Agriculture leaders discuss healthy soil at annual convention

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NORTH JACKSON — Nearly 300 agriculture leaders from across Tennessee met to share information, discuss farming issues and natural resource concerns. The focus of this year’s Tennessee Association of Conservation Districts’ 71st annual convention is on “soil health yielding resource wealth.” Soil health farming pioneer David Brandt was a featured speaker. He shared his thoughts on why healthy soil is important “I think it’s important because we are now seeing depressed bean prices and corn prices, and with that the cost of nutrients is still high, so if we can reduce the inputs of our nutrients we can still be profitable,” Brandt said. After the presentations, farmers have an opportunity to share their thoughts and discuss further ideas with the speakers. “We seem to be well received,” Brandt said. “It changes their thought patterns a little bit, but I think it’s an idea that everyone can adapt to and be used to and learning how to use more covers.” Scott Schaffernocker, a senior research scientist for the Groundwater Institute, spoke Monday on how important it is to preserve the aquifers in West Tennessee. “That’s where we get our sole source of drinking water, so this aquifer is important to maintain and sustain for future generations so that our communities can continue to grow,” Schaffernocker said. He urges farmers to be aware of irrigation systems. “It’s kind of time to take a look. There are some issues in urban areas with, as far as, ground water levels and contamination,” he said. “So we kinda want to keep an eye on that. Then we add in this other piece, the irrigation wells. How’s that going to impact our drinking water supply?”

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