2024 Midwest Soil Health Summit Sessions & Presenters

The 11th Annual Midwest Soil Health Summit
"Managing for Profit with the Soil Health Principles"
March 13 & 14, 2024

Courtyard Marriott Mankato
901 Raintree Road, Mankato, MN 56001 

Program is subject to change.

Register HERE.

Wednesday, March 13th

12:00 p.m. Registration opens

1:00 p.m. Welcome

1:15 p.m. Dale Strickler: Creating a Drought Resilient Soil

The common perception is that drought is simply a force of nature, against which we are powerless. But, as many are slowly discovering, there are actually dozens of real world, practical and economically viable strategies we can use to make our crops and pastures dramatically less vulnerable to the effects of drought. This session features examples from all over the world demonstrating techniques that innovative farmers and ranchers have used to reduce their vulnerability to one of the more devastating events we face in agriculture.

2:45 p.m. Break & Exhibits

3:00 p.m. Breakout Sessions

Gallery A (south)
Jolene Carlson: Soil Health + Gut Health = Human Health    
A licensed nutritionist and soil health specialist, Jolene Carlson will highlight the relationship of the soil ecosystem to the human gut, and how the microbiology of the soil is directly reflected in a person's digestive system.

Gallery B&C (center)
Phil & Robin Smith:
 From Seed Salesman to Soil Health - Our Journey
Phil & Robin will share how they were first introduced to the soil health movement, the changes that they have made in their operation to make it more profitable, and the measurable soil health improvements that have taken place in a relatively short period of time. When they learned the human health component and added it to the family's  understanding, it created a new passion for the farm that has been experienced by the entire family.

Gallery D (north)
Troy Salzer: Our Lifelong Journey of How the Soil Health Principles has Created More Resiliency and Profitability on our Livestock Farm

We were learning and implementing some of the pieces of the Soil Health Principles, but once we started to implement them entirely, the change created flexibility, diversity, and more focus on long term benefits, which supplys profitability and improved environmental resources for our cattle operation.

4:10 p.m. Break & Exhibits

4:20 p.m. Breakout Sessions

Gallery A (south)
Grant Breitkreutz:
Soil Health for Premium Grain Prices
The principles of soil health work to make grain operations more profitable, this has been proven. What are the possibilities of the soil health transferring to the grain? Is the positive transfer from the soil to the grain marketable?

Gallery B&C (center)
Burke Teichert:
The Connection - Soil Health, Calving Season and Adapted Cows to Ranch Profitability
In this session we will discuss the principles of soil health and how developing practices (farming and grazing) that align with or “obey” those principles will improve eco-system functions and thus make soil more healthy and productive. We will also discuss how soil health, biodiversity at all levels, plant health, animal health and human health are all interconnected. We will then go on to show how selecting a calving or birthing season can have an huge effect on profitability and the ability of cattle or other ruminants to become adapted to their environment. We will also discuss how one goes about developing adapted cows or other animals to their environment and how the three interconnect to affect profitability and eco-system health.

Gallery D (north)
Dale Strickler: Designing Cover Crops for Resource Concerns

Name your most pressing concern in farming, and odds are pretty fair that there is a cover crop strategy that can help with it. High fertilizer costs? We have cover crops for that. Herbicide resistant weeds? We have cover crops for those. High costs for winter feed costs? There are cover crops for that, too. Pathogenic nematodes, crop diseases, destructive insects, and even lack of adequate rainfall can all be addressed by intelligent use of cover crops. Learn how cover crops not only solve these immediate concerns, but can be used as part of a long term strategy to steadily improve every farms most important asset: soil.

5:30 Book-signing with Dale Strickler and Cocktail Hour

Complimentary hors d'oeuvre, cash bar

Dinner on your own

Thursday, March 14th

7:30 a.m. Coffee and Exhibitors

8:00 a.m. Welcome

8:05 a.m. Mitchell Hora: Soil Health for Offense and Low Carbon Intensity (CI) Outcomes 

Join 7th generation Iowa farmer and entrepreneur, Mitchell Hora, as he shares the latest in the world of soil health and carbon intensity. CI is the hottest new metric for farmers and Mitchell's company, Continuum Ag, is leading the charge to bring opportunities to the farm. Gain insights about how CI will impact your business, hear about getting your CI Score, and gain insights as to improving CI with holistic soil health systems. Mitchell will share his own story and insights as to how he has dropped his CI score below 0 on his operation. Come prepared by learning the CI basics on the Continuum Ag YouTube page.

9:35 a.m. Break & Exhibitors

9:45 a.m. Stephanie McLain:  Building your Soil Health System - Make the Change, Measure Your Progress

Stephanie will talk about the different types of soil health assessments and tests that farmers and ranchers can utilize to monitor soil health change. She will also discuss NRCS’s emerging role supporting these tools in their conservation delivery.

10:30 a.m. Break & Exhibitors

10:45 a.m. Grant Breitkreutz: Livestock Integration - Accelerating our Regeneration

Soils can be regenerated without livestock following the soil health principles. Does livestock integration accelerate or decelerate soil health, or can it do both?

11:45 a.m. Discussion Tables

Mitchell Hora
Dale Strickler
Grant Breitkreutz
Stephanie McLain
Burke Teichert


12:30 p.m. Lunch & Exhibitors

1:30 p.m. Farmer Panel

Jon Luhman (Goodhue County)
Scott Haase (Blue Earth County)
Derek Schmitz (Stearns County)

3:00 p.m.  Break & Exhibitors

3:15 p.m. Burke Teichert: Profitable Livestock Farming and Ranching

This session will include a quick review of Burke's previous talk for the benefit of those who didn’t attend the breakout session, and also as a good reminder for those who did. We will also point out the importance of profitability to keep us in business and to facilitate many other good things we are trying to do for soil health, community, society at large and our own satisfaction. We will look at things we must manage, ways to improve profit, major determinants of profit including enterprise choice and selection, five essentials of successful farm/ranch management and bringing all of that to a few summary points. We will emphasize range and pasture management as huge drivers for soil health and profitability.

5:00 p.m. Summit Ends