CASSOPOLIS, Michigan— A farm field day centered on prairie strips and soil health will be held on Friday, August 26th (September 2nd rain date) from 1:00- 3:00 p.m. at the Edward Lowe Foundation. The field day will feature speakers including farmers, land managers, and soil scientists who will describe the implementation, management, and soil health benefits associated with on-farm prairie strips. The event is free and open to the whole family and will include a soil pit demonstration, a wagon tour of prairie strips and refreshments.
This field day is supported by Michigan State University’s (MSU) Kellogg Biological Station Long-Term Ecological Research (KBS LTER) Michigan Prairie Strips (MiSTRIPS) program, along with the Edward Lowe Foundation (ELF), the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, and Iowa State University’s Science-based Trials of Row Crops Integrated with Prairie Strips (S.T.R.I.P.S.) program. There will be a wide range of speakers on various topics including:
- Jarod Reibel, the Conservation Stewardship Land Manager at the Edward Lowe Foundation, will share information on the prairie strips implemented at ELF. The prairie strips at the ELF were planted into cropland 2014-2015 with the goal of improving soil health. ELF land managers have since planted over 200 acres of prairie habitat with over 100 species of grasses and forbs into agricultural fields. The ELF prairie strips provide an example of mature prairie strips as an agricultural conservation practice, and the range of benefits they can provide on Michigan farms.
- Marc Hasenick of Hasenick Brothers Farm located in Springport Michigan has incorporated prairie strips to improve the sustainability of his farm. Marc will discuss the economic feasibility of implementing prairie strips independently, without enrollment in state and federal conservation programs. Hasenick Brother’s Farm focuses on soil health as the number one priority in farm operations and utilizes 100% no-till practices on all farm acres. Marc optimizes his farm operation through data collection and analysis of precision ag technologies.
- Lucas Hartman, Conservation Technician for the Van Buren Conservation District, will discuss the enrollment process for the Conservation Reserve Program, specifically the CP-43 prairie strips practice. Lucas focuses on being a resource for landowners in the county he serves, and has a specialization in wildlife management.
- The workshop agenda will continue with a soil pit demonstration to discuss the benefits of prairie strips on soil health. The first discussion will be led by Kathryn Docherty, Associate Professor at Western Michigan University in the Department of Biological Sciences. She will provide an introduction to soil profiles and carbon storage. Tvisha Martin, a graduate student at MSU in Integrative Biology, will provide information on the presence of nematodes in the soil in association with prairie strips as indicators of soil health. Corinn Rutkoski, a graduate student at MSU in Integrative Biology, will describe the impact of prairie stips on soil microbial communities and their potential to remediate pesticides that harm pollinators.
The field day will be held at the Edward Lowe Foundation, 58220 Decatur Rd, Cassopolis, MI 49031. The workshop is free to attend, but reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food. Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP) and Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) credits will be offered for this event. Please RSVP using this form: https://tinyurl.com/StripsFieldDay.
Established in 2021, the MiSTRIPS program was started at the KBS LTER to increase the adoption of prairie strips on agricultural landscapes across the Midwest. Farmers, researchers and MiSTRIPS team members are working together to identify and implement the best management practices to establish prairie strips on Michigan farms while remaining profitable. The program was founded with funds from Iowa State University STRIPS Program. For more information about the KBS LTER MiSTRIPS Program, visit https://lter.kbs.msu.edu/mistrips/.
We hope to see you there!
If you have any questions, please contact Fahimeh Baziari (firstname.lastname@example.org; (586) 789-3733), Corinn Rutkoski (email@example.com), or Elizabeth Schultheis (firstname.lastname@example.org).