. They are fully committed to soil health, but also recognize that they need to use every tool at their disposal to produce a good crop no matter what mother nature sends their way. For Scott, soil health is about increasing infiltration and building soil biology.

 

“We’re trying to increase the pockets in the soil that have air because they need to be there to allow water to flow through rather than holding the water up. And then we’re trying to get more microorganism activity to create these pathways and whatnot. What we’re also trying to do is place the fertilizer where the crop is going to get it. And so rather than spreading it all over, it makes a lot more sense to put it where the crop needs it.” -Scott Huso

 

This practical approach takes into consideration what can be done when something happens and a particular practice is not the right thing for those conditions. Because as Mark says, you just can’t ignore the logistics of it all. While these logistics can often impact the individual practices, it doesn’t change the principles.

 

“So much of what we’re trying to provide answers for with farmers is pick variety A over variety B or pick this fertilizer over that fertilizer. And truthfully some of the biggest yield advantages happen simply from mechanics, from row spacing, from tillage, and from different drill types.” – Mark Huso

 

This Week on Soil Sense:

  • Meet farmer Scott Huso and agronomist Mark Huso from Northeast North Dakota
  • Discover their journey into soil health practices and their approach to implementing new techniques to maximize yield
  • Follow Mark @husocrop and Scott @scotthsuo on twitter

 

Connect with Soil Sense

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

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Episode 5 – Engaging Food and Beverage Companies with Elizabeth Reaves

 

One thing we try to stress on this show is that your soil health journey is going to look different from others based on your goals. Those goals may include trafficability, weed suppression, water infiltration, livestock integration or a whole host of other potential and very worthwhile goals.

 

Keeping these goals at the forefront of your mind is helpful in determining which practices may be right for you. It’s also nice to see incentives popping up from government, organizations, and companies to help assist farmers in building healthier soils. While these incentives shouldn’t take the place of the goals you have for your farm, they can help de-risk the process of pursuing more soil health building practices. Today’s guest works with large food and beverage companies that want to do their part to improve the soil of the farmers that produce their raw ingredients.

 

Elizabeth Reaves is the Senior Program Director for Agriculture and Environment at the Sustainable Food Lab. She works with large multinational food and beverage companies to help connect the commitments they’ve made to climate, regenerative agriculture and/or alleviating poverty in their supply chains to direct investment on the ground with farmers. She shares insights into how they’re viewing soil health and what approaches they’re taking to support farmers on this journey.

 

“The place that we most often like to start is taking our company partners to visit farmers in a particular place. And those are often some of the most powerful learning experiences because they get to have a real conversation with farmers and they get to not just hear what the farmers’ challenges are, but also what farmers have already done and tried and what they’re testing and innovating.” -Elizabeth Reaves

 

Hosting stakeholders on the farm “are often the most transformative moments for our companies in terms of really understanding….the things that we need to provide in terms of program support” to producers. For all of the talk about soil health, it’s so incredibly vital that the people who are offering incentives and voicing their opinions and visions have those grounded in what’s actually executable at the farm level. For Elizabeth and the Food Lab, they need to take these teachable moments and convert them into both short term and long term outcomes.

 

“What we know doesn’t work is pushing a set of standards. And I think most of the companies, at least the ones that I work with, really want to figure out how to pull a whole system to change at scale. So I’m really optimistic that through partnerships, between companies, with organizations like NDSU, the farmer networks that they’re building and the farmers that they can reach, that we actually start to see some of that real tide change.” – Elizabeth Reaves

 

 

This Week on Soil Sense:

  • Meet Elizabeth Reaves, the Senior Program Director for Agriculture and Environment at the Sustainable Food Lab
  • Explore the different tactics the Food Lab uses to bridge the gap between corporate partners and producers in the name of sustainable agriculture
  • Discover the initiatives and efforts taken by the Sustainable Food Lab to support producers in regenerative and socially conscious food production

 

Connect with Soil Sense

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

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Episode 4 – Weed Management and Soil Health

 

In this episode we dive into the economics of carbon credits. Specifically, how should farmers approach the emerging markets that are popping up for carbon offsets and credits. We are joined by Dave Archer, an agricultural economist at the Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory. His specific research interests include risk management, simulation modeling, decision aid development, bioenergy economics, and decision making to achieve both economic and natural resource goals.

 

Dave is going to answer some of the most asked questions about these carbon markets, such as:

  • What questions should a farmer be asking before they get involved with one?
  • Why are they not willing to compensate for the previous decades of soil health building practices?
  • How should this influence farm management decisions?

 

Dave highlights three important components in this discussion: additionality, permanence, and pricing.

 

“The value of these credits goes up and down and will continue to go up and down. So it’s important to understand how those price changes are handled in any contract, whether you can get the benefits of any price increases or whether you have losses with price decreases.” – Dave Archer, Ph.D.

 

While these carbon programs can be great incentives to try soil health building practices, Dave says it’s important to keep them in perspective and consider first and foremost how incorporating new practices will impact the bottom line. As an added benefit, practices that build soil health and sequester carbon can also be more profitable over time.

 

“I think the most important thing is just understanding the system impacts. If you’re thinking about adopting practices that may build carbon, there are potential economic benefits associated with that. Carbon credits and carbon markets may be a way to get additional incentives and help you make that change.” – Dave Archer, Ph.D.

 

Watch the Capturing Carbon Workshop Here!

 

This Week on Soil Sense:

  • Meet Dave Archer, an agricultural economist at the Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory
  • Explore the economic impacts of the carbon credits market for producers
  • Discover the questions producers need to ask and the answers they need to understand before pursuing a contract based on carbon credits

 

Connect with Soil Sense

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

We’re very lucky to have on the show two well-respected agronomic experts to talk about current weed management challenges. They share with us the weeds that have been the most difficult to manage, how high prices and supply chain challenges are impacting the tools farmers have at their disposal, and what the future of weed control looks like.

 

Joining me today are Joe Ikely, extension weed specialist at North Dakota State University, and Jason Hanson, owner and operator of Rock N Roll Agronomy. Joe’s work includes both extension and research in weed control with an emphasis on corn soybeans and dry beans. Jason is an independent crop consultant working directly with farmers as well as consulting with ag retailers on a contract basis.

 

“Kochia, that’s definitely from my perspective, the top weed issue of this year….kind of a reminder for those who haven’t had to battle kochia for a while, that once we get dry conditions, there’s still plenty of plants around producing seeds, spreading them around.” – Joe Ikely

 

What makes Kochia unique is the ability to develop an “aggressive root system” that will reach and take advantage of any moisture available. When the climate is dry, the crops struggle to compete with that root system. Compounding the issue for producers is herbicide resistance limiting the efficacy of inputs. These factors have impacted farming practices this year and are expected to continue next year.

 

“Now I’ve got a higher (kochia) population. There’s definitely more kochia that has been cut, harvested and is rolling and tumbling around the countryside on some of our windy days. So we’ll definitely have more pressure to deal with in 2022.” – Jason Hanson

 

 

This Week on Soil Sense:

  • Meet Joe Ikely, extension weed specialist at North Dakota State University, and Jason Hanson, owner and operator of Rock N Roll Agronomy
  • Discover the most significant weed pressure exhibited in 2021 and how that may affect weed management in 2022
  • Explore the many factors affecting weed populations in North Dakota and the mitigating practices producers can adopt
  • Hear more from Jason on the podcast “Agronomist Happy Hour
  • Follow Joe Ikely at the “War Against Weeds” podcast

 

Connect with Soil Sense

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

Listen Now!

Episode 3 – Carbon Economics with Dr. David Archer

 

In this episode we dive into the economics of carbon credits. Specifically, how should farmers approach the emerging markets that are popping up for carbon offsets and credits. We are joined by Dave Archer, an agricultural economist at the Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory. His specific research interests include risk management, simulation modeling, decision aid development, bioenergy economics, and decision making to achieve both economic and natural resource goals.

 

Dave is going to answer some of the most asked questions about these carbon markets, such as:

  • What questions should a farmer be asking before they get involved with one?
  • Why are they not willing to compensate for the previous decades of soil health building practices?
  • How should this influence farm management decisions?

 

Dave highlights three important components in this discussion: additionality, permanence, and pricing.

 

“The value of these credits goes up and down and will continue to go up and down. So it’s important to understand how those price changes are handled in any contract, whether you can get the benefits of any price increases or whether you have losses with price decreases.” – Dave Archer, Ph.D.

 

While these carbon programs can be great incentives to try soil health building practices, Dave says it’s important to keep them in perspective and consider first and foremost how incorporating new practices will impact the bottom line. As an added benefit, practices that build soil health and sequester carbon can also be more profitable over time.

 

“I think the most important thing is just understanding the system impacts. If you’re thinking about adopting practices that may build carbon, there are potential economic benefits associated with that. Carbon credits and carbon markets may be a way to get additional incentives and help you make that change.” – Dave Archer, Ph.D.

 

Watch the Capturing Carbon Workshop Here!

 

This Week on Soil Sense:

  • Meet Dave Archer, an agricultural economist at the Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory
  • Explore the economic impacts of the carbon credits market for producers
  • Discover the questions producers need to ask and the answers they need to understand before pursuing a contract based on carbon credits

 

Connect with Soil Sense

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

This Week on Soil Sense:

  • Meet Mark Liebig with the USDA ARS and Dr. Caley Gasch a soil ecologist with North Dakota State University
  • Explore the different types of carbon present in the soil
  • Discover the strategies in maintaining and encouraging carbon storage in the soil
  • Learn how increasing soil carbon takes a long time and there are many variables at play
  • Visit the “Catching Carbon” Workshop to see more on this topic

Connect with Soil Sense

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

Listen Now!

Episode 2 – Catching Carbon

 

Soil health has been increasingly in the spotlight in recent years, and no topic has been drawing more attention than the concept of soil carbon. Specifically, can farmers optimize the amount of carbon they pull from the air and store in the soil based on farming practices? And can that carbon sequestration reach levels where it’s part of the solution to climate change?

Much of the exuberance surrounding these topics glosses over the science involved. To put this concept into perspective we have on the show Dr. Mark Liebig with the USDA ARS, and Dr. Caley Gasch who is a soil ecologist with North Dakota State University. The audio was recorded at the “Catching Carbon” live workshop put on by the North Dakota Corn Council, NDSU Extension, and USDA.

“It’s no surprise that when we think about dealing with the challenges in the future, we’ve got to look to the soil…It’s going to be a really big part in how we create systems that are robust and resilient to these extremes. And so this is why I think soil carbon and soil health are often a pretty good partnership.” – Dr. Mark Liebig

Soil has always been a sink for carbon, but over the decades as more land has been converted to cultivated cropland, we’ve released a lot of that stored carbon back into the atmosphere. Dr. Liebig goes on to make practice suggestions to best support carbons sequestration.

“Increase your biomass production, that’s number one, maintain that soil cover, apply organic amendments. On the loss side, we want to minimize that soil disturbance as much as possible. If we can, don’t burn that crop residue. That’s a really good way to lose a lot of carbon.” Dr. Mark Liebig

Dr. Gasch explains the origin, cyclical nature and different types of carbon available in the soil. Another prominent variable in the success of carbon sequestration is the weather and its effects on the soil. Because of all of these factors, changing and verifying the soil’s carbon material is a slow and involved process.

“A 1% increase in organic carbon takes between 10 and 15 years….and that would be under best management practices, minimal tillage, and maximum plant productivity.” – Dr. Caley Gasch

This Week on Soil Sense:

  • Meet Mark Liebig with the USDA ARS and Dr. Caley Gasch a soil ecologist with North Dakota State University
  • Explore the different types of carbon present in the soil
  • Discover the strategies in maintaining and encouraging carbon storage in the soil
  • Learn how increasing soil carbon takes a long time and there are many variables at play
  • Visit the “Catching Carbon” Workshop to see more on this topic

Connect with Soil Sense

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

Listen Now!

Episode 1 – A Legacy of Conservation with Bob Radcliffe

 

We often talk on this show about soil health being a journey. Well today’s guest has been on that journey as a farmer for over 75 years. Bob Radcliffe grew up on a farm near Lennard, North Dakota in the 20s and 30s, then served in the United State Marine Corps during World War 2 and returned full time to the farm in the 1940s. Since that time he has been farming and raising livestock for over 75 years. Now at age 99, his grandson, Chris Walberg, has taken over the farm. It was really a treat to get to sit down with both Bob and Chris for this episode.

“We had a love for the land. It’s been in the family for five generations. We have 1891 tax returns for this land…..and so there’s not many farms that have stayed in one family that long… if you love what you’re doing, it’s never work. And that’s really been the story.” – Bob Radcliffe

In his lifetime, not only has Bob witnessed the mechanization of agriculture, but he was very early in the adoption of soil conservation practices. We talk about his history on the farm, the challenges of taking care of the land, innovations and changes that have happened over the past seven decades, and what wisdom he’d like to share with other farmers interested in soil health.

“(He has given) me a lot of advice and his wisdom over the years of what he’s experienced in his lifetime. It’s really been a benefit to me, particularly in soil…. We’re doing a lot of different things trying to improve our soil health and make the land better for the next generation and hopefully make a profit at the same time.” – Chris Walberg

This Week on Soil Sense:

Meet Bob Radcliffe, a North Dakota farmer with a lifetime of stories to share Explore the many advances and adaptations Bob has incorporated into his operation Discover words of wisdom that only decades of experience can offer

Connect with Soil Sense

Soil Sense Initiative

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

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